I've created a small circuit board that consists of a 4093 IC, a 4013 IC and a BD 233.

I have a hall effect sensor ive tagged onto the end of the board which im not too concerned about.

As you can see from the images I have a lot of wires connecting these 2 components together. Some of which are connected to the same pins. My question is how can I reduce the size of the overall footprint?

I obviously cant shrink the components, I figured I could save some space by reducing the wiring but I just cant figure out how I can "remove" the wires without... well removing them altogether.

Its a shame there doesnt seem to be any software out there that automatically works out the wiring for me given my instructions.

I had a go on fritzing but it was actually counter productive.



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    \$\begingroup\$ Uhhh, well … you can shrink the components. It's called SMD and it works very well. You will need a proper PCB of course but there are numerous companies who offer you to turn your circuit into reality for small money. \$\endgroup\$
    – Janka
    Mar 20, 2017 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ 1) Make actual PCB, with routing and chips side by side (2) switch to surface mount and tiny packages \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Mar 20, 2017 at 23:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, its sounds like you want to make the components smaller without making them smaller. 1) If you really want to make this smaller, do what everyone else does, do some work and manufacture your own PCB. Its not going to be easy 2) You don't need software, a pencil and paper will work just fine \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Mar 20, 2017 at 23:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Its a shame there doesnt seem to be any software out there that automatically works out the wiring for me given my instructions." Most design packages include autorouters. In general: don't use these when you are a beginner. Those that are any good are productivity tools for experienced professionals and require a lot of careful setup. If you want to just dump your parts on the board and press Go, you'll normally just get a useless mess. \$\endgroup\$
    – user133493
    Mar 20, 2017 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Festivejelly ,Why not post your schematic and we could see if it could lose a few pounds of ugly fat . \$\endgroup\$
    – Autistic
    Mar 21, 2017 at 11:18

2 Answers 2


My answer is similar to Misunderstood's answer, but with different software and board house recommendations.

Kicad is free, open-source, cross-platform, and under active development. Start here with the helpful getting started guide, and Google/ask the Internet/read PCB design resources. PCB design is a big subject, but for simple designs, you should be able to get a simple board designed with minimal trouble.

IMO, you should stay away from PCB Artist, Fritzing, EasyEDA and what have you. Kicad is a very capable piece of software and has quickly become the best free option.

As for board houses, your board is probably going to be small, and two-layer. If you don't mind a ~4 week lead time, a Chinese board house such as DirtyPCBs will be the cheapest option. (You can compare prices here.) They are plenty capable for what you want, and you'll get 10 boards for ~13 USD, which is an amazing deal.

Finally, select small components (remember not to select components that are smaller than you can solder), and you can make your design much smaller than it is now. You didn't post a schematic, but you may also want to consider replacing that discrete logic with a single microcontroller, which could make your circuit even smaller.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I recommended PCB Artist as a way to auto route the wires on his breadboard. Not for serious CAD. I use KiCad, I do not use PCB Artist. My Altium expired and they want $4000 to reinstate my license. I don't do high density, fine pitch, so my needs these days are simple, boards with LEDs. Still with KiCad it a pain to have to manually re-do every track every time I make a little tweak. I like to make a change, click route, and it 's done. Got any ideas on that? Eagle? Have you used DirtyPCBs? Got any solid recommendation for cheap prototypes like Dirty? Or were they the one? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2017 at 3:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Misunderstood I don't use an autorouter, and therefore cannot recommend any autorouter except perhaps Mentor Graphics + Hyperlynx, because their sales pitch was impressive. I also do not recommend a beginner use an autorouter, because it can properly mangle a board. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Mar 21, 2017 at 3:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Misunderstood I've ordered boards from Advanced, OSH Park, and Dirty PCBs. When lead time isn't an issue, Dirty PCBs has so far been great. While Advanced is a great deal when you need a large board, I cannot recommend the 33/66 dollar deals for serious projects because their stackup isn't consistent/predictable. For OP's board, not an issue, but let's say you want roughly controlled impedance or edge-mount connectors: Advanced can bite you. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Mar 21, 2017 at 3:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Advanced used to be good like 15-20 years ago. I would not use them for production. I used Mentor in the 80s and for some undefinable reason, I hate them. You forget what people have done or said, but you never forget how they made you feel. I've been out of EE for years and find myself back in. It's frustrating starting over. I look at these vendors as pre-prototype. I can verify the layout. But I have to run thermal management experiments after that. 4oz copper, 20 mil thick boards, non-FR4. What I really need is a top notch stencil. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2017 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, Mentor is horrible IMO, but with an autorouter that integrates with a field solver, there's a chance that it could actually be somewhat useful. For stencils, stainless steel stencils from OSH Stencils are good, Dirty PCBs also does stencils. \$\endgroup\$
    – uint128_t
    Mar 21, 2017 at 4:01

Here is some free Windows PCB layout software with schematic entry, PCB layout, with an auto router.

If you add holes where the wires originate it should help you with the wiring. You do not need very heavy wire. For typical signals 30 gauge will do.

Free Printed Circuit Board Design Software

And if you are a student, and have an address at school to ship to, you can get a "full spec" PCB made for $33. If not a student, it will exceed your needs. Up to 60 Sq inch. You cannot include scores or cuts to make multiple boards, but you can make multiple images and cut the board with a saw.

Student Discount

The Student Discount removes the limitations of their $33 special PCB. Which is not a schlocky board. I've used these guys for many year for prototypes.

To get an idea what the "Full Spec" means, create a quote.

$33 board details

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is super useful. I think I got a bit confused between my stripboard and PCB. Maybe I can make a PCB instead. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20, 2017 at 23:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Festivejelly Not the greatest software. I installed it and played with it for an hour or so. I was able to create a PCB in that little bit of time. Not a very steep learning curve. It gets the job done. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20, 2017 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the student deal drops the minimum order, but uses the same specs as their standard $33 board. I have to order 4, but a student can order 1. FWIW, there are slower but MUCH cheaper services available with fine specs \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2017 at 0:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ScottSeidman They dropped the minimum to 1 for everybody. The $33 is not "full spec" for non-students. Limited to 1oz copper and limited spacing. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2017 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like the real deal is that they'll simply sponsor projects \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2017 at 0:12

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