The History of PCB prototyping assembly

In PCB Blog

Rapid PCB prototyping assembly is a revolutionary and powerful technology with wide range of applications. The process of PCB prototyping assembly involves quick building up a PCB prototype or working model for the purpose of testing the various design features, ideas, concepts, functionality and performance. The user is able to give immediate feedback regarding the PCB prototype and its performance. PCB prototyping assembly is essential part of the process of system designing and it is believed to be quite beneficial as far as reduction of project cost and risk are concerned.

Rapid PCB prototyping assembly is known by many terms as per the technologies involved, like SFF or solid freeform fabrication, FF or freeform fabrication, digital fabrication, AFF or automated freeform fabrication, 3D printing, solid imaging, layer-based manufacturing, laser prototyping and additive manufacturing.

The history of rapid PCB prototyping assembly can be traced to the late sixties, when an engineering professor, Herbert Voelcker, questioned himself about the possibilities of doing interesting things with the computer controlled and automatic machine tools. These machine tools had just started to appear on the factory floors then. Voelcker was trying to find a way in which the automated machine tools could be programmed by using the output of a PCB prototyping assembly program of a computer.

Rapid PCB prototyping assembly

PCB prototyping assembly

Voelcker developed the basic tools of mathematics that clearly describe the three dimensional aspects and resulted in the earliest theories of algorithmic and mathematical theories for solid modeling. These theories form the basis of modern computer programs that are used for designing almost all things mechanical. Volecker’s theories changed the designing methods in the seventies, but, the old methods for designing were still use. The old method involved either a machinist or machine tool controlled by a PCB prototyping assembly computer.

However, in 1987, Carl Deckard, a researcher form the University of Texas, came up with a good revolutionary idea. He printed 3D models by utilizing laser light for fusing metal powder in solid prototypes, single layer at a time. He pioneered the layer based manufacturing, wherein he thought of building up the model layer by layer. The results of this technique were extremely promising. The history of rapid pcb prototyping assembly is quite new and recent. However, as this technique of rapid prototyping has such wide ranging scope and applications with amazing results, it has grown by leaps and bounds.

It has revolutionized the designing and manufacturing processes. Since Voelcker’s and Deckard’s stunning findings, innovations and researches have given extreme impetus to this significant new industry known as rapid PCB prototyping assembly or free form PCB fabrication.

Though, there are many references of people pioneering the rapid prototyping technology, the industry gives recognition to Charles Hull for the patent of Apparatus for Production of 3D Objects.

Present-day Rapid PCB Prototyping assembly: Today, the computer engineer has to simply sketch the ideas on the computer screen with the help of a design program that is computer aided. Computer aided designing allows to make modification as required and you can create a physical prototype that is a precise and proper 3D object.


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