From Idea to Product - Chapter III: Hands on the PCB Layout
So, at this point you have a blueprint and initial validation of the design’s functional behavior. So, what’s next? How do you transform what you have into an actual PCB? First, you have to know that fabrication and assembly files are imperative.
Fabrication and assembly files include all the data PCB houses need to make your boards, but in order to create these files, you need a computer program that allows you to do schematic capture and PCB layout. This software package is known as CAD software. Multiple options are available in the market, some are free but have limited functionalities, and the more powerful ones require a paid license, representing an additional development cost that might not be worth for the entrepreneur.
Additionally, the PCB layout stage requires a set of skills and good practices that can only be acquired through experience: routing techniques, proper component placement, considerations about electromagnetic interference and noise reduction, etc. Complex boards, like PC motherboards and high-speed devices require even higher level of expertise. So, if you happen to decide walking the hard road of doing the PCB layout on your own, you will be facing two important challenges: save several thousand dollars to buy an adequate CAD software; and taking the time to learn this software, develop your PCB Design skills and polish them.
In summary, this stage must be executed by an experienced professional if you want to deliver a final product of high quality. Bridge can offer you PCB Design services in case your business doesn’t have an in-house engineering department.
Once your PCB is designed and fabrication & assembly files are generated, you are ready to have your boards made!