Printed circuit boards are an integral part of many electronic devices out there. If you plan to buy a PCB, you should know more about the design process.
That way, you can ensure that the board will fit your desired application perfectly. Additionally, you will optimize the cost and maximize the price of the board.
Please take a look at our detailed guide on what you should know about PCB design and manufacturing, and discover the best manufacturer on the market!
1、Basic PCB Components Overview
Before we can talk about what you need to know about PCB design and manufacturing, we will tell you a bit about the essential components of every printed circuit board.
Take a look at the list below to discover what you should consider when deciding on the features of your PCB.
Image 1: PCB Design & Manufacturing
Each circuit board contains layers, and the number of layers you will select depends on your desired application. The general rule is that the PCB gets more complicated the more layers you pick.
That is why it may take more time to construct boards with more layers, although reputable companies will still manufacture them quickly.
Here are some common choices that people go with when assembling their PCB:
•Two layers – a relatively easy-to-make board used for simple products, such as toys;
•Four layers – a solution that many people use for the Internet of Things (IoT) items;
•Six to eight layers – you will see these in tech-related devices, such as smartwatches and smartphones.
The manufacturers will also accept boards with a single layer if you are sure you are looking for the simplest solution.
You can again go with more than eight layers, but make sure that your application needs so many. Otherwise, you are paying more for no valid reason.
1.2.Size and Thickness
Next, you will want to decide the size and Thickness of your board. As for the size, the only important factor to consider is that it perfectly fits your application.
That is why you should consider the size of your product and measure the space where you plan to place the PCB.
You must accurately measure the dimensions as there is not much room for a mistake if you want your product to work correctly.
When it comes to Thickness, it can vary from about 0.5mm up to 2.5mm. You should consider your application and decide accordingly, but the average Thickness is around 1.2-1.8mm.
1.3. Other Things to Consider
Here is the list of other components and features you may consider when ordering a PCB:
•Material – the common choices include standard FR4, FR4-TG170, and halogen-free materials.
•Color – you can have your solder mask in red, green, yellow, blue, etc.
•Surface finish – lead-free or leaded HASL, different immersion silver, gold, and tin are all available.
•Copper weight – you can choose the required Thickness per layer, varying from 0.5 ounces to four ounces. Copper is used because of its high conductivity.
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2、pcb design manufacturing--Design Process
The design process starts with circuit design. The first thing you need to do is come up with a document called a schematic. You can imagine it as a blueprint showing all components in detail and how they will communicate.
You design circuitry on a PC using professional software, such as Quadcopter, Altium, ExpressPCB, or many others available online.
Remember, most of these tools are the paid version, so you will have to buy them if you want to design the PCB yourself.
What you need to know about PCB design and manufacturing are the specifications for each component you want to include on your board. The schematic can greatly help the next step, which is the PCB layout.
Image 3: PCB Design & Manufacturing
2.1. Allocating Components to Their Locations
Each component needs to have a precise location during the manufacturing process. That is why creating a layout of your board is a vital step in PCB design.
It may be tricky because you need to find the best way to fit all components and explain how to connect them. That is why it is more challenging to assemble a PCB that has more layers.
The majority of designers go with the tactic of separating different areas for components of various purposes.
Power supply-related components go in one section, audio output in another site, and so on. Grouping is vital as it can save space and keep noise and interference under control.
It is essential to consider LEDs, connectors, audio jacks, and other vital items for user experience. You want to maximize usability so that you can use the PCB effortlessly.
The final step is producing a Gerber file, a standard printed circuit board manufacturing format.
You may think designing a PCB is easy, but it is tricky to place all the components correctly.
You need to avoid interference and other potential issues while maximizing user experience, and that is reason enough to let the job to a professional company.
3、pcb design manufacturing--Manufacturing Process
Once you have the design of your PCB ready, it is time to manufacture it. The easiest way is to send the Gerber file to the manufacturer and let them do their magic.
They will use the layout to assemble the PCB and turn the idea into reality. If you choose a professional manufacturer, the chances are they will have all the required materials ready.
That will eliminate the need to order the materials and wait for delivery. Instead, they can immediately proceed to manufacture.
3.1. Mounting PCB Components
The primary task during the assembly process is to mount the components on the board's surface. The following two methods are used to do that:
•Surface mount technology (SMT) is incredibly convenient when manufacturing many PCBs. Reliable and quick professional tools handle the mounting to ensure no room for human error while accelerating the Process.
•Through-hole – some prefer sticking to manually mounting components to the board's surface, but this often takes more time than SMT.
It is interesting to note that SMT doesn't support all components. If the item you choose is not a standard size or some other way, you may have to install the feature manually. That is why companies often use a combination of the above methods.
3.2. pcb design manufacturing--Soldering
When the time comes for Soldering, the manufacturers will resort to one of the following:
•Reflow – this technique is excellent for permanently connecting components to the board.
•Wave – This Soldering is convenient when manually mounting the details.
•Iron – mass manufacturers rarely use this soldering form.
Finally, the manufacturer will probably manufacture only a sample of the board to test its quality. After thorough testing and necessary modifications, mass manufacturing will start.
4、How to Choose the Right Manufacturer and Order Online
We now covered the basics of what you need to know about PCB design and manufacturing. You may even try to assemble a DIY printed circuit board yourself now.
However, it is not recommended to do so because you will lose a lot of time, and the quality will be questionable.
If you want to achieve the highest possible quality of your PCBs, getting in touch with a professional manufacturer is essential.
That way, you will ensure that the board is a perfect fit for your product and that you integrate a durable and long-lasting solution.
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Factors to Consider When Choosing a PCB Manufacturer
Here are some details you may want to keep in mind when deciding on a manufacturer for your printed circuit board needs:
•PCB types – aside from standard rigid printed circuit boards, the manufacturer should be ready to design flexible PCBs if you need them.
•Experience – skill, and knowledge are essential. Still, the experience is crucial as it enables the engineering team to respond to any challenge and complete any PCB order regardless of the complexity.
•Ordering Process – contacting the company should be easy, getting all the necessary information, and placing your order.
•Delivery time – the timeframe for delivery may vary on the PCB assembly complexity, but a reliable manufacturer will complete the order as soon as possible.
4.1 Who Is the Best PCB Manufacturer on the Web?
Based on the above criteria, it is easy to determine that OurPCB fulfills all your requirements from a printed circuit board manufacturer.
For starters, they have been around for more than a decade, which gives them the necessary experience to fulfill any order.
OurPCB's engineering team has been working in the industry for years, using only state-of-the-art machines in their factory.
Thanks to modern equipment and skilled staff, OurPCB can assemble rigid and flexible PCBs for you. They allow you to choose all the details of your PCB, such as the number of layers, copper thickness, and other information.
The ordering process is simple, and it only takes eight hours or less to receive a quote on your order.
That means you can place your order quickly, and the company will ensure that your PCBs are manufactured and delivered in the shortest possible timeframe.
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5、pcb design manufacturing--The Bottom Line
We believe this article covered all the details you need about PCB design and manufacturing. As you can see, the entire Process is a bit tricky, especially if you are not an expert. That is why the wisest move you can make is to hire an experienced manufacturer.
OurPCB has a long list of satisfied clients over the years, which is their best recommendation. Whether you need only a couple of simple boards or many complex PCBs, they are ready to complete your project and exceed your expectations.