Prototype circuit boards and circuit board prototyping are very complex but important processes. Indeed, they can be wildly complicated and also beautifully simple — but before you order a prototype of any kind, it is important to understand the process and the industry as a whole. Here you will find some interesting and important facts that will have you thinking and brainstorming on how best to develop a few of your own designs.
First, it is important to fully understand FR-4 glass epoxy — the most commonly used type of glass epoxy used in these constructions. It is the primary insulating substrate, upon which the most ridged and unforgiving PCBs are produced.
Basically, a thin layer of copper foil is taken and laminated to one or both side of an FR-4 panel, and interconnected circuit etching are made into the copper layers — the finished product being the printed circuit boards.
Some components of a prototype circuit board are connected to the circuits by the “through the hole technology” and a new method called “surface mount technology.” These days, more and more engineers are using surface mount technology in their construction of circuit boards.
The legend is one of the most important parts of any printed circuit board, and there are several different methods for printing those — the legend contains the component designation, test points, switch settings and controls, and other indicators that can help engineers to assemble and service circuit boards.
Indeed, each board is designed for a specific and unique use, so every prototype circuit boards must be considered as a unique entity unto itself. You may not realize it, but there is most likely a prototype printed circuit board behind many of the daily functions you perform without thinking about it — from dialing a number on your phone to using a computer. Prototype PCB assembly has a large role in figuring out how best to design and produce the final product and have it work with other manufactured parts.