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PC Board

Legend Printing- PC Board Fabrication Process

If you’re looking for the most advanced and efficient PCB manufacturing process on the market, look no further than the legend printing-multilayer PCB manufacturing process. This new process is revolutionizing how printed circuit boards are manufactured, offering superior performance and reliability over traditional methods. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of this new process, how it works, and why it’s the best choice for your PCB manufacturing needs.

The legend printing of multilayer PCB is revolutionizing the way printed circuit boards are made. This cutting-edge manufacturing process is making it possible to create circuit boards that are more reliable, cost-effective, and easier to use than ever before. With this process, legend printing can provide customers with superior circuit boards for a wide range of applications.

What Is Legend Printing?

Legend printing is a specialized multilayer PCB manufacturing process that combines the benefits of advanced technologies such as laser direct imaging (LDI) and inkjet printing to produce high-quality printed circuit boards. The process creates layers of fine traces on the Printed Circuit Board, allowing for a high level of detail and accuracy, along with excellent signal integrity.

The key benefits of legend printing include increased resolution, trace widths down to 5 mils or less, a wide variety of solder mask and surface finish options, and minimal time required for prototyping and production. This makes it an ideal choice for high-density designs where reliability and performance are important.

The process starts with laser direct imaging (LDI), which involves a laser beam used to create the desired pattern on the PCB’s surface. Next, an inkjet-printed layer is applied to the board before it is processed through the reflow oven. Finally, a solder mask is applied and cured, providing a protective coating to the finished product.

Legend printing ensures a superior level of quality for multilayer PCBs, giving designers the confidence to push the boundaries in their design requirements. With its combination of advanced technologies, it’s a reliable and cost-effective solution for producing complex electronic components. It also offers quick turnaround times with many fabrication capabilities, including small batch sizes and quick turnarounds. It’s no wonder why many leading companies rely on this cutting-edge technology to get them from concept to market quickly and efficiently. Moreover, if you’re looking for top-notch prototype PCBs, you can’t go wrong with legend printing.

Inkjet printing has many benefits that other processes cannot match. It provides a quick turnaround, allowing projects to go into production quickly, and allows designers to produce from a single-layer board or up to 10-layer boards. It helps make use of acid-free and water-based inks that deliver rich blacks, sharp text, high gloss finishes, and precise graphics. However, these advantages can increase the printing price. Like, an inkjet printer starts at about $10,000 and requires a costly startup investment. When these costs are factored in with maintenance fees, servicing needs, and running costs like ink replacement, this solution could prove to be too pricey for many companies.

The Multilayer PCB Manufacturing Process

Legend printing involves an advanced automated production system to ensure consistent and reliable results for customers. Generally, the process starts with a substrate, which consists of several layers of epoxy resin-bonded copper foil. Manufacturers then use imaging equipment to print the design onto the substrate and etch away the excess copper.

Then, they apply a layer of insulation material over the etched copper layer, followed by the insertion of conductive vias which electrically connect the layers. Finally, a solder mask is applied to protect the board from any accidental damage.

Through a multilayer PCB manufacturing process, you can produce intricate designs with high levels of accuracy and repeatability. This helps to ensure that your product will perform as expected when it reaches its final destination. The versatility of a multilayer PC BOARD manufacturing process also means that you can work on a wide range of different products.

Some industries that use legend printing include automotive, telecommunications, and aerospace applications. Each of these markets demands unique requirements and specifications, but they all require reliability and dependability. To keep up with the demands of each industry, we have developed innovative solutions through our experience in research and development. For example, aircraft are very sensitive structures, so some companies offer low-volume and pre-production testing services using the RISC or a rapid prototyping service. With such a service, you can reduce the lead times for tooling; maintain quality control during assembly, and reduce the risk exposure during the production ramp-up time.

The Benefits Of Legend Printing

The Legend printing-multilayer PCB manufacturing process offers several benefits for businesses looking to create complex circuit boards. By using this process, industries can ensure very high quality and accurate production.

The first benefit of using this process is that it allows for smaller board components. By using a multilayer system, more complex circuits are easy to create on smaller boards. This makes the boards easier to package and transport, saving the companies time and money.

Moreover, by using the legend printing-multilayer PCB manufacturing process, businesses can produce boards with superior electrical performance. This process can achieve high levels of precision and accuracy, leading to fewer errors and better overall performance.

Finally, this process allows for faster turnaround times. By utilizing multiple layers of production, businesses can quickly assemble complex circuits and get their products to market faster. This ensures that companies remain competitive in their industries and are able to capitalize on market trends quickly.

