Printed circuit board’s otherwise known as PCB, is a module of electronic components that are used in things like beepers and pagers as well as radios and radars and of course, computer systems. The circuits are made by putting a layer of some sort of conducting material on the surface of a board that is called the substrate. Prototype printed circuit boards come in three main forms: Single, double and multi layered. Let’s look a little closer at what is involved in each of these kinds of boards.
Single sided printed circuit board: these kinds of boards contain all components on the same side of the substrate. A single-sided prototype printed circuit board is used until there are too many components to fit on one side. This is where the double side comes in to play.
Double sided printed circuit board: this board has a substrate on either side which is connected by drilling holes through it in various places. The holes are than filled with the conducting material. This allows for a lot more components to fit on a circuit board.
Multi layered printed circuit board: Multi layered describes more than two. There can be many layers on a multilayered PCB but each one has to be separated by a layer of insulation. Multi layered describes more than two. There can be many layers on a multi layered PCB but each one has to be separated by a layer of insulation. The layers are connected in the same way as a double-sided board; through plated holes.
The substrates are made by feeding woven glass fiber through the station. This fiber is then coated with epoxy resin through the process of being dipped or sprayed. After this, the coated fiber has to go through rollers to press the material into the proper thickness and get rid of any excess resident. Once all that is complete then the material goes through an oven to curate. Then it is cut into panels. The panels are then stacked in an alternating pattern with adhesive backed copper foil. Finally, each stack is put into a press at 340 degrees F for at least an hour in order to cure the resin and bond the foil to the substrate material.
If holes are going to be drilled and plated that happens after the curing process. The panels are put in a machine that drills the holes in a predetermined pattern. Some holes need to be kept nonconducting so they are plugged in order to keep them from being plated. However, the holes that are going to be conducting are plated with copper.
In order to put the actual prototype printed circuit board together it is done by a process called additive or subtractive, depending on the type of board that you were making. The additive process includes copper being added to the surface in a particular pattern without touching the rest of it. In the subtractive process, the whole surface is plated and then any areas that are not to be a part of the pattern are than etched away.
There are several other things that are done to a prototype PCBs, such as attaching contact fingers, fusing coating, ceiling and cutting panels, mounting components and finally packaging. If the circuit board is going to be used right away then it is not usually packaged otherwise it will be sealed into a protective plastic bag in order to be stored or shipped. This helps to keep the board free from debris and dust. Because there are such small pieces on the boards, keeping them clean is imperative to functionality.
Prototype printed circuit board’s are the future. Especially as the miniaturization of electronic components becomes more prevalent. Circuit boards are becoming smaller and more densely packed but are actually able to do more. There are actually three dimensional boards that are becoming more used as electronic manufacturing advances. This is why prototype printed circuit boards will be used for many years to come. There’s no worry about them going out of style or something bigger and better coming along because they keep advancing and so far have been able to keep up very well with the changing times.