Introduction: A Solderless Printed Circuit Board

About: Have 30+ years of experiences as a Mixed Signal IC Design Engineer.

Suppose there is a fast and easy way to hook up a circuit which is a bit more like a printed circuit board but can be done without solder.

The latest and greatest method involves printing out a schematic and gluing to cardboard. Then hot glue all components in place. Then wire wrap up the circuit. See the next picture. The following project uses this method.

Step 1:

 The tools needed are a manual wire wrap tool, some wire wrap wire, the circuit components, and a print out of the component side and solder side of a PCB layout. The two sides to the PCB layout get glued to an index card such that the holes all line up. This idea is not new.

Step 2:

 A regular PCB layout could do the job. The artwork for this layout was imported from an Open Source PCB application.  Adding some extra documentation can make things easier. This artwork can be found here

Step 3:

 The two sides of the print out are carefully aligned and glued to two sides on an index card. Punch holes on the component side and insert components.

Step 4:

 If the alignment is correct, the leads of the components will come out of the holes on the solder side.

Step 5:

 The manual wire wrap tool has an insulation stripper which can double as a lead length measure. When  wire is inserted till it just about comes how the other end, it will be stripped to the optimum length.

Step 6:

 The bare wire gets inserted into the groove of the manual wire wrap tool.

Step 7:

 Place the hole of the manual wire wrap tool over a component lead on the solder side and twist until all the bare wire is wrapped around the lead. 

Step 8:

 If the stripped wire is at the optimum length, several good contact wraps can be made on every component lead. 

Step 9:

 With a little skill, wire wrap can be counted on to make a lot of good connections within some pretty tight quarters. Documenting component values and where wires connections go also make it easier to hook everything up without making a mistake. 

Step 10:

Wire wire is not as good as soldering, but it comes close. It is certainly better than using a solderless breadboard. For one thing, the circuit does not have to be broken down every time a new circuit needs to be built up. 

Step 11:

 This circuit was designed to work off of a laptop. Having a circuit work without any debugging is always nice. 

Step 12:

With just wire wrap, the circuit is semi-permanent. This particular circuit might get use to encourage adding a little solder to all connections. As it stands right now, all wires can be removed, and all components can be reused. It may be best to avoid trimming component leads in favor of looping them. Loops make good scope connections.