Overall, the Legend printing-multilayer PCB manufacturing process is an excellent option for businesses looking to maximize efficiency and quality when creating complex circuit boards. By utilizing this process, you are confident that your products are of the highest quality and are produced as quickly as possible.

Why Choose Legend Printing For Your Multilayer PCBs?

When it comes to designing and manufacturing multilayer PCBs, choosing the right manufacturing process is essential. Legend printing is a leading provider of multilayer PCBs, offering a comprehensive range of services that can help you get the most out of your multilayer PCBs.

The best legend printing companies use state-of-the-art equipment and processes to ensure quality, reliability, and performance. Our advanced Circuit board fabrication process starts with a detailed design and layout phase, allowing us to create high-quality multilayer boards with accurate dimensions.

Expert engineers use advanced manufacturing techniques and equipment to fabricate the boards. After production, they subject each board to a rigorous quality assurance process to guarantee that it meets all of your specifications.

The result is a multilayer PCB that is reliable and performs as expected in any application. Engineers also use advanced testing and inspection techniques to ensure that every product is up to high standards of quality and performance. By hiring a good printing company, you can trust that your multilayer PCB will be delivered on time and meet all of your requirements.

What To Consider While Making Legend Prints

You have to consider a few things during legend printing, be it new or some modifications, such as:

  • Texts should have the same orientation in the entire board, like reference designator, part numbers, brand details, etc. You should arrange the text from top to bottom.
  • Manufacturers often have to deal with overlapping texts that need editing. You can avoid it by moving the reference designator to the right side.
  • Though you can add legend printing on both sides of the board, it becomes expensive. So, you can reduce the cost by using only one side.
  • Markings should have standard shapes and colors to have readable and low-cost printing.
  • You can reduce printing faults through measurements. Keeping the space a few mils can reduce the errors.
  • Avoid placing text in four directions as it can make repair complex.
  • The text should not overlap the holes or vias, or it will lose its significance.
  • Try not to write the text on the fast signal paths, as it can cause dielectric loss, affecting the impedance level.

Legend printing involves different text styles, depending on the circuit board manufacturer and customers. Designers should check the styles before sending the Gerber files to fabricators.

Final Thoughts

Legend printing is a specialized multilayer PCB manufacturing process that combines the benefits of advanced technologies such as laser direct imaging and inkjet printing to produce high-quality printed circuit boards. The process creates layers of fine traces on the PCB, allowing for a high level of detail and accuracy, along with excellent signal integrity. You have to consider certain things during legend printing.

The legend printing-multilayer PCB manufacturing process is an excellent option for businesses looking to maximize efficiency and quality when creating complex circuit boards. By utilizing this process, you are confident that your products are of the highest quality and are produced as quickly as possible. If you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective solution for your multilayer PCB needs, then look no further than legend printing.

Would like to know more about legend printing or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com.

PC Board Color- Choosing Your Desired Color

PC Board Color- Choosing Your Desired Color

PC Board come up in different colors of which a green solder mask is the most common one. You will see most circuit boards with green solder masks. But, the industry is getting innovative due to changing technologies, so designers try new colors to make printed circuit boards.

PCB Solder Mask

Before getting into PCB colors, you should know what the solder mask is? The printed circuit board has different layers, and the top layer is the solder mask, whereas the bottom layer is the copper foil. The purpose of the solder mask is to cover the bottom layer from getting polluted or oxidized. The main material of solder masks is often the insulating resin which is printed on the circuit board’s unsoldered areas. The resin protects the board from heat, moisture, and any kind of damage.

Printed Circuit board Fabrication

You can customize a circuit board in terms of solder masks and other elements. According to research, 99% of solder masks are green. However, other colors are also emerging, such as red, black, white, yellow, blue, and purple. These colors are used for different applications. Such as RDs at the NPI stage are often made red. Whereas white is used for LED light circuit boards.
Each PCB color has some good and bad aspects that we will discuss here.We will also help you choose the right PCB color according to your application. Let’s start with the colorgreen.

Green Solder Mask In PCB

Though many colors are there, the green solder mask is still at the top as it helps to visually inspect the PCB to find any defects. Moreover, green makes a good contrast with the white silkscreen, helping you to remove the flux residue. If you don’t know how to select a color for the solder mask, go for green right away.

