Blog  /  9 Fundamentals in PCB Prototyping and PCB Design Flow

9 Fundamentals in PCB Prototyping and PCB Design Flow

The demand for PCB Prototyping is on the rise. Thanks to PCB Design Flow advancements, it is now possible for buyers to go international and get these cards manufactured from off-shore companies.

Most companies hire designers who work on the design that is sent to the manufacturer to work. Sadly, designers can have a difficult time dealing with PCB prototyping. It can be a complicated process as it involves many steps and components. It is essential that you fully understand the design process.

In this article, we will walk you through the PCB design process and also highlight the steps involved in the process.

 

Let’s get started:

 

PCB prototyping

(PCB prototyping)

 

PCB Design Flow and Stages :

Neatly explained the PCB design process. Divided into four stages that are very different from each other. We have defined all these stages in detail below, including the role they play:

 

Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

One requirement only: Order must be placed using a company account.
Please email [email protected] for details.
Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

1.PCB Design Flow - Step 1 - Part Research & Selection

 

Pcb selection

(Pcb selection)

 

No matter when you start, this should always be the first step in your design process. You will have to research available parts and select what fits your requirements so you can get the desired results.

Some users let manufacturers guide them during the process. While it can be a good idea, especially if you do not know much about part selection, remember that only you can define your requirements, hence be clear about this aspect if you want to get your hands on exactly what you want.

 

2.PCB Design Flow - Step 2 - Schematic Capture

 

Pcb designing

(Pcb designing)

 

This step can be very complicated as it involves the creation of the electronic diagram of the circuit board. The designer will take care of the process, but other heads may also get involved. Plus, the designer will use one of the many schematic editors for this purpose.

All editors can do the same thing, but they differ in functionality and use.

 

3.PCB Design Flow - Step 3 - Simulation

 

Printed circuit boards

(Printed circuit boards)

 

Circuit simulation refers to making sure the circuits are neat and do what they are supposed to do. Once again, you will need a simulation software to get the job done. Some schematic editor tools also offer simulation functionality.

This step will help you figure out how the card performs in the real world and whether it can handle the current way you want.

 

Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

One requirement only: Order must be placed using a company account.
Please email [email protected] for details.
Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

4.PCB Design Flow - Step 4 - Minimum Width Design

 

Printed boards

(Printed boards)

 

The board that you design or manufacture must neatly fit your available space. Both height and width are two elements that deserve mention here because even a cm of extra width can make it problematic to install aboard.

Look at your hardware requirements in terms of size and make sure to design your board within those limits.

5.PCB Design Flow - Step 5 - Board Layout

 

Pcb layout

(Pcb layout)

 

A circuit board has several parts, and they all need to be appropriately aligned for it to work well. These include cooling elements, the placement of solder masks, etc. When you design aboard, you must keep in mind the layout.

You will create a land pattern at this stage to visually understand the package. The land pattern converts the symbol assembly into an 8-pin rectangular package.

 

6.PCB Design Flow - Step 6 - PCB Solder Mask Selection

 

Pcb soldering

(Pcb soldering)

 

A PCB usually contains several layers made of copper. These are made to conduct electricity and are made safer and more useful with the help of insulation.
Choosing the right solder mask depends on several specifics of the circuit board

  • PCB board physical size
  • The size and number of holes in the PCB
  • Conductor
  • Type of component
  • Design of surface layout
  • Product Usage

If your PCB board for high-tech industries, such as aviation, telecommunications equipment, medical, etc., the standard of solder mask is higher than that of the general PCB. You need to choose a higher price and better quality solder mask, which is conducive to the realization of product functions.

The thickness of the solder mask is also essential. For modern circuit designs, if your board surface is flat, you can use a dry solder mask. If your PCB board has complex surface components and layout design, to better contact the laminate, it is best to use a liquid solder resist to cover the PCB board more uniformly.

Of course, you will find a green color on most PCB boards. It is a solder mask, but it also comes in other colors, including red and blue.

 

7.PCB Design Flow - Step 7 - 3D Printing Method for PCB Prototype Production

 

3D printing has solved several problems this industry had to face. Thanks to 3D printing, you will not have to wait for the final product to know if it would fit your appliance or not.

A 3d printed model is not an actual PCB board, but it is the closest thing you will get to a real product. The purpose of a 3d model is to tell you exactly how your product would look and if it will fit the given space.

You can place this model in the desired space and make changes to the design if it is too big or too small. In most cases, being too little is not a problem because smaller devices are beneficial since we love to opt for portable products. However, bigger units can lead to severe issues.

Not everyone goes through this PCB prototyping, which is a mistake because, without this step, it can be difficult to tell if your PCB board will meet your given aesthetic requirements.

A 3d model is an investment, but it can help you save money. You do not always need to buy your 3d printer for this job as many 3d printing services providers can get it done for you. Even some circuit board manufacturers may offer this service for an additional fee.

 

8.PCB Design Flow - Step 8 - Verification & Validation

 

Pcb verification

(Pcb verification)

 

Many people consider this the last step of prototyping PCB as you cannot reach this without going through the steps explained earlier. The risk factor when working on rapid PCB prototyping projects will always be high unless you verify and validate the information.

Different designers and firms opt for different PCB verification and validation techniques, But the purpose of all these tools is to ensure that the board is flawless.

The process can be automated to an extent thanks to the use of a shift-left approach and other such techniques. When you opt for this approach, you choose automated schematic integrity analysis over manual reviews. As a result, you get to have a full review of single or multi-board systems. Verification exposes a variety of issues:

  • Missing power and ground connections
  • Missing pull-up or pull-down resistor
  • Wrong diode direction
  • Capacitor derating
  • Receiver/driver technology matching
  • Missing receiver or driver for network-to-board connection
  • Bus rollover error

You must correct these errors to clear the phase.

 

9.PCB Design Flow - Step 9 - Generate File

 

Pcb tool

(Pcb tool)

 

Once complete, you must generate files for review and share it with others. Export data and ensure that you can open shared with others.

The process of generating the file is critical, You need to make sure the data is in the correct format, and the PCB vendor can receive it. Some things need to be determined inside:

  • The type of component you need
  • Required welding pattern
  • PCB board properties
    and many more

It can ensure that PCB suppliers get the correct information and faster production assembly. Avoid some mistakes.

 

Summary:

 

All that you need to know about rapid prototyping PCB. PCB rapid prototyping is easy, and you only need the right help to get it done.

We provide some simple steps, and if you want to get more information, you can contact us, OurPCB. Our company has been committed to PCB prototype production, PCB assembly, and other services. I believe we can provide you with prepared services. If you need a customized PCB board, you can contact us immediately.

 

 

Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!

One requirement only: Order must be placed using a company account.
Please email [email protected] for details.
Special Offer: $1 for 5 PCB Assemblies!