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PCBD-Aug2014

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50 The PCB Design Magazine • August 2014 Are there really any stupid questions? Well, of course there are. Try asking your high school graduate whether he would prefer a new car or a hearty "well done" as a gradua- tion gift, and you will get a look that tells you that you've just asked a really stupid question. In fact, just asking if there are really any stupid questions proves the point. But now that I've gotten your attention, let's take a deeper look. Many of us who have been designing boards for years have had to deal with annoying ques- tions from "the kids." You know who I mean: the rookies, newbies, greenhorns or puppies just starting out in their design careers. We've all had to answer questions like, "Why is library development so important?" or "Why is solder mask green?" In my position of working with cus- tomers, I often meet people who are just starting out in the design industry. Be- cause of this, I have been asked a lot of questions that show how little some of these new designers know of board design, how board design relates to the larger fields of fab and manufacturing, and board design history. Try telling one of these kids, "Back in the day, we used to lay out tape-up boards by first sticking down dollies," and you will get a very strange look in return. So, I understand the temptation to ignore questions that seem triv- ial, but I believe we do ourselves a great disser- vice by doing so. I'm sure that we can all re- member times when those who were older and wiser helped us out when we were just puppies in this business. Our PCB design industry has changed a lot through the years. When I first started design- ing boards in the '80s, many designers still cre- ated tape-up designs on drafting boards. These people were artists and the fact that some of these tape-up designs are still being fabricated today is a testament to the durability of the design and the skill of the designers. But many of these original designers did not make the transition to computers and our industry saw a great reset. Now, with fewer designers and more work going overseas, we are seeing another reset. Although some would argue that board designers are an endangered species and that newer by Tim Haag inTeRCePT TeChnOlOgy TIM'S TAKEAWAyS There Are no Stupid Questions column

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