PBCs (printed circuit boards) are used in many industries and so there is a lot of demand for prototype PCBs and prototype PBC assembly. Sometimes there are calls to make it smaller, to make it more streamlined, things that stress the assemblers and the designers, as designing and assembling something so small takes a lot of time and is a difficult job. There are many ways to create them, as well.
PBCs are small, almost painfully so, but very skilled technicians can still solder on them, like 0201 packages which are 0.02 in. by 0.01 in. This takes a long time to develop that skill.
But what if there was an easier way?
3D printing offers many possibilities in the technology world. You can print nearly anything, and that includes a prototype PCB. Imagine the ability to craft a PCB even smaller than one that can be made by hand? One that would finally satisfy the endless chants to make it smaller?
It’s actually closer than you think.
Here are some of the things 3D printing could do for prototype PCB assembly:
- More surface area
One fact that doesn’t change is that it doesn’t matter how many layers you add on to a PCB, there are still only two for surface mounted technologies. At least when you craft it by hand.
But this could be changed with 3D printing, you could embed your capacitors, resistors, ICs, and any other components, inside the board itself. You would likely still need outer layer components for those that need cooling, but the issues with the surface area would be minor.
- Diverse materials
As long as the material is able to be suspended in ink, or fits with the machine, it can be printed. You could even change the flexible-rigid aspects of the board, using 3D printing with any part of the board to make it as flexible or rigid as wanted or needed.
- The PCB size
Finally, the size. As long as it’s printable, it can be any size needed or wanted. You could make it as compact as desired, and in any shape desired.
There are likely other benefits to be found with 3D printing for creating prototype PCBs, and the manufacturing of the components that go into them, but these three are the most promising.
3D printing could change the technology world and has in many ways.