Circuit boards come in all shapes, sizes and colors. There are many reasons why you might want to swap the standard green boards for something more exciting. It might be to simply make your projects stand out more.
Dangerous prototypes are quickly identified by their bright red color, genuine Arduinos are always blue and the Lilypad is a lovely lilac.
There are also functional reasons. A white board could make the reflection from a mounted LED more color neutral, while a black board mounted in a translucent acrylic enclosure would be barely noticeable from the outside.
Similar to the different colors, PCBs also come in varying thicknesses. A thinner board is lighter while a thicker board is more robust. Sometimes the necessary thickness is determined by other factors, but often you can choose from a range of options.
From left to right: 0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.6 mm, 1.6 mm, 2.0 mm
To help me select a nice color and appropriate thickness, I’ve made a set of PCB samples in seven different colors (white, yellow, blue, green, purple, red, black), six different thicknesses (0.6 mm, 0.8 mm, 1.0 mm, 1.2 mm, 1.6 mm, 2.0 mm) and two different surface finishes (HASL, ENIG).
The boards are approximately 22 mm x 22 mm (900 mil x 900 mil), this way you can fit four of them on a standard 5 cm x 5 cm prototype board and still have some room to cut them apart.
The top side of each board is similar
The front side is the same for all boards. On the left hand side there are 6 vias ranging in diameter from 0.4 mm to 1.0 mm. In the center is a description of the thickness, color, surface finish and the contents of the reverse side. Part of this text is on the raw PCB substrate and part is on a copper pour. Next to it is the justgeek.de logo in exposed copper.
The bottom part consists of a simple example circuit. It is a basic Flip-Flop, made out of 2 transistors and 4 resistors.
The basic flip flop circuit
The back of the boards differs for each color. I took inspiration from the silkscreen reference board and tried to include some useful examples of common PCB design situations.
0.6 mm white
The white board has examples of silkscreen lines of different width.
different line widths
0.8 mm yellow
The yellow board has examples of text in different sizes with a ratio of text height to line width of 8%.
1.0 mm blue
The blue board is similar to the yellow one, except that the text ratio is 15%.
1.2 mm green
The green board has examples of various silkscreen variations.
1.6 mm purple
This is the standard OSH Park configuration. The surface finish is ENIG (Electorless Nickel Imersion Gold) and the reverse has examples of different SMD pitches and BGA grids.
1.6 mm red
The red board shows examples of different SMD diode packages.
2.0 mm black
The black board has an ENIG finish as well. The reverse shows the most common SMD resistor and capacitor sizes. On the left is a standard footprint for the sizes, while on the right is an outline of the actual component size.
resistor and capacitor sizes
While I have used most board colors at some point or the other, I was surprised by the stark difference in “opacity”. On the black and white boards, there is almost no visual difference between copper filled areas and empty parts, tracing the connections in the example circuit is quite hard. The yellow board on the other hand has such a stark difference that I would probably use excessive copper pours just for aesthetic purposes.
For size comparison with a 2 Euro coin and an ATTiny45
Since the minimum order was about 40 pieces of each color, I have a few sets left over, which I’ve put up in my tindie store.
The boards prior to seperation, only the lilac boards from OSH park came precut.
Gerber files for the 2 x 2 panels
Gerber files for the individual boards