What is a Blank Printed Circuit Board and How to Make It
Fri, Aug 26, 2022
What is a blank PCB? And bare PCB, naked PCB, and PCBA? That's easy to answer - a blank PCB, bare PCB, or empty PCB, is a printed circuit board without electronic components, a naked PCB is a simple PCB without solder masks, and a PCBA is a PCB mounted with all intended electronic components.
However, you may want to know more about blank printed circuit boards. And this article reveals everything about blank PCBs from the below content.
Part 1: Introduction of Blank PCBs
A blank PCB, also called bare PCB or empty PCB, is an electronic board laminated in layers made from epoxy fiberglass, copper foil, and PCB inks.
A blank printed circuit board has a substrate sheet, copper traces, non-conductive prepreg or polymer layers between the copper traces, and solder masks. The copper traces in different layers are connected by copper-filled holes.
If the PCB substrate is not FR4, the blank printed circuit board materials also include aluminum, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), aluminum nitride (AlN), aluminum oxide (alumina), polyimide (PI), polyester (PET), and glass.
Part 2: Types of Blank Printed Circuit Boards
All types of blank printed circuit boards are listed below for your reference.
FR4 PCBs are the most common blank PCBs. FR4 is not a material but stands for flame retardant level-4. An FR4 PCB is in fact an epoxy fiberglass PCB with the 4th flame retardant level. The prepreg layers between the copper layers are also epoxy fiberglass but are half-cured.
FR4 blank PCBs are easy to fabricate. When you get a PCB online quote, you will find that FR4 PCBs are cheaper than other PCBs in the same layer number with the same circuit complexity.
Metal core PCB
Metal core PCBs include aluminum PCBs and copper core PCBs. The metal PCB substrate has a much better thermal conductivity than the FR4 core, and metal core PCBs are mainly used for LED lighting and other power applications.
All MCPCBs use dielectric to insulate the metal core and the copper circuit layers. In fact, it is mainly the dielectric that decides the MCPCB thermal conductivity. For copper core PCBs, the manufacturer PCBONLINE can achieve thermoelectric separation, and the PCB thermal conductivity can reach 398W/mK.
Flexible PCB and rigid-flex PCB
Flexible PCBs and rigid-flex PCBs are PI or PET-based blank PCBs that can bend. Rigid-flex PCBs are special flexible PCBs because their flex section is laminated with FR4 PCB layers.
The copper foil used for flexible PCBs is RA or ED copper, and for rigid-flex PCBs, it is only RA copper. Between the PI films and copper foil is the adhesive.
A high-frequency PCB is also a high-speed and RF microwave PCB. It is a PTFE-based blank PCB that transmits and receives high-frequency signals. High-frequency PCBs can be used for antennas, radars, anti-collision systems, GPS, smartphones, missile systems, etc.
The thermal expansion and contraction (CTE) of the PTFE material can seriously affect the high-frequency PCB performances, and we expect the thermal expansion to be as small as possible. The PCB manufacturer PCBONLINE grasps the core technology to minimize the expansion and contraction of high-frequency PCBs, and you can contact PCBONLINE for high-frequency PCBs.
AlN PCB and alumina PCB
AlN and alumina are two types of ceramic materials and have great thermal conductivity. AlN has a small CTE close to that of semiconductors, so AlN PCBs are currently the best PCBs for ICs.
AlN PCBs and alumina PCBs can be used for high-power LED lighting, laser electronics, automotive sensors, etc.
Besides ceramic PCBs, you can also consider glass substrate PCBs, which also have a good thermal expansion, and are transparent.
Part 3: Blank PCB Board Price and Where to Buy
You can have blank printed circuit boards manufactured from the one-stop PCB fabricator PCBONLINE. In this fourth quarter of 2022, PCBONLINE releases new prices - a 35% discount for bulk PCB fabrication and a 15% discount for PCBA manufacturing.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to activate this discount for your blank PCB project and get a quote.
If your PCB is FR4 or aluminum PCB, you can check out the blank PCB price online on PCBONLINE's online quote system. If your PCB is not FR4 or aluminum PCB, you will still need to email PCBONLINE to get a quote.
Here's how to check out the blank PCB board price online.
Go to https://sys.pcbonline.com/instant-quote, input the size and quantity of your PCB, choose your PCB specifications from the drop-down options, and choose the lead-time for fabricating your PCB. The online PCB price calculator shows the subsidy and estimated blank PCB price.
By working with PCBONLINE for blank printed circuit boards, you can enjoy these advantages:
- Custom blank PCB fabrication without a quantity limit from prototype to bulk production.
- One-stop PCB design, manufacturing, assembly, and post-assembly services.
- Strong blank PCB manufacturing capabilities from 1 to up to 60 layers, copper thickness from 1/3oz to up to 14oz.
- High-quality blank PCB and PCB assembly certified with ISO 9001-2015, IATF 16949, IPC, REACH, RoHS, and UL.
- Free one-on-one engineering support throughout your PCB/PCBA project.
- You can enjoy a 35% price off for bulk blank PCB fabrication and a 15% price off for PCB assembly in the coming fourth quarter of 2023.
Part 4: How to Make Your Blank PCBs
How to make your blank PCBs? You will need to design your PCB and ask the PCB manufacturer to fabricate the boards.
Designing a PCB layout follows these rules, including separating analog and clock signals, keeping the line angles larger than 135°, keeping the same line width in the same network, making the lines as short as possible, etc.
When you complete the PCB design, remember the PCB design for manufacturing (DFM). You will need to make sure the PCB has an even impedance, small electromagnetic interference, and manufacturability.
PCBONLINE provides free PCB DFM and PCBA DFA for its customers. If you need DFM, contact PCBONLINE to help you.
When receiving your Gerber, the manufacturer PCBONLINE checks your Gerber and gives you a quote.
PCBONLINE has two large advanced PCB manufacturing bases and one PCB assembly factory. You can check out the flexible PCB manufacturing process, aluminum PCB manufacturing, ceramic PCB manufacturing, and four-layer PCB manufacturing from our previous articles.
If you want to mount electronic components on blank PCBs, you can also let PCBONLINE assemble the PCBs. We can also provide mechanical boxes and box-built assembly if you need them.
Blank printed circuit boards are the basics of all electronics and electrical devices and products. If you have any questions about blank or bare printed circuit boards, such as stackup, layers, copper thicknesses, and laminates, you can chat with us online or send your comments below.
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