custom PCB is much smaller than other types of circuits. Its size is an extremely important aspect to its all production process. In addition, a custom pcb greatly reduces the need for wires. This improves the appearance of the final circuit. For producers ordering in large PCB production, it’s the cheapest method, offering huge cost benefits
Of the several materials used for the boards, six are the most widely manufactured: FR-1, FR-2, FR-3, FR-4, CEM-1 and CEM-3. “FR” stands for “flame retardant”. FR 1, 2 and 3 are essentially the same, with only minor differences in properties. They are not suited for building multilayer boards. The same is true for CEM-1.
FR-4 and CEM-3 are two laminates that can be used for multilayer boards. Of the two, FR-4 is more widely manufactured, and hence is cheaper. It can be used for single and multilayer boards, and has excellent thermal tolerance up to 130°C.
The actual components used depend entirely on the purpose of circuit. Examining which components to use is best dealt in an encyclopedia series. This leaves laminate boards and traces. Production costs, working efficiency and operating cost of the finished circuit, all depend on these elements.
Copper is the most commonly used material for custom PCB. Simple methods involve plating the entire board with copper, and then etching away unnecessary areas through a mask (stencil) to leave the required traces. More complex methods allow traces to be added on to a bare board. Each approach has associated pros and cons.
Some boards require the use of gold for sensitive, low-voltage applications or lead-free (RoHS) compliance. Copper traces usually demand the use of a nickel barrier layer before gold-plating. This is to prevent gold from migrating into the copper. Indiscriminate use of nickel can result in huge losses to impedance.
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