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What is a PCB?

A PCB (printed circuit board) mechanically supports electronic parts that are electrically connected with the help of conductive pathways, traces etched from copper sheets which are laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. Much of the electronic industry’s assembly, PCB design and quality control needs are set by standards which are set by the IPC organization. The main generic standard for the design of a printed circuit is IPC-2221A, regardless of the material used to manufacture the board.

Circuit boards consist of an insulator which consists of one or numerous layers of material glued into a single entity. The additional layers serve as grounding to the board. The copper traces are either created by laying down individual lines mechanically or by coating the entire board in copper and stripping away the excess. By stripping away the excess, the needed printed circuits are left which connect electronic parts.

Many printed circuit board shops can help with the design process and offer high end features such as an auto router and trace optimizer which can drastically decrease the layout time. However, the best results for laying out it are achieved by at least some manual routing.

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