December 27, 1965 Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Electronics,
published 1930 - 1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Raise your hand if you're old
enough to remember doing printed circuit board (PCB) layout using Rubylith tape. My
hand is up. Back in the early 1980s, I did prototype PCB designs in an engineering
development lab at Westinghouse Electric's Oceanic Division (Annapolis, Maryland).
Most of it was for analog and RF substrates that would be photographically reduced in
size for use with bare integrated circuit (IC) die and surface mount passive
components (Rs, Ls, and Cs), upon which I would later epoxy-mount those components
and wire-bond everything using 1−mil gold wire. However, there were projects
where full-size leaded components were used on a through-hole PCB that used not only
the Rubylith tapes but also sheets with special electronics shapes for solder pads
around the holes for components leads, ground and power planes, board-edge
connectors, turrets, etc. Computer-aided PCB layout was in its infancy at the time,
and the proprietary software used for commercial operations ran on a mainframe. I do
remember, though, sometime around 1985 using some really clunky PCB layout software
on an IBM XT, but never actually produced a board from it. I don't remember the name
of the software.
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Posted December 18, 2018