History of PCB Board Design

PCB Board Design

History of PCB Board Design

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are an essential part of modern electronics. They offer a robust, reliable and economical way to connect electronic components. In this blog post, we will explore the history of PCB design, from its beginnings to the complex designs of today.

PCB Board DesignPCB Board Design

The earliest PCBs Boards design

The early 20th century saw the development of simple single-sided designs for printed circuit boards. Radio receivers, which were becoming increasingly popular at the time, first used them. Bakelite, a resin commonly used in electrical insulation, was the material used to make these first printed circuit boards. Manufacturers drilled holes into the boards to accommodate the electronic components and then laid out the copper tracks by hand using conductive ink. An insulating layer was then applied to protect the tracks and components.

The first double-sided PCB Boards design

The US Army developed the first double-sided circuit board in the early 1940s. They used it near the fuse of anti-aircraft missiles. The board had brass traces on both sides, and it attached holes drilled through it. This feature allowed engineers to develop more complex circuits in a smaller footprint, making them ideal for military applications.

PCBs commercial applications

Commercial applications widely used printed circuit boards in the 1950s.The substrate material commonly used fiberglass, and manufacturers made the plates through photolithography.To create the desired circuit pattern, manufacturers covered the substrate with a photosensitive layer, exposed it through a mask, and developed the substrate.Manufacturers then used an etching process to remove excess copper, leaving only the desired traces and pads.

The development of multi-layer PCBs

By the 1960s, the use of computers for PCB design was widespread. This allowed more complex designs to be developed, and the use of surface mount components became popular. These types of components allowed the creation of higher density circuits, leading to the development of multilayer printed circuit boards. These boards had multiple layers of copper separated by layers of insulation and were connected by vias – small holes drilled through the board, allowing the copper between the layers to be connected.

PCB layout software began to emerge

In the 1980s, surface mount technology became the standard for electronic components. This allowed for even more compact designs, which required even more advanced PCB layouts. The use of computer-aided design (CAD) tools became essential for developing these designs, and PCB layout software began to emerge.


Today, PCB design has become an art form in itself. With the development of 3D printing, it is now possible to create complex PCB designs with a level of precision not previously possible. Advanced printed circuit board design software is now available that allows designers to easily create complex circuits, and the use of virtual reality tools can even simulate circuit operation.

In conclusion, the history of PCB design has been a journey of innovation and progress. From the first single-sided Bakelite boards to today’s complex multilayer designs, printed circuit boards have played a vital role in the development of modern electronics. With the continuous development of technology, we can expect even more advanced and complex designs in the future.


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