Designing and Producing Your First PCB Prototypes
A prototype PCB is an important aspect to the success of your final product because it allows you to perform tests for design and functionality, before taking a product to full production, so it makes sense that your first pcb prototypes are a crucial step.
As such, there are some important things to consider when designing your prototype. So to help you through the PCB prototyping stage, here are the main steps to designing and producing your first PCB prototypes.
Steps to Producing Your First PCB Prototypes
- First and foremost, you must have distinct and definite goals of what you want your end design to accomplish. Taking time to clearly define your design objectives and specific product functions, consider challenges, and choose the right components will allow for a more successful prototype.
- Your prototype PCB should be manufactured to the highest specification possible for a fully functional, high quality board for testing and design verification.
- To avoid re-tooling charges when taking your prototype to production, consider the following specifications:
- Boards “up” per panel and panel size – The quantity of boards arrayed on a particular panel size (typically based on the capability of the PCB manufacturer and the volume of the order).
- Materials – Typically the designer specifies the material to be used for surface and and individual layers.
- Drilled hole sizes – Drilled hole sizes should be specified as finished hole sizes.
- Tooling holes or target locations – Determined by the manufacturer to match their equipment
- You should consider selecting your manufacturer prior to board layout to start within your budget and to avoid manufacturing delays. The capabilities and limitations of your board manufacturer can directly affect your board layout, pricing and schedule.