UA-40175800-1 Commodore 128 Principal Engineer, Bil Herd on Best Practices for Learning a New CAD Tool and the Wild-West of Early Home Computer Design

Bil Herd shares stories and design wisdom from years of experience as a hardware engineer, most famously at Commodore. Starting out self-taught, Bil found his way to working around brilliance and some of it rubbed off a little. Learn about his interesting journey from TV repair to Commodore, Hackaday and beyond. Today, Bil is self-employed and focused on networks, high-level architecture consulting and hardware projects.  


Show Highlights:

  • I never forgot how to do hardware design. It’s fun to be able to do that. I’m working on an Altium project right now.
  • You get to be imaginative for a couple days, and then you spend the next couple months paying for it looking at every single line item, every footprint and trying to catch where your brain was wrong.
  • Commodore Hardware lab, splitting bus for video and hired to lead the team shortly after.
  • Going after a swag bag offered by Adafruit from an MIT Open hardware conference resulted in a video series with Hackaday.
  • Almost all the errors I’ve made in CAD systems were related to parts I’ve made. For parts and footprints - you need to have someone check your work.
  • To start a new CAD system - make a trash board, force yourself through.
  • Process to start learning a new CAD system: Open CAD > Get Overwhelmed > DRINK
  • Making a board on a new CAD tool. First I make a trash board knowing I won’t use it. Then make a real board, using all the rules.

Links and Resources:

Bil Herd Wikipedia


Bil Herd’s Hackaday Videos


See all show notes and video here


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