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Printed Circuit Boards _PCBs__1_


  • pg 1
									Review by Design and Technology Association (logo)

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) – Design and Manufacture

This DVD takes the viewer through the process of designing and making a modern printed circuit
board. The clips on the DVD are divided into four sections – the introduction, circuit board design,
board manufacture and component mounting. The introduction looks at the number of pcbs that are
likely to be found in the average modern house and then gives an overview of the modern pcb
manufacturing process. Video clips are used to illustrate this process taken at a modern pcb
manufacturing business. In the circuit board design section a systems designer explains how a
‘design specification’ from a client is used to produce a schematic circuit layout using a pcb CAD
package where the concepts of the ‘rats nest’ and ‘autorouting’ are clearly shown. The next section
takes the viewer through the pcb board manufacture itself starting with a clean sheet of plain copper
covered board. Manufacturing pcbs in industry is a considerably more complicated version than that
commonly used in schools and it was interesting to see the complexity of this process clearly shown
in series of video clips – drilling holes, graphite coating, UV resist coating, pcb exposure, copper
coating, tin coating and the final removal of the surplus copper. In this section also some of the
scientific aspects of copper coating and tin coating is explained in a series of animated diagrams. In
the final section the viewer is introduced to some of the quality control checks that are used – both
manual and computer controlled. The DVD shows how solder paste is applied to the circuit board
and finally, the components are ‘soldered’ onto the board, again using some manual methods but
mainly nowadays by the use of computer controlled ‘pick and place’ robots.

Many parts of the process can be replicated in school with some of the excellent pcb design
packages that are available which take the pupil from client brief through to systems design, (or
schematic design), circuit layout design and on to generating pcb artwork prior to manufacture.
Some software packages available now also take the pupils that next step to pcb manufacture with
the use of CAD files driving CAM equipment. Teachers will easily be able to see the links and
make direct comparison between the industrial processes exemplified on the DVD and how they are
carried out in the D&T environment in school.

The video clips throughout the DVD are of excellent quality and clearly illustrate the processes
reviewed in the DVD. Opportunities to watch modern industrial manufacturing processes at first
hand are often unavailable to pupils and this video gets behind the scenes and lets you see the
process of producing modern pcbs at close quarters. The commentary throughout the video is clear
and relates directly to the images on screen. There are multiple choice questions posed throughout
the DVD which ask the viewer about some of the technical aspects of the process.

Verdict : Recommended for overview of the various stages in pcb manufacturing process and
suitable for KS3 (and maybe some aspects of KS4)


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