Tutorial: A step-by-step guide to the PCB fabrication process

Author : Philip King | Managing Director | Newbury Electronics

01 March 2021

Newbury Electronics_A step-by-step guide to the PCB fabrication process

A printed circuit board (PCB) is the foundational building block of most modern electronic designs: a thin board that mechanically supports & electrically connects electronic components. Used in almost every electronic device imaginable, PCBs have become increasingly complex, while simultaneously needing to become more compact.

The full version of this tutorial was originally featured in EPDT's H1 2021 Electronics Outsourcing supplement, included in the March 2021 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

In this tutorial, Philip King, Managing Director at PCB fabrication & electronic assembly manufacturing specialist, Newbury Electronics breaks down the process of how a printed circuit board is produced…

Step 1: Quote & order
Once an order has been received, the sales team ensure that there is sufficient information to make the board. For standard construction PCBs, we only require a brief description of the nature of the PCB, together with Gerber and CNC (computer numerical control) drill file data. For multi-layer PCBs, detailed material specifications and layer build-up drawings are required. Once the specification has been confirmed, the details are passed to the CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) department to process the data for production.

Step 2: CAD/CAM...
Step 3: Drilling...
Step 4: Multi-layer vacuum lamination...
Step 5: X-ray hole drilling...
Step 6: The black hole line (direct metallisation)...
Step 7: Digital direct imaging...
Step 8: Electrolytic copper & tin plating...
Step 9: The strip-etch-strip line...
Step 10: Automatic optical inspection...
Step 11: Solder resist...
Step 12: Immersion silver or ENIG finishing...
Step 13: Legend printing...
Step 14: Drilling & routing...
Step 15: Electrical test...
Step 16: Final inspection...
And finally: Waste management...

Read the full article in EPDT's March 2021 issue...


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