How To Make A Circuit Board

Written by Adam Blau
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Whether you are making a circuit board by yourself or you're using a professional service to create your board for you with machines, the process is fairly similar. In short, you must stencil or emblazon a circuit design onto a conductive board (usually copper), drill ample holes for the prongs of the various components, and then etch away the unneeded conductive surfaces. How these various items transpire depends on the complexity of the circuit and the sophistication of the circuit manufacturer.

Details on Making a Circuit Board

For rudimentary circuits, it is often possible to create etch markings by hand directly onto a blank circuit board. For more complex circuits, though, you will most likely want to use a computer-aided design (CAD) application to make sure that the current flow will function as you expect. Most good CAD programs will allow you to output your designs in a fashion that can be used by professional circuit board manufacturing houses.

Once the design is ready to be implemented, it must be placed onto the board in etch resist. Etch resist (often tape, enamel paint or photoresist) will allow the design to remain on the board while the unneeded copper layers are etched away. The remaining unetched copper serves as the printed circuit on the board.

Holes must be drilled at the proper locations on the circuit board. If you are preparing your board by hand, it is imperative that you accurately measure the distances between prongs, particularly in the case of fairly inflexible parts like integrated circuits. Because of the accuracy needed for this step, professional services that utilize machines for this task have an advantage over the amateur hand-driller.

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