Soldering of a 1210 capacitor using no flux.
Soldering of a 1210 capacitor using no flux. (source: Aisart on Wikimedia Commons)

In this episode of the Hardware Podcast, David Cranor and I talk with Star Simpson, a designer, engineer, and manufacturer who works on every aspect of hardware. She’s a great example of a full-stack hardware creator, capable of moving between electrical engineering, software engineering, and design.

Simpson is working on a new series of intricately designed circuit boards based on original hand-drawn projects created by Forrest Mims for his classic instructional books, such as Getting Started in Electronics.


  • Tools: How Simpson designs a tool chain that allows the importing of graphics into Eagle—starting with Adobe Illustrator, exporting from DXF into Eagle.
  • Boldport, whose circuit board designs were recently featured in a fashion spread in “Marie Claire” magazine.
  • Al Lasher's in Berkeley, HSC (also known as Halted) in Santa Clara, and Mountain States in Fort Collins, Colo.: old-school electronics retailers that sell things like test equipment and individual components, along with expertise.

This week’s click spirals: