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66 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 Interview by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 In a recent conversation with Johnny Vander- ford, assistant professor and coordinator of Lorain County Community College's micro- electromechanical manufacturing systems (MEMS) program, we discussed the school's model for a successful technical higher-educa- tion program and what students learn about PCB design. Vanderford is also the director of the new Manufacturing Electronics and Rework Institute for Training (MERIT) coming to the college. Andy Shaughnessy: Johnny, I see that you teach design. It looks like it's tied in with manufac- turing, and that's a good thing. We hear stories about EEs graduating and going to work in a company, and they say they have PCB experi- ence, but they don't know what copper pour is. In this program, what do they learn as far as design goes? Johnny Vanderford: In the first year of the pro- gram, they begin the first week by soldering surface-mount components to PCBs. We start talking about terminology on the boards, pads, vias, silkscreen, and laminate. Also, in the first part of the degree, in addition to taking your run-of-the-mill electronics classes, they take courses in AutoCAD drafting, as well as SolidWorks. They learn some basic drafting programs. In the second year of the program, they fab- ricate PCBs by applying plots on top of boards that have photoresist on them. We show them that the plot is artwork. This is mechanically- drawn artwork that has been drawn up in CAD and that shows them how to basically fabricate their own board on just a single copper layer. In the following semester of the second year, they learn how to design their first board using an online PCB design program. Currently, we use EasyEDA and have incorporated using it as a mechanism for teaching the basics of PCB design. For instance, they learn how to draw up the schematics, what nets and library files are, how to create a bill of materials (BOM), and how to draw up the layout so that their board can be laid out. Primarily, it's a surface-mount board that often contains at least one sensor Lorain County Community College's Successful MEMS Program

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