creating pcbs, development, pcb workflow, quality control interface, software developer

On Art & Creating PCBs

A few years ago, when I heard about the idea behind a growing startup that was MacroFab, I knew it would be a great fit for me. I’ve worked in a variety of industries, but none with a primary motivation of helping others build something.

When asked about my job, I tell people that I work at the intersection of software and hardware. I’m a software developer and write internal tools for both our manufacturing team and customers alike. I revamped the quality control interface (Figure 1) that allows our crew to quickly and easily identify parts on a board and I write tools for our customers – like our overhaul of the PCB workflow.

A different way to conceptualize my daily work, by viewing the larger picture, is pretty simple: I write software that helps you make hardware.

At MacroFab, we have many interesting hardware projects passing through our platform and going out into the world as a fully realized printed circuit board (or sometimes complete product); more so than I ever get to know about. However, when I do get to peek into your design files, or see your boards on the manufacturing floor, it is exciting. This resonates with me as someone who also makes physical things.

As far as software developers go, my undergraduate education is rooted in perhaps the unlikeliest of backgrounds – Fine Arts. Though nowadays I’m at the keyboard far more than a canvas, I still paint and draw frequently on my down time. Art has always been a continuous thread in my life. Part of that is what drew me to my current job.

Maybe the correlation between circuit boards and art isn’t so obvious, but my daily motivation is the similarity in process. The framework of creativity is the same – the genesis of an idea, planning, execution, and the output of a final product. In this case MacroFab is responsible for the later half of the operation, but there wouldn’t be a MacroFab without your ideas first.

So, keep them coming, and as a development team, we will continue doing our best to build the tools that empower you to bring your creations to life.



Figure 1. Revamp of Quality Control Interface Screen

Htown; Letterpress Print, 2017 (Letterpress printed by Workhorse Printmakers)

Merica; Watercolor on paper, 2017

Storm; Watercolor on paper, 2017

Featured image: Whata; Letterpress Print, 2017 (Letterpress printed by Workhorse Printmakers)




Kaylan Smith has been a Software Developer at MacroFab since 2016. She is a Houston native and received her BA from Rice University in 2007. See more of her art here: