the process

How are PCB’s (Printed Circuit Boards) made?

The process involves 18 complex steps.

 

Manufacturing Process

The design

The PCB designer routes the traces and places components based on a schematic diagram.

Manufacturing Process

Printing the design

The design of the PCB is printed onto a film that shows the details and layers of the board.

Manufacturing Process

Creating the substrate

Copper is bonded to both sides of the substrate (epoxy resin and glass fiber) using a large oven.

Manufacturing Process

Printing the inner layers

The design is printed to a laminate using blue photo-sensitive film (photoresist) that covers the structure.

Manufacturing Process

Ultraviolet light

The photoresist and laminate go under ultraviolet lights that harden the photoresist, revealing circuitry.

Manufacturing Process

Remove unwanted copper

A chemical solution eats away at the unwanted copper. The hardened photoresist remains intact.

Manufacturing Process

Inspection

After the photoresist is removed, an X-ray machine is used to inspect the board for any defects.

Manufacturing Process

Pressing the layers

Prepreg (epoxy resin) and copper layers are aligned with metal pins, pressed together, and clamped.

Manufacturing Process

Laminating the layers

The PCB goes through a laminating press, which melts the prepreg epoxy and fuses the layers together.

Manufacturing Process

Drilling

Holes are drilled into the layers by a computer-guided drill to expose the substrate and inner panels.

Manufacturing Process

Plating

The PCB is bathed in chemicals which coat the panel with a thin copper layer and also plates the holes.

Manufacturing Process

Outer layer imaging

Another layer of photoresist is applied to the outside layers and UV light hardens the photoresist.

Manufacturing Process

Plating

The panel is plated with copper a second time. A thin layer of tin guard is then plated to the board.

Manufacturing Process

Etching

Acid removes any unwanted copper. The tin guard layer protects the copper intended to remain.

Manufacturing Process

Solder mask application

The solder mask epoxy is applied and baked onto the board, which gives the board its unique green color.

Manufacturing Process

Silkscreening

Component labels and outlines are silkscreened onto the board using white ink. Then it is coated and cured.

Manufacturing Process

Surface finish

The PCB is plated with a tin finish which will increase the quality and bond of the solder.

Manufacturing Process

Testing

Finally, a technician will perform an electrical test on the board using an ultra fast “flying probe” testing machine.

 

This video was created by Strange Parts to show the

entire manufacturing process from start to finish.

Manufacturing Process

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Manufacturing Process

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