PC Board Color- Choosing Your Desired Color
PC Board Color

Red Solder Mask In PCB

Red is another color for PCB solder masks,and it adds brightness to the PCB. Red has a nice contrast with planes, areas without copper, and traces. However, the contrast is less than a green circuit board.
You may need a magnifier to find any defects in the traces. However, the red solder mask is compatible with screen printing and also helps remove residual flex like a green solder mask.Red also enhances a device if the circuit board is visible.

Blue Solder Mask In PCB

PCB with a dark blue solder mask is also popular. It hasless contrast with the planes, traces, and no-copper surfaces.Hence,you have to use a magnifying glass to inspect the construction defects. But, it has a high contrast with screen printing that makes blue suitable for a PCB with several components.
But, blue is less clear than green and red, and it highlights the dirt that makes it hard to remove the flux residue. A bluesolder mask is ideal for boards with hidden routes. It is also compatible with Arduino open-source tasks or products.

Black Solder Mask In PCB

A black solder mask is not so ideal in terms of inspection, as planes, traces, and no-copper surfaces have less contrast. Other than a strong magnifier, you also have to rotate the light to create a shadow to highlight the trace.
However, there is a good contrast of screen printing, and it’s visible on the board without any lights and so are the pads.But,the black solder mask has a high heat absorption during reflow. You have to place a temperature checker near the board while manufacturing. Moreover, the screen printing gets light brown during reflow due to the board’s high heat absorption.
The dirt also gets more prominent on the black surface, making it hard to clean. That’s why the manufacturing of a black PCB board involves more cost than other colors. On the other hand, black is ideal for LCD panels.
The black solder mask has two types, including matte and gloss of which matte black contrast is better than the glassy black.However, a black solder mask gets soiled and it becomes hard to repair it.

White Solder Mask in PCB

White solder masks have the lowest contrast than other colors, and placement of the marks becomeshard evenif they are under lighting. Whereas the cleaning of a white Printed Circuit Board is so difficult that you can’t imagine. You have to do so much effort to remove the stains from a white PCB.
However, it has some benefits as black printing on a white PCB creates a good contrast. You can use a white solder mask in LED applications where the front panel has to be white to increase the brightness.

Yellow Solder Mask in PCB

Yellow PCB is as good as green because there is a high contrast between theplanes, traces, and no-copper surfaces. You can use the dark yellow mask to enhance the routes, making them prominent.
There is one disadvantage of using a yellow solder maskand that is it’s less contrast with the white silkscreen. Many manufacturers prefer a black silkscreen with a yellow solder mask, even though it is less satisfactory.
It is easy to clean the residue from a yellow solder mask.So, yellow can be a great choice even though some people don’t like a lively color like this.

Purple Solder Mask in PCB

Purple PCBs are rare, however, advanced devices can have such boards. Purple has good contrast with the traces and planes. However, it does not go well with white silk printing. But, a purple solder mask would look great with an immersion gold surface, creating a good match.
So, you can choose any of the above colors to customize your PCB, depending on your requirements.
Why Should You Use Different PCB Colors?
It is not enough to know that PCB has different colors, because one should also know its reason. There are a few reasons behind using different PCB colors instead of just green, such as:

  • Different PCB colors help engineers indicate the revisions and changes to help users recognize them.
  • The application of other colors in PCBs can create better contrast. You have to understand the importance of the assembly tools in terms of transmission light, reflectance, and absorption.
  • Different PCB colors can reduce the errors caused by a mixed assembly. Moreover, the contrasting colors help decrease lead-free meetings.
  • The colors of the printed circuit boards are known as PCB codes. You would see modern PCBs in different colors compared to traditional boards. Even today, the PCmotherboard’s color is green epoxy because of its qualities
  • Though the colors of the PCB solder mask don’t influence a board’s performance, they can enhance its resolution. However, solder masks with clear transparency have a high resolution. The yellow and black PCB resolution is less than other colors like green, red, and purple.

Hope the above discussion helped you understand different PCB colors along with their advantages and disadvantages.

FAQs

What Is PCB Solder Mask?
The printed circuit board has different layers, and the top layer is the solder mask, whereas the bottom layer is the copper foil.
How Many PCB Colors Are There?
PCB comes up in several colors, such as green, red, black, white, yellow, blue, and purple.
What Is the Green Solder Mask?
The green solder mask makes a good contrast with the white silkscreen, helping you to remove the flux residue.
Is Red Solder Mask In PCB Effective?
Yes,the red solder mask has a nice contrast with planes, areas without copper, and traces.
What Is The Reason Behind Different PCB Colors?
Different PCB colors help engineers indicate the revisions and changes to help users recognize them. They reduce the errors caused by a mixed assembly. Moreover, the contrasting colors help decrease lead-free meetings.
Why Engineers Don’t Prefer Black Solder Mask?
A black solder mask is not so ideal in terms of inspection, as planes, traces, and no-copper surfaces have less contrast. Moreover, it gets dirty and is hard to clean.
Where Can I Use A Purple PCB?
The purple solder mask is compatible with an immersion gold surface, as both match very well.

