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Optimizing Your PCB Design: The Advantages of Half-Hole Fabrication

Optimizing Your PCB Design: The Advantages of Half-Hole Fabrication

Half-hole PCB fabrication, also known as castellated holes or castellations, involves creating partially drilled holes on the edge of a printed circuit board (PCB). These half holes are used for various purposes, including making connections between the PCB and other components or PCBs. Here’s an overview of half-hole PCB fabrication:

Half-hole PCB


  1. Component Mounting: Half holes are often used to mount components like surface-mount devices (SMDs) on the edge of a PCB. These components can then be soldered to the PCB or other circuit boards, providing a secure and reliable connection.
  2. Interconnection: Half holes can be used for interconnecting multiple PCBs in a stack-up or for creating connections between layers of a multi-layer PCB. This can be useful in applications where space is limited or where you need to connect different parts of a circuit.

Fabrication Process:

  1. Design: The first step in half-hole PCB fabrication is designing the PCB layout to include the half holes where needed. The size, shape, and spacing of the half holes should match the requirements of the components or interconnections.
  2. Drilling: During the manufacturing process, after the PCB has been fabricated and laminated, a drilling machine is used to create half holes on the edge of the board. The drilling process leaves the holes partially drilled, with a flat or slotted bottom and a plated sidewall.
  3. Plating: After drilling, the half holes are typically plated with a layer of copper to ensure electrical connectivity and to provide a surface for soldering. This copper plating is often followed by a layer of tin or other finish for better solderability.
  4. Assembly: Components or other PCBs can then be mounted onto the half holes and soldered in place, forming a secure electrical connection.

Considerations for Half-Hole PCB Fabrication:

  1. Design Considerations: Ensure that your PCB design includes the appropriate size and spacing for the half holes based on your component or interconnection requirements.
  2. Material Selection: Select the right PCB material for your application, considering factors like thermal properties, electrical characteristics, and mechanical strength.
  3. Drilling Accuracy: Precise drilling is essential to ensure that the half holes match the component or connection requirements accurately.
  4. Plating Quality: High-quality plating is crucial to ensure good electrical conductivity and solderability. Properly plated half holes will also resist corrosion.
  5. Soldering Process: Ensure that your soldering process is well-controlled to avoid overheating and damaging the PCB or components.
  6. Testing: Conduct thorough testing of the assembled PCB to verify the integrity of the half-hole connections and the overall functionality of the circuit.

Half-hole PCB fabrication can be a valuable technique when you need to mount components or create interconnections in a space-efficient and reliable manner. It’s commonly used in applications like module integration, RF circuits, and IoT devices where miniaturization and efficient use of PCB real estate are essential.

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