LEARN HOW TO design a printed circuit board

A person soldering the surface mount device on a pcb

A Person(Phakazip R Shimray) soldering the surface mount devices on a printed circuit board (PCB) at APEC lab

Blogs | Dec 15, 2022 | Ankit Gupta

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are an essential part of electronic devices, and designing them requires attention to detail and precision. PCB design can be done using computer-aided design (CAD) software, but if you want to learn how to design a PCB manually, this guide will take you through the process step by step. 

STEP 1: Rub the copper board and make it shiny

To start, take a copper board that is big enough for your project, and use sandpaper to clean it. The goal is to remove any dirt or oxidation from the surface of the copper to make it as smooth and shiny as possible. You can also use a metal polish to make the copper board even shinier. 

STEP 2: Place the paper with printed circuit over the copper board and iron it 

Print your circuit design on a special paper that can be used for transferring the design to the copper board. Place the printed circuit paper onto the copper board with the printed side facing down, and use an iron to press it onto the board. Make sure to apply enough pressure and heat to transfer the ink from the paper onto the copper board. 

STEP 3: If some tracks are only lightly printed, use a permanent marker to overlay them 

After ironing the printed circuit paper onto the copper board, you may notice that some of the tracks are only lightly printed or didn't transfer properly. In this case, use a permanent marker to overlay these tracks to make them more visible and clear. 

STEP 4: Put the board in a solution of ferric chloride and 100°C water 

Once you have transferred the design onto the copper board, it's time to etch away the unwanted copper to leave only the circuit design. To do this, put the board into a solution of ferric chloride and 100°C water for a few minutes. The solution will dissolve the unwanted copper, leaving only the circuit design behind. 

STEP 5: Clean the board with cleaning liquid (Colin surface cleaner will work)

After the etching process, you will need to clean the board with a cleaning liquid to remove any remaining ink or debris. This will ensure that the copper traces are clean and ready for soldering. 

STEP 6: Drill the holes wherever required 

If your design requires holes for components, use a drill to make these holes wherever needed. Make sure the holes are properly aligned with the design before drilling. 

STEP 7: Solder components to their place 

Once the board is clean and the holes are drilled, it's time to solder the components onto the board. Use a soldering iron to attach each component to the board, making sure that they are securely fastened and in the correct position. 

STEP 8: Printed Circuit Board is ready 

After soldering all the components, your PCB is ready to use. You can now connect it to your electronic device and test its functionality. Congratulations, you have successfully designed a printed circuit board!

Designing a printed circuit board manually requires patience, attention to detail, and precision. By following these steps, you can create a functional PCB that will help bring your electronic project to life. 

Watch this video to understand it better !