Wrap Up

The green solder mask is the most common in circuit boards due to its high contrasting ability. The purpose of the solder mask is to cover the bottom layer from getting polluted or oxidized. The main material of solder masks is often the insulating resin which protects the board from heat, moisture, and any kind of damage.
Many users customize a circuit board in terms of solder masks and other elements. You will see various PCB colors in different applications, such as RDs, LEDs, PCs, etc.
Would like to know more about PCB Colors or smt assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Metal Core PCB Design & Manufacturing Concepts

Metal Core PCB Design & Manufacturing Concepts

Metal core PCB consists of a layer of thermal insulation, copper foil, and metal plate, and you can also call it MCPCB. The basic benefits of metal core PCB include:

  • High magnetic conductivity
  • Great heat dissipation
  • Excellent mechanical strength
  • Easy processing

The base layer of the MCPCB is copper and aluminum, and you can choose to have any of them. Aluminum PCB is cheaper than copper, and you would find them in LED lights, mobile phones, and audio-frequency equipment. However, copper is better than aluminum in terms of performance. MCPCB was developed to overcome the heat dissipation issues occurring in high-power LED lights.

Things To Consider While Designing The Metal Core PCBs

The construction of the MCPCB stack-up depends on certain guidelines that we will discuss here. Such boards consist of a specific base layer, such as aluminum, copper, or even steel. You will have to determine the layer arrangement after selecting your desired metal and dielectric laminates. The type of the layer will determine other aspects, such as components and routing.
MCPCB has different types, depending on the number of layers as single-layer, double-layer, or multiple-layer metal core circuit board.

What Is A Metal-Backed PCB?

This Printed Circuit Board has a metal layer on its back, whereas the opposite layer has electric components. You can’t route traces on the back, however, through-holes are possible for routing between different dielectric layers, bringing ground to the metal substrate.

Metal Core PCB Routing

In the case of a double-side PCB, you can place through holes for routing between the metal core’s sides. You can use the multilayer dielectric stacks on the metal core’s sides to support different layers’ routing.You should ground the metal substrate for shielding, and to prevent it from acting as a monopoly antenna.

MCPCB Applications

Metal core circuit boards are ideal for aerospace and military industries that involve mechanical shocks, as well as high moisture and temperatures. So, MCPCB helps meet such requirements because they have a strong structure and a high thermal conductivity compared to PCB having an FR4. Such highly conductive circuit boards ensure an equal distribution of temperature when there is thermal cycling. So, it does not let the hot spots make closed components.
Metal core PCBs are also suitable for electric products which should work at high temperatures, such as high-current regulators, automotive electronics, and high-power LED lighting. The design of such applications depends on a precise stack up, and the board architecture should perform high at a low temperature.

Metal Core Printed Circuit board Fabrication Process

As there is a metal substrate in the stack up, such PCB involves a specific manufacturing process.You can use the FR4 dielectric in the case of a single-layer board by pressing the layer and bonding it to the metal plate.
If it’s a stack-up with a multilayer dielectric, you should first drill the metal core to have a layer transition independent of a short circuit. In the beginning, large holes are made and plugged with the insulating gels.Then, the gel has to be cured to make copper plating like a standard PCB. After that, you have to press and bond the remaining stack-up with the metal substrate. The stack-up needs through-holes followed by copper plating and residue cleaning.
The single-layer metal core circuit board has a metal base, copper layer, non-conducting or dielectric layer, solder mask, and IC components. Most thermoelectric separation applications consist of a COB or Chip-On-Board metal core circuit board,
It has two layers of copper conductor and both are on the metal core’s same side. Whereas the 2L MCPCB also has the metal core between two conductors, and designers call it a double-sided metal core circuit board.

Metal Core PCB Design & Manufacturing Concepts
Metal Core PCB Design

How to Select the MCPCB Components

It is essential to decide what components to choose when designing printed circuit boards as it can affect the final product. Such electronic components have different shapes and sizes, different power consumption specs, weights, and several other elements.
If you know how to choose PCB components efficiently, it can prevent big mistakes during design. We will help you in selecting the right components for your metal core PCB design.

