Let's say you have a problem that can be solved with some electronics and maybe even a microcontroller. You gather up your parts and prove the idea on a breadboard, a sort of blank canvas for prototyping projects. Then what? A common solution is to solder everything to a blank perforated circuit board, but that still leaves you with a fragile mess of wires that looks like a disaster and takes a long time to assemble. The better idea: get a circuit board professionally printed. Too spendy? Think again. I've had about 10 different boards printed for all sorts of projects ranging from a trampoline that shoots fireballs to much less complicated boards that spells text on my bicycle wheels. These circuits are still working great fours years later and didn't break my wallet. Follow the jump to see my tips for getting professional boards without breaking your wallet.
I love my job, but something tells me How 2.0 would have been even more fun to run 40 years ago. Witness this 1964 PopSci article—with actual schematics—on building your own"ruby ray" laser. The best part is the sell: "The incredible ruby ray is one of the hottest scientific discoveries of the decade but practical uses are still scarce. Here's your chance to join the search." There's some advice we don't see enough of today: "Here, build some experiemental high-power stuff in your basement and let us know if you find something interesting to do with it."
Link via Makezine.com. —Mike Haney