Printed Circuit Boards – PCB
Today hobbyist and small businesses have access to PCB features and pricing that had previously been available only in larger quantities. Combined with today’s powerful CAD Programs, a user can: research, design, lay out, upload and purchase PCB’s using an ordinary laptop or PC.
Manual Routing vs. Autorouting
Just as the CAD program is a tool, the autorouter is a tool within, and there are different levels of comfort and practicality based on a user’s needs and experience.
Sometimes the quality of the autorouter determines usability, if the autorouter can’t complete or makes poor decsions and routes then the user has no choice. Often the statement that hand routing is better or mandatory indicates exposure to a lesser level of autorouter.
As I tend to use FPGA’s and other semi-dense designs were there is often a need to do a significant reroute based on FPGA pin changes due to its internal routing.
If I am ever headed for production where productivity requirements are paramount and advanced techniques like controlled impedance or very small design rules are needed I hand the PCB design off to a professional, in my case Fisher PCB The owner “Fish” has been doing PCB’s since the days of hand taping in the 1980’s and was employed by companies such as Commodore Business Machines.
Currently I use one of three PCB fabrication houses, each with varying attributes and values.
OSHPark at www.oshpark.com
PCBWay at www.pcbway.com/b
PCB-POOL at www.PCB-Pool.com
Gold Pheonix at www.goldphoenixpcb.com