‘In the past’ we, as electronics enthusiasts, frequently made our own printed circuit boards in our etching baths. However, we observe that this habit is becoming increasingly less frequent. Many are no longer that fond of those 'dirty chemicals' and have moved on to so-called ‘proto service’ services: professional PCB manufacturers who offer a 'pool', where for a reasonable price you can tag along with their regular production and therefore receive a professionally manufactured printed circuit board.

The PCB Proto service which Eurocircuits – an Elektor preferred supplier – offers, has an extensive range of options for this. You can use the Price calculator to show you what the price will be, based on the desired printed circuit board characteristics and speed at which you would like to receive your circuit board. A 4-layer board is of course more expensive than a 2-layer board and the dimensions also have an impact. And if you want a gold or silver finish then this will cost more than a standard HAL Leadfree finish. In this case the program will switch to the Standard Pool, where you can have your PCB manufactured completely according to your wishes and there is no need to make any concessions.

You will find a very handy and useful function behind the button Analyse your data. You simply upload your data in Gerber- or Eagle (v6)-format and check it practically immediately with the PCB Visualizer. This online program shows you where there may be potential problems and whether your data has been interpreted correctly by the software for the production machines. In this way you have instant feedback whether your circuit board has been designed correctly and you prevent nasty surprises afterwards. Naturally, your circuit board is also checked manually by a specialist for potential problems before production.

The PCB Visualizer also allows you to make changes to the assembly of the circuit board. For example, you can determine the color of the solder mask and the thickness of the circuit board and copper layers. You can even use the PCB Pixture technology, where you can have an image printed on the circuit board.