What is a Blank Circuit Board and How to Make One

In many cases, the use of technical terms can vary due to geographical differences. Moreover, in the age of the Internet, there is an abundance of information, and sometimes, when writing, there may be casual interpretations of technical terms. This can lead to confusion among readers about certain concepts. This confusion can be particularly uncomfortable for interdisciplinary individuals like me. This article will help you understand a common but potentially confusing concept: Blank Circuit Board

Further Reading: PCB Terminology Glossary

Definition of a Blank Circuit Board

In my understanding, printed circuit boards typically come in three forms: laminate, PCB board, and PCBA board. Here are the meanings of these terms:

  • Laminate: This is the primary component that makes up the body of a PCB and is often considered a semi-finished product of the PCB. It includes the main layers of the PCB, such as the substrate layer, copper foil layer, and prepreg layer.
  • PCB Board: This term is generally used as an abbreviation for “Printed Circuit Board” and refers to circuit boards that do not contain any electronic components.
  • PCBA Board: This is the finished board, the PCB with components assembled on it. The PCB provides support and connections for the components, which are used to achieve the intended functionality.

Therefore, the term “Blank Circuit Board” typically refers to a PCB board without any components installed. Although different expressions may appear in various contexts, such as ‘naked PCB,’ ’empty PCB,’ or ‘bare PCB,’ they all point to the same concept of a blank PCB board.

DIY Blank PCB

Printed circuit boards used in electronics are often intricate and complex. They require processes like high-temperature and high-pressure lamination for multilayer circuits and may involve the use of chemical solutions during circuit pattern etching. Clearly, this task is challenging for a hobbyist. Fortunately, while browsing online, I came across a fascinating DIY video. In the video, a highly skilled electronics enthusiast used basic tools like a soldering iron, saw, and drill to complete the entire process of making a blank board and assembling components. If you’re interested in trying your hand at creating a simple circuit board, you can follow his steps!

Blank PCB Testing

In any project, even the slightest oversight can lead to manufacturing errors when it comes to blank PCB circuit board. Errors like excessive etching temperature, high concentration, prolonged exposure, or issues during CNC machining, such as burrs from vibration, can impact not just a single board but the entire batch when parameters are incorrect. Therefore, both in-process and post-manufacturing testing is crucial. Fortunately, testing a blank board is relatively straightforward, and common testing methods include:

  • AOI:¬†An integrated quality control method on the production line, AOI testing utilizes automated optical equipment to capture images of circuit boards and compares them to reference samples to identify defects such as missing components, misalignments, open circuits, short circuits, and more.
  • X-ray Testing: PCB with multilayer structures are often formed in a stacked manner, and internal circuit layer issues cannot be directly recognized with the naked eye. X-ray testing scans the internal problems within multilayer structures.
  • Flying Probe Testing: This is an electrical testing method similar to bed-of-nails testing. It is used to check the electrical performance of connection points in the circuit paths to identify electrical connectivity issues. Flying probe testing uses probes to move precisely to various positions on the blank PCB’s X and Y axes to ensure the quality of circuit paths.
  • Insulation Resistance Testing: This testing is used to determine the degree of resistance in insulating material to ensure there are no accidental short circuits or insulation failures between different circuits in electronic devices. It includes sub-tests like point-to-point testing, time-resistance testing, and hipot (high potential) voltage testing.

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