Recommend some resources or projects for practice

“I’m new to KiCad and PCB design. Could you recommend some resources or projects for practicing and improving my PCB design skills? Just to clarify, I’ve progressed from working on schematic design to the layout phase.”

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Hello and welcome @rayan

First: Upgrade to the current version of Kicad.

Second: Forget all about autorouting and everything to do with it.

Third: Read and digest and practice everything in these articles:


I think the fastest way to learn will be to design PCB with your own schematic and ask here for comments.
From time to time people come here with their first PCB and end with seriously modified design.

Nowadays PCB designer task is not only to just make all needed connections but to make PCB being in accordance with EMC requirements. You can read about it in articles I listed some time ago (not sure if links are still valid):


It’s much easier to make mistakes on a Schematic, that will mean your PCB won’t work as intended, than make mistakes on your PCB layout (for most simple boards). And the mistakes on the schematic most likely won’t be caught by KiCad.

So when you think your Schematic is correct . . . check again, make sure you have read all the data sheets correctly and followed best practice as laid out by the manufacturer. Make sure you aren’t running a component that has a 20V absolute max at 24V, make sure any low value resistors can actually dissipate the power you expect them to. Make sure your LEDs aren’t going to have a very bright short life because you didn’t use a current limiting resistor.

When it comes to the PCB layout when you think you are done run the DRC (Inspect > Design Rule Checker) and fix all errors and check that any warnings are OK to live with.

At this point you may not have a pretty PCB but there is a good chance you will have one that will work, at least for a while . . .

The trouble is that electronics and PCB design is a massive subject, you could study for 10, 20, 30 years and will still be learning. If you try and read everything people tell you to read you will never get started or you will simply lose interest.

So layout your PCB components, route the tracks, run the DRC, fix the errors, check the warnings . . . then step back and say “what can I do better here ? what am I unsure about ? what can I make look nicer ?”

Then do a little reading, find some good tips and good practices and make your board better, then review again. When you are happy or bored of making changes pay some money and get some boards made . . . when you have cash on the line you will learn even faster :wink:


It of course depends a lot on what you want to know and how you want to learn it.

Reading the KiCad documentation as jmk suggests is a good way of learning about KiCad. There are also quite a lot of tutorials for Kicad on youtube. Most of them seem to be made by enthusiastic people, but unfortunately also relative beginners with KiCad, and they miss quite a lot of the handy shortcuts in KiCad.

There are also more formal courses for learning KiCad:

The video below by Rick Hartley on “How to achieve proper grounding” is an excellent introduction into how to use GND in your PCB design. A two hour video on grounding may seem excessive, but it really is not. How to achieve a proper GND plane is probably the single most important aspect of a properly designed PCB. It also has a huge influence on where to actually place the parts on the PCB. That gets a solid 2nd place for PCB design. Once you get those two topics right, routing the wires is mostly trivial.
Rick Hartley is also a pleasant guy to listen to and learn from. I wish all teachers were like that. Make notes (with time stamps) during watching, as you may want to revisit some of the parts later. There is a lot of info in the video below.

Robert Feranec also made a lot of video material around different aspects of PCB design.


This is excruciating detailed and a little out of date. But it is a digikey playlist that misses nothing. An Intro to KiCad – Part 1: How PCBs Are Made | DigiKey - YouTube

Yeah Paul, good link to Hartley’s expertise – that’s long but informative video. At 1:32:40 is an important tip – vias connecting ground planes near where a signal changes layers. Minimizing rf emissions (and rf susceptibility at the same time) is very much about minimizing loops and keeping the fields contained to the smallest possible areas.

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For projects…

To look at what other people have done with KiCad, you can find lots of projects all over the Internet, and also when searching directly on source code repository sites like github and gitlab (with the added “kicad” keyword of course) you will find a lot of KiCad related content. Gitlab seems to have an annoying feature that you have to be logged in to even search through the repositories. Gitlab also has a lot of “other KiCad related” content because it the main development of KiCad is hosted there, and other related content such as foorprint repositories and scripts and such.

For example projects you can also have a look at: Made with kicad | KiCad EDA which lists around 50 KiCad projects, and some, such as the Olimex board, have much more extensive repositories with many more KiCad projects.

The “projects” part of Hackaday also has a growing list of KiCad projects.

But those are resources are mostly “just projects”. They can show you how other people have done designs, but they do not show why they have done it in that way.
There are also several PCB reviews here on this forum. Those old threads may be of more value to you because they show beginners mistakes, and have explanations and suggestions to improve the design. The topic below is probably one of the best reviews here. I put quite some time in it back then.

Or do a more generic search on this forum:

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All the above I would strongly agree with but, perhaps initially, too much for a novice. Not knowing what level you knowledge is, probably everyone here started with a blinking LED or similar and worked up.
There are a number of stages and techniques that you will need to learn and understand to produce PCBs effectively.

In addition to all the above on YT look at Microtype Engineering who did a stream of him doing a design and layout using KiCAD. Also our own Chris’s Gammel who usually runs a series of tutorials when a new version of KiCAD is launched.

I think when you get the gist of the process involved then you can absorb the info from the like of Rick Hartley mentioned above.

Lastly, from my own point of view, I would say the most informative info was from MT Eng on the order is priority of placing components when laying out eg what’s electrical noisey or critical placement say. Put those in place first and sort out their grounding arrangements and the space you have left is for the dross that could go a anywhere. Oh! Don’t forget to consider current and track widths.

In conclusion I’m relatively new to layout and what I do is consider the board stackup - ground, signal, ground, power whatever and after laying out the high frequency stuff (crystal or Switching Voltage Regulators) I just start connecting with a loose idea to run tracks vertical on one signal layer and horizontal on the other and see what I’m left with

Good luck


I agree, MicroType Engineering streams by Kyle are great! He actually goes through the datasheet to get the information, a critical step you’ll have to do a lot in circuit design. Highly recommended!

If you want a really simple blinky led project, here is one I did for my cub scout den years ago: a project for the kids to build a model rocket to launch at night, so they needed to assemble little circuit boards to fit into the plastic nosecone – a coin cell battery, little slide switch, and a 555 circuit that flashed an led. The flashes were visible through the translucent white plastic nosecones so the kids could find them in the desert (though one ended up on the roof of the school and was never seen again).

This evolved into adding a six-rocket simultaneous launch pad, a count-down timer with two-inch-high red seven-segment digits, and firing circuit. Fun with both electronics and fire.