I designed my first printed circuit board for Case's Mini Baja Club. Every year, the club designed and built an off-road race car to compete in the SAE Mini Baja competition.
It was great fun. I really enjoyed machining parts and welding the car together. I didn't have much involvement in the mechanical design of the car, just the fabrication. One year I decided to design a speedometer/odometer system. A magnetic sensor that we installed in the gear box sent out pulses every time a gear tooth passed by. These pulses were read by an Atmel AVR microcontroller which then displayed the speed and distance traveled on an LCD screen.
It was a very fun project because it involved both hardware and embedded software. I really enjoy working at the boundary between the two.
I had the board made by expresspcb and used their software to design it.