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Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

Posted May 25, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Designing printed circuit boards and building prototypes has changed little in recent years, despite the enormous advances in the semiconductor technology that they contain. This article showcases how one engineer who has been doing the job for 40 years copes with the challenges of building prototypes by hand despite the availability of automated tools. Such tools may prove financially justifiable in a large company, but cost-prohibitive for small companies and startups. In describing his technique, he quips, "It's not so good for long-term reliability, but it's satisfactory for an engineering prototype." The article includes links to additional information on the process.


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#1

Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/25/2015 12:37 AM

Brings back memories. Rubylith is a term my buddy used to use as he taped up a board and used an E-xacto knife to cut the tape.

That was back in the day.

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#2

Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/25/2015 3:34 AM

Modern techniques just mean it's cost effective to get 500 prototypes wrong rather than 1

Del

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Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/25/2015 3:52 AM

Yes, but with automation you can make up for it in volume.

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#4

Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/25/2015 11:31 AM

Sadly, that's just the hard way to do that. It's like writing a book with a slate and chisel.

You can get 3 prototype 4-layer boards for about $100 in about a week from Express PCB and the software is free!

If you need something more sophisticated Sunstone Circuits, its parent company, offers a software tool that allows more layers and more options.

PCB Express offeres production runs, too and the costs are very reasonable. Quality has been excellent with only one or two minor flaws and we have purchased 100s of boards from them.

If you want more Eagle makes an excellent CAD package that will generate gerber files and you select your own board house.

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#5
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Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/26/2015 12:47 PM

Totally agree AH. I have used them extensively in the past - prototyping only - as a hobby. For a small business this is the way to go unless you need a very high component density.

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Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/26/2015 2:40 PM

Oh, Please.

Would you have Del make a bow on a CNC mill? :0

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Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/26/2015 3:24 PM

Oooooh. Snarky! Have you taken your medicine today?

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#8

Re: Quality PCB Prototyping "Without a Net"

05/31/2015 1:28 PM

I stumbled upon Quick Turn Protos recently for a prototype requirement, and have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the customer service and turn around. They operate on 5-day standard turn for 2 thru 6 layers and expedited as fast as same day are also available for a reasonable cost.
http://quickturnprotos.com/special for 2 layers as low as $21.00
They also have online quoting and ordering for any full spec, complicated requirements.

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