The Printed Circuit Designer's Guide to... ™
Executing Complex PCBs

by: Scott Miller, Freedom CAD Services

Designing a complex circuit board today can be a daunting task. Never before have PCB designers on the cutting edge faced more formidable challenges, both electrical and mechanical.

This book, written by Freedom CAD COO Scott Miller, provides a set of guidelines for designing the most complex, high-speed circuit boards. He and his veteran PCB design team share real-world examples that can help designers sharpen their game, from the planning stages and schematic capture through documentation and successful data handoff.

Readers will learn how to design complex boards correctly the first time, on time. This book is a must-read for anyone designing high-speed, sophisticated printed circuit boards.

ISBN: 978-0-9980402-4-0

Scott has spent over 40 years in the electronics industry. His early career focused on the interconnect field of high-performance connectors and printed circuit boards. Scott joined Freedom CAD Services in 2004 after a 20-year career with Teradyne Connection Systems (now Amphenol TCS) in sales and marketing.

Drawing on his experiences from the high-speed connector and PCB industries, Scott has helped Freedom CAD to develop its services beyond printed circuit board layout to include electrical, mechanical, and signal and power integrity engineering services as well as prototype PCB fulfillment.

Since being founded in 2003 by leaders of some of the industry’s most influential and well-regarded printed circuit board design and engineering firms, Freedom CAD Services has grown to become one of the largest independent printed circuit design service bureaus in North America.

Voted one of the top three companies to work for in New Hampshire, Freedom CAD specializes in the engineering and design of high-performance PCBs for the telecommunications, computer, medical, military/aerospace, industrial, storage, automotive, and consumer markets. Headquartered in Nashua, New Hampshire, the company has satellite design centers in California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Texas.

Freedom CAD designers are well versed in complex, rules-driven, highly constrained, high-speed, analog, power supply, military, medical, and RF design technology, to name a few, utilizing all the well-supported and high-end software suites.

Freedom CAD is ISO 9001:2015 certified as well as ITAR registered with the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and NIST 800-171 compliant for handling Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).

This book has been technically reviewed by the following experts:

Stephen V. Chavez CID/CID+, IPC Designers Council

John R. Watson CID, Legrand North America

Chapter Summaries

  • Chapter 1


    Chapter 1 explains why communication between the designer and fabricator is so important.
  • Chapter 2

    Plan It Before You Design It

    Chapter 2 discusses the importance of planning before even beginning a design.
  • Chapter 3

    More Planning the Layout

    Chapter 3 continues with other areas of pre-layout planning, including design constraints and guidelines.
  • Chapter 4

    The Design Kickoff

    Chapter 4 outlines a variety of elements necessary for a successful design kickoff.
  • Chapter 5

    Design Rules, Simulations, and Analyses

    Chapter 5 addresses several methods for achieving signal and power integrity in a complex design.
  • Chapter 6

    Quality Assurance and Manufacturability

    Chapter 6 highlights processes for building quality and manufacturability into your design.
  • Chapter 7

    Post-layout Processes

    Chapter 7 provides a wrap-up with a look at post-layout sign-off and design finalization.

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Stephen V. Chavez Stephen V. Chavez, CID/CID+, is a member of the IPC Designers Council Executive Board and a lead electrical designer at a large, globally recognized aerospace company. He is an IPC CID+ certified designer and has been involved with the PCB design industry, both domestically and internationally, for over 28 years. Further, Stephen is an IPC CID designer certification instructor (CIT) with EPTAC Corporation and VP of the Phoenix chapter of the IPC Designers Council. He has also been a keynote speaker at several design forums at IPC APEX EXPO and other industry conferences and seminars and has published several industry articles to date.

John R. Watson John R. Watson, CID, has worked in the PCB design field for nearly 20 years. In that time, he has held almost every position available. As the senior PCB engineer, John leads a team of 50+ designers in multiple divisions spanning the world in the Building Control Division of Legrand North America. Although he is a highly sought out speaker and writer, John’s passion still lies with mentoring and teaching, especially young people.