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This page will go through the basics of what a PCB actually _is_, along with definitions and examples of many of the terms used with PCBs. Design is looked at on our “PCB Design]" page. === Some links that might be helpful === **What is a PCB?**\\ A PCB (//printed circuit board//, or just a “board”), is a multi-layered substrate specially designed and fabricated for circuit designers to eliminate wiring and mechanically support their components. At their simplest, they are single layers of copper on a rigid, electrically isolated backing, onto which you can solder components and cut connections between them out of the copper. More complex //stackups// (that is, the layering of the PCB) can include multiple copper layers, different insulating layers, and more. Connections between components are called //traces//. Traces on different copper layers can be connected by adding //vias//, which are holes that are drilled into the board and electroplated to make a conductive pathway. //Soldermask// can be added to isolate traces beyond just etching. Text and images can be added with //silkscreen//. In simpler terms, a PCB is <<Image of a PCB>> <<Labeled image of a PCB> <<Stack up of a 2 layer board>> **How do I make a PCB?**\\ Making a PCB is done in three overarching steps: design, fabrication, and assembly. - *Design*: Typically, one starts by developing a circuit, which may include simulations and/or prototyping on breadboard. The design of the board itself is then done on the computer using electronic computer-aided design (e-CAD) programs, such as KiCAD, EAGLE, or Altium, though there are many others. - *Fabrication* of the PCB is done in a number of different steps, depending on the complexity of your design, but a standard 2-layer board without vias begins by drilling any necessary holes, followed by etching/isolating the traces and components, and finally routing/cutting the board out. Soldermask and silkscreen can be applied after the board has been fabricated. See our "[[how-to-pcb|How to make a PCB at The Hive” page for details.

  1. *Assembly* is the process of actually adding the components to the fabricated PCB. At The Hive, we have soldering stations to facilitate this, as well as solder paste and a reflow oven if you'd prefer. We can also make solder paste stencils.

Route (cut vs route traces)

  • pcb-basics.1585625471.txt.gz
  • Last modified: 2020/03/30 23:31
  • by benh