Arduinos and project such as Fritzing have significantly lowered the bar for everyone to participate in the design and manufacturing of electronics. More people than ever try out CAD tools such as Eagle to realize their ideas.

But why do the boards designed by artists and hackers have to be constrained to the same logic of perfectly straight and 45 degree angled lines, which has governed our electric lives (as in: commodity products) as well as visual imagination (as in: circuit boards in movies) over the last decades?

Why do circuit boards designed in Sweden look the same as those in China?

Artists such as Gijs Gieskes have long explored this by creating their own, hand-drawn circuits. Unfortunately, due to the practicalities of using standard CAD tools – e.g. for large-scale production (Gerber files etc), this has been often put aside.

Since the only way to criticize a software program (Eagle) is to write a better one: I am currently developing a web-based editor for circuit boards that is all focussed on hand-drawing the traces (using the mouse or a tablet), yet gives you some of the most-useful functionality found in regular software (such as overlaying the dimensions of the most-used chip packages, having multiple layers etc).

The editor will also be able to export the toolpaths (G-code) to mill those boards on a CNC device, as well as PDFs that can be used for etching. This way, the (semi-) mass production is still feasible while retaining the manual and graphical qualities in the design.

The (web-) software will be made available for free.