These days, CAD files of the Open Source projects often distributed. In these situations, we can not use DIY methods of single layer PCB fabrication at home or some other ways like using Flex boards. For this process, we need to follow the procedure to save costs yet get the best result. The procedure will demand to learn a lot of new things and with time, a skilled can have excellent quality prototypes.
Steps to Get Prototype PCB Manufactured : Understand the CAD File and Gerber Files
We are writing this part mainly for those who will use the design of Open Source projects to manufacture PCB.
STEP file is a CAD file format. The STEP model is a 3D format for viewing the components physicalities. It
does non contain soldering information. F3D file is a 3D design file created by Autodesk Fusion (a cloud-based 3D CAD design tool). A BRD file is a CAD file created by EAGLE. SCH file extension is used to indicate a circuit schematic file.
The Gerber format is used by printed circuit board (PCB) industry software to describe the printed circuit board images. Here are some example Gerber files :
Gerber files should be inside a .rar or.zip archive with standard file extensions:
pcbname.GTL Top Copper
pcbname.GTS Top Soldermask
pcbname.GTO Top Silkscreen
pcbname.GBL Bottom copper
pcbname.GBS Bottom Soldermask:
pcbname.GBO Bottom Silkscreen:
pcbname.GML/GKO *Board Outline:
We can convert Eagle files (EagleCAD schematic) to Gerber. Here is an example of Adafruit HUZZAH32 ESP32 Feather’s EAGLE PCB files :
Here is an example of Adafruit HUZZAH32 ESP32 Feather’s 3D files :
We can manufacture PCB from the above examples’ Gerber files and EAGLE PCB files. This will need extra steps to convert to Gerber files.
Steps to Get Prototype PCB Manufactured : Purchase the Components and Get Ready For Assembling at Home
Assembling at home is cheaper and the cost of the component remains under control. In some countries, professional assembling by PCB fabrication service becomes cheap as they source the components from cheaper sources out of tie-up with hardware companies.
As for assembling at home, you need a stencil (which we will get in the next step), solder paste, hot air gun, magnification system to view. On the fabricated PCB (which we will get in the next step) you need to use the stencil to put solder paste, components and blow with a hot air gun. Components will get soldered into the proper place.
This is a brief description of the step. You will need a detailed guide to this step to work.
Get the PCB Fabricated
You are only taking the professional service to get the PCB fabricated and have the stencil. Many in India asks how to get the job done. Here is practical experience and cost-shared by a GitHub user :
The result will be basic finishing (HASL) or surface treatment processing at that price. There are different types of PCB finishing. Immersion Gold (ENIG – Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold) is another widely-used surface treatment processing. It is suitable for lead-free soldering. ENIG is susceptible to the issue of hyper-corrosion of the nickel (black pad). The process itself is long and complex :
The important aspect of the above-detailed articles is to gain an idea about colour, the colour of solder mask etc.
This is all about how you should follow the process of learning to get your prototype manufactured.Tagged With brief summary of how pcb is manufactured , esp32 gerber library PCB pattern