You have to use certain design software tools to source the MCPCB components. These tools are necessary for all types of circuit boards, including a board with FR4, a rigid-flex circuit board, or a metal core board.
The surface mount technology is suitable for placing the components because it involves a minimum shorting to the metal substrate.You can also use the through-hole components,but you have to be careful to ensure that the solder mask does not get damaged on the back of the metal-backed PCB.
PCB fabrication involves multiple steps and the right design can enhance this process, preventing unnecessary design revisions.The manufacturer should have all documents having the fabrication details of the MCPCB.
Other than using metal cores, some passive techniques also help keep a circuit board cool through thermal management.

Designing MCPCB In A Closed Environment

The design of a multilayer PCB can become complex without compatible design software. You require the layout design tools for precise placement of the components, vias, routetraces, electrical, and thermal load crosscheck, etc.
You must have a good library of materials while designing the MCPCB. Likewise, the PCB layer-stack manager is required to handle your board’s structure. A suitable stack-up manager helps you to design a stack-up with an appropriate placement of the metal core, be it symmetric or asymmetric. Once the dielectric layers are defined, you need some groundwork for route traces and components’ placement.

Choosing The Design Software For PCB Layout

Different software help develop the PC Board layouts but make sure to choose the suitable one such as Altium. It helps you to have very precise CAD features to place the components. It also makes routing simple through special routing tools, whereas the layout engine helps ensure that the MCPCB is according to the design guidelines.
Remember that suitable software includes the 3-D design features to help you to design the complex mechanical parts of the MCPCB. You can also share your design with others through Altium 365, a cloud platform

Parameters of a Multi-Layer MCPCB

The design parameters of aluminum PCB sare described below.

  • Desired Aluminum thickness is 0.8-2.0mm
  • Solder resistance should be 288℃, >180 sec.
  • Breakdown voltage should be >3000v
  • The dielectric loss angle should be 0.03
  • Flammability should be UL 94V-0
  • Thermal conductivity should be 1.5W and 2.0W
  • Peeling strength should be >9lb/in

The minimum drilling diameter should be 1 mm in the case of an aluminum core, and the final diameter can be up to 0.3mm. There should be at least 1.2 mm spacing between the drill holes to avoid any damage.
Metal core PCB is also useful in several other areas having high mechanical loads where the dimensional stability should be high. Moreover, you can use it for electric vehicles, backlight units, automotive, audio systems, traffic lights, commercial buildings’ lighting, and solar panels.

Important Note

The digital devices depend on printed circuit boards for signals transmission to help them operate. These devices need a well-designed structure and manufacturing, but you have to encounter many issues in this case that we will discuss here. Circuit boards have different types and any issue in the design of a PCB would cause delays in its manufacturing, so you must know how to avoid them.

FAQs

What is A Metal Core Printed Circuit Board?
Metal core PCB has a metal base, such as aluminum, copper, or steel of which aluminum and copper are common.
Which One Is Cheaper, MCPCB with Aluminum or Copper?
MCPCB with aluminum is cheaper than copper. But, copper is better in terms of performance.
How Many Types of Metal Core Circuit Boards are there?
MCPCB has different types, depending on the number of layers, such as a single-layer, double-layer, or multiple-layer metal core circuit board.
Where Can I Use The Metal Core Circuit Board?
Metal core PCB is also useful for electric vehicles, backlight units, automotive, audio systems, traffic lights, commercial buildings’ lighting, and solar panels.

Wrap Up

There are several benefits of metal core PCBs, such as high magnetic conductivity great heat dissipation, excellent mechanical strength, and easy processing. The base surface of the MCPCB is copper and aluminum, and you can choose to have any of them. Aluminum PCB is cheaper than copper, and you would find them in LED lights, mobile phones, and audio-frequency equipment. But, copper is better than aluminum in terms of performance. Metal Core PCB was developed to overcome the heat dissipation issues occurring in high-power LED lights.
The design of a multilayer PCB can become complex without compatible design software. You require the layout design tools for precise placement of the components, vias, route traces, electrical, and thermal load crosscheck, etc.
Would like to know more about Metal Core PCB or pcb assembly services? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

There are many free and open-source PC Board design software packages out there, but KiCad has become one of the more popular ones due to its combination of low cost and flexibility. As with most design software, it does take some practice to learn how to use it, which is why we created this guide on how to design PCBs in KiCad.
Whether you’re just getting started or want to review your skills, this guide will get you up and running quickly, allowing you to create your first PCB in no time.We’ll walk you through starting a new project, designing your circuit, creating the Gerber files to send off to your manufacturer, and much more.

