What You Didn’t Know About Printed Circuit Board Fabrication

May 5, 2016 by - Pcb fabrication, Printed circuit board prototype, Prototype pcb

Prototype pcb manufacturing

In simplified terms, a printed circuit board prototype supports and connects electronic components in a device. PCB fabrication consists of thin strips of a conducting material, such as copper, which have been etched to a flat layer of a flat insulating sheet. Prototype PCB assembly can be very time consuming and intricate as there are a number of different steps that are involved to assemble one properly. Here are some impressive steps about the prototype PCB fabrication.

Each circuit board is designed for individual use, and has to be the right size to fit the required space or it will not be effective. The board designers use computer software to layout the designs for the board, and they make the spaces between the electrical paths typically 0.04 inches or smaller. Also, the location of the holes for component leads and/or contact points are laid out using the software. This process of attaching components to the PCB is referred to as PCB assembly.

In general, there are two methods for manufacturing a printed circuit board. Surface Mount assembly is where the components are mounted or placed directly on the surface of the PCB. The other is Through Hole Construction and this is implemented by inserting the components through holes drilled into the board.

There are three types of prototype PCB assembly, single sided, double sided, and multi-layered. But there are two other methods related to PCB fabrication, an integrated (IC) circuit, or a microchip (hybrid) circuit.

The majority of prototype PCB assembly includes FR-4 glass epoxy, an insulating substrate. A thin layer of copper foil is laminated to one or both sides of the FR-4 panel, and then circuitry interconnections are etched into these copper layers. And for complex circuits, they are produced in multiple layers.

When printing the legend, there are three methods one can use. You can choose from component designators, switch settings, silk screen printing, liquid photo imaging, and ink jet printing.

Additionally, there are many soldering techniques engineers use for pcb fabrication including high volume production used with SMT placement machine, and bulk wave soldering.

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