PCBs as Front Panels ?

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elmegil
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by elmegil » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:38 pm

bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:58 pm
elmegil wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:03 pm
a panel doesn't require metallic highlights.
And a gift doesn't require a bow. And a sundae doesn't require a cherry.

I mean, why would people want anything besides a square of aluminum with sharpie on it? All you need is labels after all.
OH NOES IT'S SO TERRIBLE YOU CAN'T MAKE A PCB PANEL WITH ENIG WITH OUT SPENDING MONEY.

I mean, seriously. Either you want the look, and you're willing and able to pay for it, or you want to save money, so why agonize over the cost of ENIG?

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bgreeves
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:01 pm

I don't think anyone here is shocked that it costs more to get ENIG. Do you fault them for wanting to save as much money as possible?

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elmegil
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by elmegil » Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:53 am

Maybe we're just reading different conversations.

I saw people saying they were having difficulty figuring out why PCB panels were costing so much at JLC, which then turned into discussion of ENIG vs HASL.

If cost is your primary concern, you don't need metal. Am I wrong?

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sun Feb 14, 2021 6:06 am

elmegil wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:38 pm
OH NOES IT'S SO TERRIBLE YOU CAN'T MAKE A PCB PANEL WITH ENIG WITH OUT SPENDING MONEY. I mean, seriously. Either you want the look, and you're willing and able to pay for it, or you want to save money, so why agonize over the cost of ENIG? [...] If cost is your primary concern, you don't need metal. Am I wrong?
I'm not agonizing over the cost of ENIG, I do care about the look, I like using metal to decorate my panels, and in fact I clearly said I wasn't considering HASL an option to reduce the cost. Then people just shared some thoughts about surface finishes, remember: the thread is about discussing PCBs as front panels, it's not about me... I'm just trying to learn something by asking more experienced people where costs are. I really don't see what's wrong with that, even if cost is not on top of my list of concerns.

Now it'd be great if we (myself included) could get back writing constructive messages.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by mskala » Sun Feb 14, 2021 8:47 am

I see the difference between HASL and ENIG for a panel PCB as purely cosmetic, but if using HASL I would definitely use lead-free HASL. I don't want lead where the user's fingers go. It's a significantly different situation from circuit boards internal to a piece of equipment, where the person touching it can reasonably be told and expected to wash their hands afterward.
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:46 am

The best reason to use metallic graphics is because they are far more focused on traces than ss at jlc. If alignment and registration are important to you, do that in copper...with or without a coating.

Silkscreen isn't always great from them.

And the gold coating seems harder because it's thinner. It also won't oxidize (tarnish) over time, the way a HASL coating will. Besides, who doesn't like black and gold?
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by TechnoPrisoner » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:18 am

What a great thread, lots of useful info ,thank you all for contributing !

I have a few questions since I am a beginner with building pcb panels.
I work with KiCad and I just want a simple FR4 black panel with some holes and some text printed on it, so far I have read that I should cover with copper both layers, the text will be on the Top panel, so I only need to "fill" information on KiCad on the these layers Front Copper,Bottom Copper,F.Silc and Edge.Cuts ,right or wrong ? The rest of the layers will be included in the gerber files but I don't need to add any info there,right ?

Please confirm and thank you !

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:41 pm

TechnoPrisoner wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:18 am
What a great thread, lots of useful info ,thank you all for contributing !

I have a few questions since I am a beginner with building pcb panels.
I work with KiCad and I just want a simple FR4 black panel with some holes and some text printed on it, so far I have read that I should cover with copper both layers, the text will be on the Top panel, so I only need to "fill" information on KiCad on the these layers Front Copper,Bottom Copper,F.Silc and Edge.Cuts ,right or wrong ? The rest of the layers will be included in the gerber files but I don't need to add any info there,right ?

Please confirm and thank you !
I'm having a hard time understanding exactly what you're asking, but I think you've got it all right:
  • Set up the panel outline on the Edge.Cuts layer
  • Add NPTH pads for your holes (there's a few built-in footprints called like Mounting_Hole that you can use, and you can manually edit the hole sizes after placing them)
  • Add text to F.SilkS
  • Add two fill zones, one on F.Cu and one on B.Cu
  • Bob's yer uncle

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