PCB – the short form for Printed Circuit Boards – is fundamental parts of electronic systems that all electrical engineers are familiar with. Two different types of PCBs are available and Layout PCBs can be printed out using Proteus.
Now you might be wondering, what are the different types of PCB? What is Proteus? How to print PCB layout from proteus?
To have all your questions answered, all you need to do is just read a little further; give us the chance to assist you through the road of printing the PCB layout by using the Proteus software.
What Is PCB?
A PCB (or Printed Circuit Board) is a circuit board over which various circuit patterns and projects are arranged; without a precisely designed PCB, it is very hard to come up with real-life versions of your projects.
PCBs are the most basic part of all electronic systems and thus, they are always made before manufacturing products like computers, printers, laptops, smartphones, mobiles, etc. They have copper plating and you can solder other components to the board per demand.
Types Of PCB
Two types of PCB are available – the dotted PCBs and layout PCBs. They differ based on their design.
Dotted PCBs offer dots over the entire board where you can connect various components and wires using a soldering iron. It is, however, difficult to use as making connections is tough and you need to avoid getting electrical shots.
Layout PCBs are much simpler to make than dotted PCBs. Using designing software, you need to first create a layout for your circuit and then the design is engraved on a piece of copper. You can later connect wires and all other necessary components one by one. Any chances of error are reduced and it takes up less time.
Introduction To Proteus
As we mentioned, designing software is present in the market which can be used to produce PCB layouts and other electronic designs. Proteus is one such software (designed by Labcenter electronic) that is equipped with countless tools which can be utilized to plan out various PCB layouts.
How To Print PCB Layout From Proteus:
Step 1: Designing Your Circuit
Using the Proteus software, design your circuit. A workspace is available and you can get on working within the blue rectangle.
A toolbar is present on the left from which you can easily pick out different components and add them to your circuit design one by one. You can also use the Pick device/symbol option from the Library.
Once you are done adding and modifying the components (can be done by right-clicking on them) connect them to get a closed-circuit design.
Lastly, save and debug the file. You can now use this to create your PCB layout.
Step 2: PCB Layout Designing
Press the Tools option on the Menu bar and from the drop-down list, select the Netlist to ARES which will open a window where you can make board edges and add and connect components. If you intend to rotate the components, do so before connecting them using the rotate buttons.
An Auto-router window can also be opened which will allow you to differentiate between routing tracks and help you identify them easily. This is an especially important step for double-layered PCBs where tracks might be harder to separate; the tracks at the bottom will have a different color from the tracks at the top.
Once tracking is done, you can catch a 3D visual of what you expect your circuit to look like once all your components and wires have been connected.
Save the project in the same file where your circuit design is stored.
Step 3: Printing Your PCB Layout
Visit the output option and click on the Print button to open the print layout window where you will be presented with the different modes. Overall, 4 modes are available – artwork mode, a solder resist mode, SMT mask, and drill plot.
Using the artwork mode, you can print the yellow-colored module and then go ahead and print the top copper layer. The bottom coper layer should be printed after changing the reflection option to Mirror and you should also alter the rotation to X horizontal.
For the top silk layer, you need to change Layer/artwork settings to Top silk and Board edge and set the Reflection mode to normal. Print the Bottom Silk Layer and then the Solder Resist Layer where you need to change the mode to Solder resist; reflection should be set to Mirror mode. Lastly, have the Drill plot layer printed during which you need to change Reflection to Normal and then select Drill and Board edge.
Step 4: Etching The Prints
Once you are done printing, cut your copper layer board into the desired dimensions and place the bottom copper layer print onto it, upside down. Make sure it is aligned properly and then apply heat using a heat source.
Once you can see the print becoming visible on the board, submerge it in water. Remove the paper while you are at it and you will, later on, see that the carbon print remains.
Soak the board in ferric chloride solution and wait for it to react and leave only the places that had a carbon layer on your copper. To remove any excess carbon layer, rub the board using sandpaper.
You can now drill in holes, attach necessary components, and cut off any extra pins. You will be pleased to know, your circuit-making process has now ended!
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Export PCB Layout From Proteus?
- Click on the Output button present in the menu bar.
- From the drop-down menu select the Generate Gerber/ Excellon Files option.
- From the dialogue box, select the folder.
- Press on the circle before the “Output to a single ZIP file?” option.
- Tick the layers that you need one by one.
- Change the Gerber Format to RS274X and click OK.
- You can now make an online order through PCB Instant Order.
What Is A PCB Layout Engineer?
When an engineer works professionally to design circuit boards using computer software programs and then turn the PCB layouts into real-life 3D versions, they are known as PCB layout engineers. They frequently collaborate with other engineers from time to time and make a sample and plan out designs together.
What Is A PCB Schematic?
A schematic is an essential feature of PCB design that shows a diagram of the electrical circuit, clearly representing every component, component connection, electrical connection, etc. A schematic needs to be clear and organized to make it easy for designers to depict. Nowadays, you can easily make them using computer-aided design software.
Now that you have reached the end of the article, we can guess that you know how to print a PCB layout from proteus. Hopefully, any other queries have been erased and you can now go on to make some amazing circuit designs and have them printed. Have a fun time engineering and printing!