Step 1: Open The File

To open up your chosen schematic file you need to double click on it. This will bring up your schematic editor, and also provide you with access to other tabs as well as additional views of your schematic. If you have more than one page in your project, they will appear separated by tabs that can be accessed at any time.

The first thing you should do is get rid of all unused components so that there is no clutter or confusion when designing your circuit board. You can do this by selecting each component individually and pressing delete or right-clicking on them to select Remove from Project from the menu.

Remember not to select any electrical connections you may have made during your design process because these are required for our circuit board to function correctly. When you are done removing everything that isn’t needed, save your project file under a new name so that you don’t lose what you’ve already done.

Step 2: Save Your Work

To save your work as you go, you must keep your progress handy. You can do so by clicking Save on KiCad’s main toolbar, or by using the CTRL+S on your keyboard.
As you work, you’ll want to save your work often. To do so, click File>Save Project (at the top left) or use the keyboard shortcut Control + S on Windows/Linux and Command + S on Mac.
Before saving, make sure that you haven’t included any hidden layers by clicking Layers>Show/Hide>Hidden Layers and making sure all layers are checked. It’s also helpful to set up a backup location for your project files.
If you choose to Save a project before compiling it when creating new projects, KiCad will automatically create backups of your files before compiling them into an output file. If something goes wrong during compilation, simply open one of these backups and continue working from there. The next time you compile, KiCad will overwrite your old backup with a new one.

Step 3: The Project Tree

You’ll notice that on your right-hand side, there’s a list of nodes. This is where you keep track of all your libraries, schematics,PCB designs and pcb fabrication files. The project tree will start with just one node called Unnamed; click on it and give it a name. That way you can return to it quickly and easily.

By default, designs are displayed as hierarchical project trees of symbols, footprints, and 3D models. Clicking on an object displays its properties in a panel at the left.

Right-clicking on any object opens a context menu for modifying it. It is also possible to create new project folders and objects from within KiCad using these menus.

There is no limit to how many objects or projects you can have in KiCad. When creating or editing the schematic sheets or PCBs, remember that the current sheet refers to either sheet 0, the top sheet, or sheet 1, the bottom sheet.

Step 4: Board Settings

The software is now configured for new designs. If you’re happy with all of your settings, click OK to save them and make sure that Configure Project for Manufacturing is unchecked. We want our design files to be suitable for creating prototype boards, but we don’t need any extra vias or silkscreen layers as those would just be an unnecessary drain on our budget.
The part of KiCad you’ll be focusing on is called Board, and it’s located under Preferences > Board. Click on that, then click Save as Default Project, then click OK. Now, any new projects you create will use these settings by default.
You’ve already got some elements selected in our schematic; now let’s check out how to add components from libraries. This is done using something called Footprints. For each component you want to add, different types of Footprintsdetermine their size and placement on your board.
To get started, find your library folder in Documents >KiCad Library> Components. There should be two folders inside here, such as footprints_1_0 and footprints_1_4. The former is used for older versions of KiCad while 1_4 has newer parts available.
Find one you like and double-click it to open up its details page. Here you can see a list of all the possible ways that components could be placed on your board, along with their respective sizes. Scroll down until you find one that matches your needs, and then right-click on it.
Once you have chosen a footprint, go back into your schematic editor and place your cursor where you want it on your board. It doesn’t matter where exactly, just somewhere near where you think it might fit nicely. Right-click again and select Add to Selection.
All instances of that component will now appear highlighted, allowing you to easily move them around without accidentally dragging another object instead. Move them around until they look good, and then press Ctrl+S to save your work.
Repeat steps 3–5 for each other component you want to add. When you’re finished adding everything, click File > Export Gerber Files… A window will pop up asking you where you want to export these files to.Choose your preferred file type before clicking Save.

