What exactly does PCB prototyping board involve?

Before you order a full run of printed circuit boards for your project, you need to make sure your design works perfectly. To do this efficiently and cost-effectively, you need to create a prototype of your board — a small run of your design to test its functionality.

You don't want to lose precious time on a lengthy prototyping process, though. Once you're satisfied with your prototypes, we can also complete your full production run with the same commitment to quality and efficiency.

Another way to help your prototyping process go smoothly is to make sure you understand what it entails so that you know what to expect and can readily provide the necessary information. So what exactly does PCB prototyping board involve? Read on to find out.

Benefits of PCB Prototyping
We recommend that you create a prototype before ordering a full production run of a new PCB design. We make sure our prototype PCB service is fast and user-friendly so you can test your board without delay or hassle. Here's what PCB prototyping enables you to do:
• Detect design flaws early in the production process before you invest significant capital
• Cost-effectively test multiple designs 
• Get an accurate portrayal of how your board will function

Before PCB Prototyping
Before you begin the PCB prototyping process, make sure that prototyping is right for your needs. While it is beneficial for many projects, it's not necessary for every type. If you decide to create a prototype, you'll need some basic information about your project to get started.

1. Deciding If You Need a Prototype
Prototypes are ideal for when you want to test your design or perform a quality check of your board.

You should use a prototype any time you use a new design for a new project. If you've already successfully produced an electronic product with that board, you may not need a prototype. If you make any design changes or create an entirely new PCB design or product, however, you should order a prototype.

Through our rapid prototyping service, we can build test boards with no more than eight layers and provide quality standard IPC1 boards using standard RF-4 material. For prototypes, we can fulfill orders of 5 to 100 pieces and offer a build time of four to five business days.

Once you have approved your prototype, you can order a full production of boards with more layers and different materials in greater quantities.

2. Preparing for the Prototyping Process
To submit your design for prototyping or to obtain a quote for PCB prototype services, you'll need to prepare some information about your design. In general, more details are better — this will help you get the results you want. Here's some information you should include:
• The number of layers you need
• Board thickness
• Board dimensions
• Copper thickness and weight
• Minimum tracing and spacing
• Minimum hole size
• Minimum annular ring
• Surface finish
• Soldermask and color
• Silkscreen legend and color
• Drill file NC Excellon
• Drill file tool list

You can submit your design files using various software titles. We will convert the file to Gerber RS-274X that is the optimal file type. If we are converting your file to RS-247X, be sure to include positive Gerber layers, an NC Excellon drill file, a drill tool list and information on the aperture, soldermask and silkscreen.

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