Printed circuit boards are packed with different features and elements that make their design and functionality unique for their particular application. In this post we list key printed circuit board design terms that are commonly used in the electronic design industry. For a complete list of printed circuit board design and manufacturing terms, please visit our online Glossary.
Advanced Circuits offers many free tools and resources to help you understand the different PCB fabrication capabilities, tolerances, ordering process, and more. Click the links below to find our PCB design resources:
- PCB Artist – Free PCB Design Software
- FreeDFM – Free Gerber File Check Tool
- Complete PCB Capabilities List
- PCB Engineering/CAM Resources
PCB Design & Fabrication Terms
Annular Ring – That portion of conductive material completely surrounding a hole.
Array – A group of elements or circuits arranged in rows and columns on a base material.
DRC – The acronym in the circuit board design and fabrication industry stands for “Design Rule Check”. Similar to DFM which stands for “Design For Manufacturing”.
Finger – A gold-plated terminal of a card-edge connector. (Derived from its shape.)
Mouse Bites – These are also known as perforated brake-away tabs in printed circuit boards and are an alternative to v-scoring.
Pad – The exposed metal on a printed circuit board design that is intended to connect a component.
Panel – Material (most commonly an epoxy- copper laminate known as FR-4) sized for fabrication of printed circuit boards. The standard size at Advanced Circuits is 18″ x 24″.
Paste Stencil – Stencils ensure the right amount of solder paste is applied to achieve optimal electrical connections. See why Advanced Circuits’ stencils can help you apply the exact amount of solder paste to your printed circuit boards.
Pick and Place – The machine used to automatically place components on a printed circuit board. This process is also known as SMT which stands for “Surface Mount Technology”. Review our full list of PCB assembly capabilities to learn more.
Plane – Also known as a copper pour. Rather than copper in the form of a path or trace, a Plane is a continuous area of copper in a printed circuit board design.
Plated Thru Hole – A hole in a PWB with metal plating added after it is drilled. Its purpose is to serve either as a contact point for a through-hole component or as a via.
Silkscreen – The decals and reference designators in epoxy ink on a printed wiring board so called because of the method of application – the ink is “squeegeed” through a silk screen, the same technique used in the printed of T-shirts. Minimum line width at ACI for silkscreen is .008. Also called “silkscreen legend”.
Slot – Elongated holes in the circuit board that may be plated or non-plated.
Trace – A continuous path of copper on a printed circuit board that is the equivalent of a wire for conducting signals.
V-Score – A v-shaped groove cut into both the top and bottom of the boards for break-a-way.
To view our complete online glossary of printed circuit board design and fabrication terms, click here.