Printed circuit boards have an interesting history, which is longer than most might think. What started out as multiple layers of flat foil conductors laminated to an insulating board eventually became the printed circuit boards we recognize today. As printed circuit boards are found in almost every electronic device from a pager to sophisticated radar, it’s fascinating to see some of where the technology originated.
Albert Hanson a German inventor discussed layered insulating board with flat-foil conductors. Thomas Edison used chemical means to plate conductors onto linen paper. The print-and-etch method was developed by Arthur Barry. The printed circuit was invented 1936 by Paul Eisler to fix a radio set. Printed circuit boards became important to the USA during World War II 1943 to make proximity fuses.
The method of assembly changed from through-hole construction 1950s, where wire leads were passed through holes and soldered to the PCB trace to Auto-assembly. Auto-assembly had leads inserted into an interconnection pattern of copper foil and dip soldered. Then Printed circuit boards became more common in consumer electronics.
Now surface mount parts have gained popularity as electronic devices get smaller. The price of printed circuit boards can change based on several factors. For cheap PCB manufacturing, equipment needs to be in order to process boards on schedule. A long cycle board throws off the efficiency of a board fitting a profile.
Expect the price to increase if your profiles need more than normal holes drilled. Also, if the routing of your board needs extra cut-outs, the price will add up. Finally if your boards take longer than average to test, it’s going to cost you.
While, holes, routing and testing are all fair reasons for the price to increase, be sure to have the expense clearly explained to you. In some cases boards can be stacked. So, you shouldn’t have to pay for 200 boards that each take 20 minutes, if the boards can be stacked 3 high.