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Irregular Circuit Board Shapes

Key Takeaways

  • Circuit board shape and size vary with the enclosures available. 

  • Cost-effectiveness must be considered when designing PCBs with irregular shapes.

  • In most irregularly shaped PCBs, the slots or cut-outs are opened to connect the PCB to other boards or components.

Circuit board shape

Circuit board shapes other than rectangles and circles are regarded as irregular

Circuit board shapes other than rectangles and circles are considered irregular. With the advanced technologies and circuit design practices available today, you can design these irregularly shaped boards fairly quickly. Slots or openings in the circuit board may be included to incorporate components and utilize the space efficiently. 

Circuit Board Shapes

Circuit board shapes are designed so that they fit the components perfectly in the layout. The integration of the component into the circuit and vice versa must be seamless. This sometimes requires the boards to be a shape other than circular or rectangular. The circuit board shape and size vary with the enclosures available. Custom shapes enable space-saving, easy integration, and solid connections.

regular circuit board shape

Conventional Circuit Board Shapes

The standard PCB shapes are rectangular or circular. Rectangular and round PCBs provide more surface area. In the case of rectangular PCB boards, the dimensions are given by measuring the length and breadth of the shape. The standard radius of the corners of the circuit or circle is provided as the measurement for curved PCBs and round PCBs, respectively. 

When it comes to maximizing the area, the best shape is a rectangle. However, to fit precisely into an enclosure or to completely integrate with irregularly shaped electrical components, irregularly shaped PCBs are designed. The irregularly shaped PCBs have no advantages or disadvantages compared to conventional circuit board shapes.

Why Use Irregular Circuit Boards?

For example, consider wearables, sensors, game controllers, etc. Most of these handheld devices are not square or circular. If we designed conventional PCBs for these devices, it would lead to poor engineering.

Now, technology has advanced enough for us to produce unique circuit board shapes matching the casing, enclosure, or base shape of the device. The routing process has also improved significantly so that it is not a Herculean task to route unconventional paths. Cost-effectiveness is also an aspect of designing PCBs with irregular shapes, as the incorporation of regular PCB shapes may lead to product redesign due to poor integration.

In most irregular PCBs, the slots or cut-outs are opened to connect the PCB to other boards or components, or to any device. These holes can be plated or non-plated depending on the application.

Common Irregular Circuit Board Shapes 

Some irregularly shaped boards are seen in computers, which include the motherboard and plug-in boards. Other irregular board shapes include L-shaped boards, thin boards in the shape of enclosures seen in wearables, watches, smart TVs, and huge power boards in industries that come in interface panels.

Designing irregular circuit board shapes, especially with slots and cut-outs, requires attention and time. The complexity of irregularly shaped circuit board designs increases their manufacturing costs and lead time. However, with Cadence PCB design software, you can create quality irregular circuit board shapes while remaining within your budget and on track to meet your deadlines.

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