Metal Core Printed Circuit Boards (MCPCB) are used to keep high powered LED circuits cool, as the metal substrate helps dissipate heat generated by the LEDs.

However, they can also be used, as an alternative to FR4 PCBs, to create heavy, sturdy and funky PCBs for audio applications, especially if a thick 5-10 mm substrate is used (although 3.2 mm is the common maximum thickness – see below).

I got the idea after seeing this question on StackExchange: Custom/DIY Metal-Core PCB? However, MCPCB is really only useful for SMD components. Standard discrete components would need to be routed via the underside, and there would be a potential for short circuits caused by component legs coming in contact with the metal substrate.

Feature image taken from Metal Core PCB vs standard circuit boards.

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What a Cad!


Need some PCB design software? Well you have a few options, free and not free. These are KiCAD, CadSoft Eagle and Novarm DipTrace or Altium respectively. The full Altium package costs around $15000. There is, obviously AutoCAD, but which hobbist has money for that? Although there is AutoCAD 360, which is free. However, which one is right for you?

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