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I'm regularly tasked with doing "quick and dirty" prototypes on stripboard and other prototyping PCBs (holes only, patterns like the solder-less breadboards, etc.).

Those are usually very simple designs <15 components. Space is however often limited, so I need to "route" them carefully to be as compact as possible (best solution would of course be doing a real PCB, which I do if we have the time, but often the PCB is needed same/next day).

For now, I usually do it on paper, which takes quite some time when I have to move connections multiple times, needing to start again each time (and a scan of a piece of paper don't is that nice in the documentation).

Do you know any better way?

NB: for real PCBs, I use KiCad 7.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The stripboards with patterns similar to a solderless breadboard may be useful for quickly transfering a design from solderless to soldered, but otherwise they aren't that useful. Why not use a perforated board without any copper patterns, just plated through holes. Lay it out similar to a PCB, but use bare wires instead of copper traces. I use 16, 20, 24 AWG depending on the current. There won't be any planes, so it isn't suitable for all circuits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mattman944
    May 31, 2023 at 7:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mattman944 : depending on the components, sometimes it is easiest to use the perforated board without any paterns, sometimes it is easier to use those with some paterns. I usually have half a dozen types available, and I choose the ones best suited for my circuit \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandro
    May 31, 2023 at 8:45

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If you're already familiar with kicad: great!

Design your boards with it; in the PCB editor, set the grid to 2.54mm, which allows you to place your components on the raster of a solderable perfboard.

Connect adjacent pins / short distances on the same net with usual traces.

Since the 2.54mm grid also applies to via placement, you can also use the same methodology to "route" long connections on the top layer, with wire bridges.

Use the plot or print functionality to get an actionable view of what connections to make. Use the 3D render view for knowing where to plug in which component.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I tested it today : indeed, with a grid of 2.54, it's pretty easy to do! \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandro
    May 31, 2023 at 16:39

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