From Albert Hanson to Thomas Edison, there were many brilliant minds working on how to conduct electricity as we see in a printed circuit board.
It wasn’t until Paul Eisler came along and made it happen in 1943 that PCBs were born. He may even have helped save the war for the Allied Forces with his patent on printing circuit boards.
His first boards were hand-drawn, rudimentary, and looked like bowls of spaghetti. We have needs for higher efficiency and operational capacity now. Now that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants, how can we make a professional PCB product?
Keep reading to find five tips you need to follow for guaranteed success.
1.Board Size Optimization
PCB assembly starts with PCB design. It stands to reason you should design according to physical constraints on the product from the start. Learning what kind of board area you’re dealing with can help you determine if you need single- or multi-layer design features, like vias and through-holes.
It can also, like in the Apple Airpods, help you to determine if you need a flexible substrate as well.
2.Design For Layer
To help you determine how many layers you’ll need, there’s a handy equation you can use to find out.
We could write it as: “PIN density = board area / (total number of pins / 14)”
In finding out how many layers you need, it’s best to design for fixed or controlled impedance requirements upfront. Basing your design on signal type is something that a computer doing “auto-tracing” isn’t good at.
3.Prototype, Prototype, Prototype
One of the best tools to prototype your design is your imagination. But training your imagination takes hands-on experience you can only achieve through constant, iterative, prototyping.
In the past, doing a single-run prototype was prohibitive in cost. Now with tools like additive electronics printers, using conductive inks, you can prototype with ease. One of the most important parts of prototyping is accuracy, so make sure your printer alignment is correct if you try this method.
4.Select and Optimize Via Selection
There are three main design perspectives to consider when deciding on what kind of via you will use in a given situation. The perspectives are:
Vias are like conductors that allow you to route signals through a board instead of only on the surface. Thermal vias help you to carry heat away from components, increasing resistance. Mechanical vias are drilled through layers and may be open, closed, or filled.
5.Choose the Right Material
The number of material options available for design is too long to list in today’s article. you have a choice of resins, ceramics, metals, polyamide, or different materials for each layer.
The most common is FR-4, based on woven fiberglass cloth. Epoxy resin is impregnated into the cloth for electrical and flame resistance.
Printing Circuit Boards Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
A lot of designers, especially newcomers, make things difficult for themselves when it comes to printing circuit boards. A periodic look at the technology is necessary. But usually, this is done by experienced eyes.
The biggest takeaway is that prototyping helps to give you the experience you need.
Fortunately, it can be had for about $5 a board with new printed electronic technologies. It saves time and money and yields excessive experience you can take advantage of.
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