Printed Circuit Boards

Chapter 5: Artwork Generation

5.1 What is Artwork?

Artwork is basically a manufacturing tool used in fabricating printed wiring because it uniquely defines the pattern to be placed on the board. Artwork displays only those items that have to be generated as copper patterns in the manufacture of the PCB. Therefore, the artwork will necessarily include solder pads, lands and conductors true to scale in respect of their dimensions, but shown at the scaled level. In addition, the artwork will also show lines that represent the boundary of the board.

Since the artwork is the first step of the PCB manufacturing process, it has a great influence on the final product. Obviously, the final product can only approach the quality and accuracy of that of the artwork. The generation of artwork to the requisite sophistication is highly dependent upon the area (board size) and accuracy. Therefore, the importance of a perfect artwork should not be underestimated. Problems like inaccurate registration, broken annular rings or too critical a spacing observed on the PCBs often occur due to bad artwork. Developing a clean and exact artwork necessitates skills and patience on the part of the personnel entrusted with the task.

5.2 Basic Approach to Manual Artwork

Artwork generation for single-sided boards is a straightforward exercise, whereas preparing artwork for double-sided printed circuit boards, leads to a problem in securing accurate registration between the two sides.

Correct and accurate registration is of great importance in multi-layer boards also where shorting between layers may occur because of improper...


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