Getting Ready to Route

Before you route your first trace, you have to do some preparation work.  This book discusses stack setup, part placement, and via creation.

1. Create a Layer Stack

Before you begin to design your board, you need to decide whether or not you are going to make a 2-layer or a 4 layer board.  You do not need to worry about what dielectric materials will make us the body of your board, and you do not need to worry about the copper thickness.  Any dielectric material, any thickness and any copper weight in the range of 0.5 oz / 1 oz copper will be fine.  In fact, you will save money by letting your fab house choose the materials used to make your board.

2-Layer Stack

This is the cheapest & fastest option.  2 layer boards can be made and shipped in a day.  You'll find these boards off-shore for ~$0.30 per square inch and on-shore for ~$3 to $5 per square inch.  

4-Layer Stack

Use this option if you want to use one layer of copper for surface artwork, since the turn-times are longer and the cost is higher.  The cost of off-shore manufacture is approximate $1 per square inch and on-shore manufacture is around $10 per square inch.

Select a Layer Stack

Decide whether you want to create an inexpensive 2-layer board or a more expensive 4-layer board.  Then choose a stackup from the samples provided by your EDA software or from your chosen fabrication house.  As long as you find a functioning 2 or 4 layer stack, it doesn't really matter what you choose since we will not be transmitting this information to our fabricators.  The only reason you should choose a 4-layer board is because you want to create copper artwork on the outer layers.

DipTrace 4-Layer Stack

An example board stack from DipTrace.  A 4-layer board of this thickness might have additional cost adders associated with it.