Step 5: Trace Settings

To ensure your traces have sufficient space between them, you’ll need to change several settings in KiCad. If you’re working with 2 mils (0.002 inches) traces, choose Min trace width / Min clearance 0.2 mm and Min spacing 1 mm from under Advanced Tracing on the left side of the Project Properties dialog box.
If you’re using 5 mils (0.005 inches) traces, select Min trace width / Min clearance 0.5 mm and Min spacing 1 mm instead. For 10 mils (0.010 inches) or 20 mils (0.020 inches) traces, use 2mm/4mm as appropriate for those sizes.
Note that these values are set per layer, so if you want to use different values for top and bottom layers, simply click on the Top or Bottom layer in the Project Properties dialog box before changing these values. Once you’ve made your selections, click OK to save changes.
Now that you’ve got your trace size set up correctly, let’s move on to via size. Vias are used to connect one layer of copper to another through plated holes. These connections allow us to route signals through our board by allowing us to go from one layer to another without going all the way around (which would waste space).
The reason why we have two types of vias is that they serve different purposes depending on where they’re placed. Printed Circuit Board Blind vias are located inside a hole, which means they’re not visible from either side of our board. On the other hand, buried vias can be seen from both sides.

How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad
How Is PC Board Designed In KiCad

Step 6: Fabrication Output

You’ve created your schematic, laid out your board, and routed everything beautifully. Now it’s time to order those fab files. For now, let’s focus on getting these fab files ready for manufacturing.

  • Use DRC to ensure there aren’t any issues with trace width/spacing or via holes.
  • Add solder mask.
  • Add silkscreen.
  • Check for manufacturability (is your design feasible?).
    Export Gerber files.

Step 7. Exporting Gerber Files

Now that you have everything drawn up, save your schematic and board files. You will be using these files when it comes time to order your board. Start by going File > Save or hitting Ctrl+S.
To save Gerbers, you must create and name an output folder. Go ahead and do that now. After your boards are all laid out, you’ll be able to export them as Gerber files.
If you’re doing more than one layer of a board, like if you have an inner ground plane, then make sure that you select a Separate file per layer for Gerber, otherwise, they won’t work.
Also, make sure that you check every single box under File Options except Place component origin at the lower-left corner of pad/hole. This option puts components off-center on pads and is only useful if you plan to manually place components later.
Once you have checked those boxes, go to File > Export Gerber Files. A window will pop up asking where you want to save your Gerber. Name your project or whatever makes sense for what you’re making and click OK.
Then another window will pop up asking which layers you want to export. Select All Layers and click OK again. Finally, a third window will appear with progress bars telling you how long it will take to generate your Gerber. It can take anywhere from 10 seconds to over an hour, depending on how many layers you have selected and how complex they are.
Would like to know more about printed circuit board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

In electronic design, PCB routing is the positioning of conductive pathways on a printed circuit board before final soldering and interconnection. The purpose of PCB routing is to have an arrangement where signal traces connect electrically to components and other signal traces while avoiding the signal crosstalk and maintaining short electrical paths between the components.
You can have a manual PCB through computer-aided design software or the use of specialized routing hardware, such as manually controlled routers or auto-routers.

How To Reset Your Board After Auto Routing

If you’ve used an auto-router, but you’re not happy with its results, you can fix it in different ways. Moreover, if you know what a DRC is, you can use it to override certain errors that auto-router made.
DRC means the Design Rule Check which you can perform by running an ERC or Error Report Check. The ERC will report all of your errors on your design file on a text file. It will then tell you how many errors are found in each layer.
You can then go into each layer and manually change any error that was reported by using the P-CAD’s drag function to move components around until they fit perfectly within their pads or tracks. This is also known as drag fitting.
When everything fits perfectly, save your design as a new version so that you don’t accidentally erase anything important. Once saved, run another DRC and see if it finds anything else wrong with your board layout. If not, continue with another step to check for shorts between traces/pads/vias/traces, etc.
After fixing these issues, perform another DRC again. Now that everything looks good, export your Gerber files. Make sure you select the top copper layer only and then hit OK. Your Gerber files should now be ready to send off for PC Board Fabrication.

How To Manage Multiple Copies Of The Same Net

In printed circuit boards, nets are electrical connections between different parts of a design. For example, if you have an LED that is connected to the ground and another net that connects to a microcontroller through various resistors, there will be two nets connecting these two components.
You need to route one copy of each net in your board file in order for it to be used in your design. Having too many copies can make it difficult to update or change an element of your circuit board design.
In case you have several copies of a net, they will all be shown in different colors. But, you should always try to join them together instead of having multiple copies. The PCB editor provides a Merge Nets option which can do that for you. To use it, just click on it in one of your nets and select another net for merging. You can do that with as many nets as needed. When finished, press OK and then Save Board to save your changes. You can easily learn it through various video tutorials available on the internet.

How to Manage Tight Spaces in PC BOARD Routing

The key to successfully routing a PCB with tight spaces is in visualizing what you’re doing. If you can see it, you can do it. Once you have a clear picture of your goal, there are several techniques to deal with PCB obstacles that make it possible to route those hard-to-reach traces. Here are some tips on managing tight spaces.

