How to assemble a PCB by hand intro: Printed circuit boards or PCBs are at the heart of modern electronic equipment. Without them many of the electronics we use would be impossible to build. Computers, cell phones, TVs, Blu-ray players and such would not exist. The first PCBs, actually called printed wire boards were made by hand using Masonite or other such product. Prior to PCBs, electronic devices such as televisions and radios were wired by hand. Imagine something as complicated as a television being completely hand wired (Fig. 1). Modern PCBs arrived in the 1950s. They were made from phenolic materials and were single-sided (Fig 2). Modern PCBs are made from several different materials such as fiberglass and its variants, Teflon, and woven glass polyester. However, this is not a complete list. New materials are being invented all the time. Printed circuit boards can be one layer or many layers depending on the complexity of the device being made. Single-sided circuit boards use through-hole components whereas multi-layered boards are likely to use surface mounted components. Multi-layered PCBs using surface mounted devices can be populated much more densely. This is imperative for modern electronic devices (Fig 3). Most hobbyists are likely to use a single or two-sided PCB and through-hole components for ease of assembly. Thanks to improving PCB fabrication processes together with healthy competition, printed circuit boards are affordable for most hobbyists and companies seeking prototype boards alike. One board shop that I have had the best experience with so far is Custom Circuit Boards
. Try dropping them a line if you are need of more sophisticated boards that you can fabricate yourself. OK, back to the tutorial on how to hand assemble a Printed Circuit Board.