3 layer PCB – the ultimate review of features and manufacturing

3 layer PCB – the ultimate review of features and manufacturing

You may infer from the terminology that a 3 layer PCB is composed of three sections. These sections each feature a conductive copper foil. An insulation that has been heat-covered holds the sheets intact. 

3 layer PCBs aren’t common. Nonetheless, they are still vital to the functioning of certain electronic devices. A 3-layer-PCB determines the effectiveness of these equipment. The price is a key factor in the decision to utilize a 3 layer PCB. Compared to other kinds of printed circuit boards, it could be more affordable.

In this article, let’s go into the details of 3 layer PCB, including what is 3 layer PCB, its features, applications and stackup, etc.

Table of Contents

What is a 3 layer PCB?

A printed circuit board with three PCB layers is the basic way to define a three – layered PCB. They are fairly uncommon in the industry since the 4-layer PCB or the 6 and 8 layered PCBs are far more popular alternatives.

3 Layer PCB

However, the fact is that a 3 layer PCB is occasionally required for electrical equipment since a certain component pile is required. This is mostly to achieve a certain desired output or performance. In a few scenarios, the manufacturer just wants a more cost-effective way and avoids using a 4 layer PCB or any other denomination.

There is greater wire surface with multilayer PCB, which is a benefit. The primary benefit of three-layered PCBs is that they provide a respectable amount of detail for a variety of outputs.

Features of a 3 layer PCB

Below are a few characteristics of a 3 layer PCB that should be kept in mind:

  • It features a protective barrier that lessens the interference in the circuitry.
  • It cuts down on the spacing of components of the circuitry.
  • Improves the wiring density.
  • Reduces the path of signal movement or transmission.
  • Brings in the warmth anchoring location, which enhances the performance of the electrical equipment.
  • Reduces probability of breakdown by lowering the number of assembly soldering spots.
  • Significantly reduces the weight of the entire electronic device or machine.
  • Increases the thickness of wiring.

Applications of a 3 layer PCB

There are several applications or methods to utilize a 3 layer PCB. Their compact and featherweight design makes them an ideal pick for different electronic devices. Here are some common applications:


Three layer PCBs are used extensively in computing. Enhanced efficiency and smaller spaces are necessities in the tech business. And by utilizing a 3 layer PCB, you obtain a greater reliability. It boosts the performance at a fraction of the cost.

Industrial Electronics
Commercial devices use 3 layer PCBs because of their longevity. Durability and quality matters more for industrial electronics as compared to consumer electronics. This is due to the constant exposure to intensive vibrations, dust particles, high heat, and too much humidity, among many other harsh environmental factors.

Industrial devices run throughout the day, hence, there’s a lot of stress on internal parts. 3 layer PCBs take on this pressure well.

Healthcare Sector

Healthcare Sector
Additionally a great choice for the healthcare industry are three-layered PCBs. The main features making 3 layer PCBs the perfect choice for medical device applications include featherweight design, small size, and extended lifespan.

X-ray scanners and MRIs are two instances of healthcare devices that employ three-layered PCBs. three-layered PCBs are also necessary for monitoring blood pressure and some other hospital instruments.

Consumer Electronics
Most of the devices at home utilize 3 layer printed circuit boards. Some examples of home electronics that have 3 layer PCBs include smart TVs and communication gadgets. Some kitchen electronic effects also use 3 layer PCBs. Such PCB choices are often preferable due to how they increase the gadgets’ minimalism.

3 layer PCB stackup

Stacking up is basically how a 3 layer PCB is arranged. Some of the rules that ought to be followed include:

  • Transmission strands should be placed close to the internal part for a firmer pairing.
  • The PCB stackup must be equivalent to the innermost sheet’s bottom and outermost surface.
  • There should be space between the supply and grounding levels.
  • Thick micro-strips are the greatest choice for high-speed circuit routing.
  • Avoid placing two signal tiers so near to one another.

3 layer PCB design

Planning is the first stage towards producing a 3 layer PCB. Creating the layout requires the use of a schematic. Those designing 3 layer PCBs use a specific software known as Extended Gaber.

3 Layer PCB Design

This technique is excellent for capturing all the information the developer needs. It has an output and checks every aspect of the 3 layer PCB design for any mistakes before completion of the final outcome.

How to make a 3 layer PCB?

A 3 layer PCB must be manufactured properly for the electrical gadget to work at its best. This multilayered PCB is made using a difficult procedure. When even a single process or stage is omitted, the result will be distorted.

The process of making 3 layer PCBs is computer-assisted and driven by gadgets. This is the best way to ensure there are no mistakes that could lead to an incomplete circuit or a short. After completion, there’s also a need to perform tests before getting to the end-user. Typically, the process involves:

  1. Designing the PCB.
  2. Analyzing the concept.
  3. Printing the 3 layer PCB.
  4. Copper printing the innermost layer.

How to customize a 3 layer PCB for personal projects?

When customizing a 3 layer PCB, you need to master the CAD software you’re using.

CAD Software

Comparatively to a single-layered PCB, multilayered PCBs are slightly more difficult and technically demanding to produce for private work. Some of the areas that need attention include:

  • Drawing pieces. Modify PCB views, tables, and logos.
  • Pad shapes on inner signal layers. Some use different shapes for the external layers.
  • Negative image plane layers. These are ideally for ground and power lanes.

A printed circuit board with three PCB layers is the basic way to define a three – layered PCB.

  • Computers
  • Industrial Electronics
  • Healthcare Sector
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Designing the PCB
  • Analyzing the concept
  • Printing the 3 layer PCB
  • Copper printing the innermost layer

Final thoughts

A 3 layer PCB has a ton of applications and uses across different devices – both at home and outside. We at IBE are always ready to help out with the fabrication and assembly whenever you feel stuck. Visit our website today or talk to us for consultation and pricing. We are delighted to respond to any queries you may encounter regarding 3 layer PCBs, other PCBs, and printed circuit board assembly.

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