In the 1960s I built radios out of parts like big resistors and capacitors mounted on tagstrip and valve socket pins. I placed valve sockets along the signal path, placed the power transformer away from sensitive circuits, then started soldering on wires and small components. If I wanted ground, I soldered a wire to the chassis, or put a solder lug under a screw.

valve construction

In the 1970s I built things with transistors and ICs and discovered Veroboard. This time, planning the layout took days of work on graph paper.

In the 1980s, I built a computer on 10 large pieces of Veroboard, all linked together with a Veroboard backplane. Also a sweep generator and counter-timer. Planning a board could take 6 sheets of graph paper joined together!

frequency meter

In the 1990s I was busy writing DOS and Windows software for a living, but I did build a few Veroboard projects, which were small enough to plan on a sheet of graph paper.

In the 2000s I was building production jigs, calibrators and product prototypes on Veroboard. It was messy and slow, and I needed a tool. So in 2003 I started to create VeeCAD. I wrote code in stages: to draw the board, then to draw parts, then to move parts, then to save and load the parts. Because each program section was self contained, the program could be incrementally extended. When VeeCAD was very primitive, I still used it at work because it saved time.

Now thousands of people use VeeCAD, from all over the world. Places like Zambia, India, UK, USA, Canada, Norway, Germany, Ireland, Russia, Brazil and Finland. Customers range from the very large company to the very small business. There are hobbyists, often advanced level, designing and building radios, burglar alarms, audio equalisers, battery chargers, guitar effects etc.