Place your components as close together as possible: This will leave plenty of room for routing at either end of each component lead.

Put components with shorter leads toward one side: This allows more space for routing on other sides, where longer leads might overlap.

Use right-angle headers instead of straight headers when possible: They’re easier to route around obstacles because they have a narrower footprint. If you can’t use the right-angle headers, place them closer to an edge than a corner.

Use large-pad ICs instead of small-pad ones when possible: Large pads make it easier to route around them without accidentally overlapping their neighbors.
Put components with longer leads toward one side: This allows more space for routing on other sides, where shorter leads might overlap.
Place through-hole components near an edge: This leaves plenty of room for routing on other sides, where smaller holes might overlap. It also makes it easier to access component pins from both sides.
Route clockwise around obstacles when possible: Clockwise routing tends to be smoother than the counterclockwise routing because it keeps your drill bit moving forward rather than backward.

Tips On Hard-To-Route Pins, Vias, Signals, Planes, And More

One of the biggest advantages of auto-routing tools is that they save you a ton of time by automatically planning out your board’s signal paths. Though these tools are very convenient to use, there are certain types of signal paths that can be very difficult for them to handle.
Here’s a quick rundown on some common hard-to-route signal paths and what to do about them, so you can make sure your PCB design doesn’t have any issues during production.
Multi-layer boards allow you to create more complex circuit layouts than would otherwise be possible with a single-layer PCB. But, when it comes down to it, most manufacturers prefer single-layer boards because they don’t cost much more and will typically get you faster turnaround times than multi-layer boards.
If you’re trying to decide between single-layer and multi-layer, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Multi-layer boards require additional fabrication steps. Though multi-layer boards do indeed allow for more routing options than their single-layer counterparts, they also require additional fabrication steps which increase the manufacturing costs. This means that unless you need those extra layers, it’s probably best to stick with a single-layer board.
The single-layer printed circuit boards can fit more components. This may seem like an obvious point, but when designing your layout, remember that multi-layer boards have smaller component pads and traces than their single-layer counterparts. Each layer adds another set of traces and pads. So, if you’re looking to fit more components onto your board, you should consider sticking with a single-layer PCB.
In other words, both multi-layer and single-layer PCBs have their pros and cons. So, if you aren’t sure whether or not you should use one over another, or if you simply want to play it safe, go ahead and choose a single layer board instead.

Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing
Printed Circuit Board Routing Practices after Auto Routing

Avoid Over-Relying On Auto-Routing

Though auto-routing is a great help, you cannot over-rely on it. Besides, you have to select the right software for this purpose. There are lots of free software available on the internet which might or might not work well in this case, so choose carefully. You should have practice to route traces with any software that we will discuss further. Besides, there are different parameters of auto-routing that should be precise, however, they vary from project to project or between different modules on a single printed circuit board.

Top 5 Tips for Manually Routing A Circuit Board

There are different things to consider while manual routing on PCB, such as:
1. Keep your route sizes as consistent as possible: Having a fixed grid is highly beneficial when it comes to routing. You should lay out your design in a way that allows you to connect pin-to-pin with no more than 5 percent variation from expected routes. It ensures an optimal layout before starting any manual routing work.
2. Use proper start and endpoint selection: Starting a route at a pad or component lead not only wastes time but also affects a board’s signal integrity. To avoid these issues, always use endpoints or pins for start/endpoints whenever possible.
3. Avoid using vias for signal layers: Vias are used for connecting two different copper layers on a PCB, not for connecting two pads on one layer. If you need to connect two pins on one layer, consider using micro-vias instead of traditional vias.
4. Don’t overlap traces: Overlapping traces can cause different kinds of problems, such as ground loops and impedance mismatches. So, make sure you leave enough room between each trace for easy soldering and troubleshooting later on.
5. Focus on long-term flexibility: Once you have routed your board, think about how you might want to change it down the road. For example, will you ever want to add another connector? How about changing around some components? You may find that adding the solder mask artwork into your design software now will prevent you from lots of headaches later on.
Your ability to change the designs without having to reroute everything from scratch makes a huge difference in future productivity and costs. The best way to learn new skills is by doing new things, so don’t be afraid to take chances and be innovative.
You can develop the best PCB by focusing on different techniques and design parameters for which you can also read our other posts.
Would like to know more about PCB routing practices after autorouting or PC Board assembly? Email us at sales@pnconline.com