PCB Design and Assembly

There are many  computer tools for PCB design,  Engineering Services primarily provides support for: Altium Designer and Multisim-Ultiboard - tools that are available to students within the department.

Information regarding Altium Designer can be found at the following links:

  1. Altium wiki
    • http://techdocs.altium.com/
      The Altium wiki is a very powerful resource  that offers documentation, tutorials, libraries, as well as sample PCB schematic and footprint files.
  2. Engineering Services - Robertos' lecture slides for ELEC391
  3. Engineering Services - Andy's Altium 14 quick guide
    • Altium 14 - quick guide
      The short and simple guide is meant to point out useful notes or key features that some users may be unaware of. The guide is for new users of Altium but students that have had prior experience with the software will benefit more from this guide. More comprehensive guides exist online.

PCBs fabricated in an undergraduate course will often have an Engineering Services member that will handle orders to PCB manufacturers - check if this is the case for your course; you can do so at the "Current Course Support" page on this site. If the PCB submissions for your course are handled through Engineering Services, please send your appropriate course contact all of your design files in a .zip folder.

If submitting Altium CAM files to PCB manufacturers, it is recommended that you prepare a .zip file with the following included within:

  • .DRR file (Drill report)
  • .TXT file  (Drill file)
  • All relevant PCB layers, *.GTL file (Gerber files)

Different manufacturers have different fabrication requirements and capabilities, e.g., minimum trace widths or maximum number of layers. It is recommended that you be aware of a manufacturer's file requirements before you submit your design to them.

Engineering Services can provide assistance with a few PCB fabrication and assembly procedures, ranging from PCB stencil cutting to PCB rework.
In its current state our soldering/re-work facility is not prepared yet to receive bookings or drop ins. Please coordinate with a member of Engineering Services to obtain access.

Stencils are used to transfer a design onto a substrate; they are thin sheets with designs cut out of them, the cut-outs indicate the pattern and location on which to apply a new layer of material on the substrate. When soldering surface mount components with a reflow oven it is common to apply the solder paste using a stencil.

The stencil cutter we possess has a minimum resolution of 0.5mm, allowing the creation of precise 2D cutouts for use in designs. Stencils for surface-mount soldering can be produced by converting a PCB paste gerber file into an image file for the cutter - the conversion could be done at our end, so you only need to submit your Altium paste files to us.

For a two layer PCB in Altium, the top and bottom paste file extensions are:

  • top paste: .GTP file
  • bottom paste: .GBP file

PCB rework is done when a PCB needs slight touches or repairs, and it often involves the movement or replacement of surface-mounted components.

We possess two devices for use in rework:

  • Zephyrtronics ZT-1-CLS-DPU Airbath
  • Weller WR3000M Rework System

We are in the process of acquiring a reflow oven. In the meantime we can help reflow small single sided boards of up to 8"x 8".