One of the most important developments in electronics is the advent of the printed circuit boards or PCB. Also called printed wiring boards or printed wiring cards, it is a self- contained module of different electronic components that are interconnected with each other. These circuits are formed by a thin layer of conducting materials printed on the surface of the board and soldered into interconnecting circuits. Its construction may be single- sided, double-sided or multi-sided.
The components of the printed circuit boards are also electrically connected using two different methods. One method is the “through hole” technology wherein each components has thin wires and which are pushed through small holes and soldered to the connection pad. The other more modern method is the surface mount technology wherein stubby J or L-shaped legs on each component contacted the printed circuits directly.
Creating a printed circuit board involved many processes. If you already have designed your printed circuit board and you are satisfied with the result of the computer- aided simulations that you have done, the next thing to do is create your actual printed circuit board. There are different ways in creating a printed circuit board. The method of choice in creating a printed circuit board usually depends on the availability of materials needed by the method involved, the level of technical difficulty or the quality of the printed circuit board you wish to obtain.
Below is the list of different methods of creating a printed circuit boards that you can consider in your PCB production.
Acid etching method
The acid etching method requires an extreme safety precaution and the availability of many materials and chemicals such as etchant. It is somewhat a slow process. Etching is generally a good method to use in creating a simple to intermediate level of printed circuit boards although the quality of the PCB is still dependent on the materials used in the process. The circuitry involves more close wiring and tiny wirings are usually used.
UV etching method
The UV etching method uses ultraviolet light to create the printed circuit boards. UV etching method is used for the transposition of the layout on to the PCB board. However, the down side of the method is that the materials used for UV etching are usually more expensive and might not be available everywhere. The process in creating a printed circuit board using this method is comparatively simple. It is used to produce finer and more complex printed circuit boards.
Mechanical etching or routing method
Mechanical etching or routing method uses special machines that get rid of any unnecessary traces of copper from the board or direct empty separators between wires. The method is considered as expensive as you may need to purchase the machines and leasing the machine usually requires availability of nearby workshop. However, mechanical etching is the best method if you need to create multiple copies of the printed circuit boards. The method also produces a finer quality of PCB.
Laser etching method
Laser etching method is commonly used in large scale production of printed circuit boards. The method is the same as the mechanical etching but instead of machine, laser is used to etch the printed circuit boards. Laser machines used for this kind of etching is very hard to find and only those companies involved in mass production of the printed circuit boards usually have the capability to purchase such equipments. However, there are some universities that are lucky (or rich) enough to acquire an expensive laser etching machine, thus and they usually allow others to use it for PCB production.
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