Intro to Printed Circuit Boards

In this instructable, I’ll go over what a printed circuit board is, where they are used, and the basics of how to make one yourself. So sit back, strap in, and enjoy learning about this very important and interesting method of making electronics!

Intro to Printed Circuit Boards

Note: this is an introductory guide. I’m sure that there is a lot I did not cover, and if you find something you think I should mention in this guide, make sure to put it in a comment below!

Step 1: Creating Circuits

When creating a circuit, you need to connect multiple electronic components together, usually to perform some useful function. There are many different ways to do this:

  • Breadboard
    • A common method of prototyping circuits.
    • Pros
      • Great for building temporary circuits and some quick projects.
      • Quick and Easy
    • Cons
      • Very impermanent; wires and components can easily be pulled off
      • Restricted to through-hole components
  • Point to point
    • (solder components directly to each other)
    • Pros
    • Don’t need a board for your projects
      • Quick construction
      • Can take up less space
    • Cons
      • Not very organized
      • Hard with small components
      • Difficult to repair
  • Wire Wrap
    • Use board of pins and wrapped wires for connections
    • Pros
      • Fast if you have the tools and materials and a simple circuit
    • Cons
      • Can be very disorganized
      • Difficult to repair
  • Proto-board
    • Plated or non-plated holes in fiberglass for circuit construction
    • Pros
      • More organized than point to point
      • Can be easily mounted in a case
      • Can have relatively quick construction
    • Cons
      • Labor intensive to make circuits
  • Conductive Ink
    • Ink with a very low resistance that can be painted on and used as a circuit
    • Pros
      • A cool, novel way of making circuits
      • Good to get kids interested in making simple circuits
    • Cons
      • Not very practical
      • Cracks easily
      • Low conductivity
  • Conductive Thread
    • Similar to conductive ink: cool and novel, not too practical in most cases. However, some cool uses in wearables!
READ  Optogenetic hardware setup

And finally, Circuit Boards!

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