LED Christmas Decorative PCB

I thought this was a really neat use of a 4-layer PCB in an artistic style! I started thinking about how you could design a PCB like this in KiCad.

One thing led to another and I’d ended up with a design ready to be sent off.

I double checked with JLCPCB about the manufacture of such a PCB. Often PCB companies may not like producing boards with lots of exposed copper areas on the front of the PCB. My contact at JLCPCB really loved the idea and sponsored this project! So I’m now left with many more PCBs than I would have otherwise bought, and in a BEAUTIFUL festive red colour.

PCB Design Process
There are a few different ways to get custom shapes into KiCad. You can use the built-in DXF import, or the Bitmap Converter. Additionally there are plugins for converting SVGs to KiCad PCB footprints.

I decided to use the DXF import feature, as this is the easiest IMO, it also handles scaling for you directly.

My plan was as follows:

Design PCB shape in Rhino
Find vector style snowflake patterns online to import
Scale and export the snowflakes form Rhino into KiCad.
Import PCB shape into edge layer
Import Snowflakes into footprints copper layer
Wire up LEDs in parallel to switch+batteries using only the back layer
I had decided to use Rhino to perform all the 2d vector work and export DXF files, this could be done Inside KiCad but it’s not really designed for it. I’m very familiar with Rhino for 2d vector work when laser-cutting. But there are other tools that can do this.”

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