Designing a printed circuit board used to just be all about the functionality - does it do what it’s supposed to? But now there’s a new tre...
Designing a printed circuit board used to just be all about the functionality - does it do what it’s supposed to? But now there’s a new trend in design which is to create PCB art at the same time.
What is PCB Art, and why is it suddenly a trend that circuit boards designers are eager to try out for themselves? Let’s find out.
Not Everything Has to Be All About the Functionality
While taking a schematic approach makes complete sense to arrive at a final PCB design that provides the exact functionality that’s required, that’s not the only priority.
Certainly, with business projects, that’s the case where time is money. However, the beauty of working with PCBs is that there are plenty of people who enjoy designing printed circuit boards using software solutions and then seeing them turned into reality. They actually get a kick out of their ability to create something functional in the virtual world and then it becomes real. Often, their jobs don’t deliver this kind of satisfaction.
Fun Projects to Serve a Purpose
While business PCB projects are often strictly about getting the correct board designed and produced in the shortest time possible, people who like to tinker with their designs have other ideas. Sometimes, many of them!
As a result of the playful nature of some PCB designers and the tendency for people who work with technology to have an excellent sense of humor, it was almost inevitable that they would find a way to make PCBs fun. Whether that’s with a dancing robot in a PCB design or something else equally quirky, it’s all possible.
Affordability Makes PCB Art Accessible
Once a design has been perfected both functionally and artistically, a designer can order a board to be manufactured to that design.
The affordability of printing now means a board might be only a few dollars printed as a batch. For designers with deeper pockets, they can even purchase their own CNC machine and a silk screen to knock out new boards whenever they please. Doing this adds to the cost considerably, but makes the production turnaround time much faster.
A trend within the trend is to create PCB art that is ideal for gifts. While the average person probably wouldn’t appreciate or get the joke with an interesting circuit board design, a techie surely will.
Buying an ideal gift for a die-hard techie is notoriously difficult. They’re usually early adopters and have everything they want already. This leaves coming up with something interesting, new and different that they’d never expect. PCB art certainly qualifies, especially if the designer can tap into their fellow techie’s personal tastes and produce something particularly memorable for them.
The growth in PCB art is likely to stick around for many years now that designers are exploring it. The easy access with using software tools and the small sticker price to get a PCB board made makes it a very accessible hobby. And once they start, it’s hard to resist designing a new board when a cool idea strikes!