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What is Copper Thieving in PCB and How to Apply?

Copper Thieving is a crucial aspect in the development of PCBs that you must not ignore. It is because PCB copper thieving means working with rounded or square-shaped copper. Sometimes you can consider a large copper block in copper thieving. It just depends on the type of copper you are working with. Anyhow, this copper must be at a decent distance from the PCB parts, or else it can interfere with their performance.

If you fail to control copper thieving, it can lead to complications as well. Also, it is not a good option to go with if your devices work with impedance and RF signaling. We are going to see important sides of copper thieving and its impact on the devices and PCBs as well. So let’s get started without further ado!

How to Apply Copper Thieving to PCB Design?

copper thieving
copper thieving

Some users like to play with copper thieving for their PCB designs. Now, for this, you dont have to be a veteran, but still, you have to be careful while dealing with it on all counts. Since the field of PCB is advancing at a rapid pace, there are PCB designs that work on automated copper thieving.

Due to this, the PCB customization gets much easier, and you get to choose from a huge range of options for size, shape, and much more. The copper thieving is always at a distance from the PCB itself, due to which the PCB developer can be at ease as well. There are some recommendations and considerations regarding the use of copper thieving, so let’s take a look:

  • Don’t worry about the shape of the copper when doing copper thieving
  • Pay heed to the copper pours; use a sufficient amount of copper for your designs
  • Never let acute angle damage your design and waste your energy since these can act as acid traps for your setups
  • To avoid the formation of acid traps, use a dot pattern always 

When you work with the copper ports, it is a versatile form that has more to it than just copper thieving. You can execute copper thieving on the ground panel so that it can act as a firm surface. Once you have access to this firm surface, you can boost the efficiency with the help of EMI shielding.

There is no doubt that you have to take care of the signal integrity of the PCBs. 

If your PCB designs have more than one plane, then it is better to maintain good space and fix its position so that the overall signal integrity of the PCBs remains intact no matter what. When you are using copper thieving for your designs, you need to do it with extra care. Due to this reason, if you get confused with anything, seek professional help immediately before proceeding with the process. 

More Information on Copper Thieving

There are different ways that you can seek professional help regarding PCB copper thieving. Some people recommend PCB fabrication shops in this regard. However, despite the fact that these are a source of help but these might not be effective for you at all. Instead, you need to consider FAB shops because these are much more recommendable than fabrication shops. 

You can ask them for plating your PCBs as well. Such shops are a hub of the latest PCB assembly and development tools that can help your private projects a lot. Plus, copper thieving also becomes easier with FAB shops.

Other than this, you can look up to a PCB contract producer as well. You can collaborate with such companies to produce efficient and industrial-grade PCBs by discussing a suitable budget. These PCBs are more accurate in electrical performance and durability as per the expert recommendations. 

Copper Thieving to Outer Layer Artwork

It depends on your PCB producer. These firms have dedicated systems for the placement of copper on the PCBs. Their technicians basically help you with selecting the right amount of copper for each of your designs so that there will be no complications later in the process. 

The best way to add this copper is to pour it in small dots, and if not, making copper squares is also helpful in this regard. The process of copper thieving is specific for every fabricator, and you need to inquire about it from them. 

A Caveat About Copper Thieving

Sometimes the copper thieving can be harmful to the PCB layers if you leave them exposed to the copper. It compromises their impedance and hampers their performance for the PCB. Therefore, it is better to discuss this with your fabricator so that they have a clear idea about where they can use copper thieving and where they should not. It greatly helps in developing industrial-grade PCBs for yourself and your clients. Make sure to properly mention your requirements and details regarding copper thieving so that there will be no complications in the development of PCBs at all. 

Benefits of Copper Thieving in PCB


It’s time to see the multiple benefits of copper thieving in the field of PCBs. From consistent thickness to minimal bow and twists, copper thieving transforms your PCBs from drab to fab. These reasons are enough to intrigue you to use copper thieving in your upcoming projects as well. Take a look:

·       Etching & Plating Control

The etching and plating factor of PCBs cannot be ignored. You can boost these two with the help of copper thieving. It is because copper thieving is highly reliable for the uniform placement of copper during the etching process. Plus, the plating becomes effortless due to it. For this purpose, copper thieving is useful and enables you to make sure the amount of copper is uniform throughout usage. 

·       Consistency in Thickness

Thieving is also beneficial when you are aiming to maintain consistency in thickness. Uneven thickness can form bumps on the PCBs leading to compromise their performance. It also glues up the PCB layers, and the overall design of the PCBs gets ruined. So it is obvious that if you will use copper thieving in this regard, your PCBs will be at bay from all such problems. 

·       Minimize Bow & Twist

When you fail to uniformly place the copper on the PCBs, it leads to wrapping and twisting, which we certainly dont want with our projects. This is a common problem in the complex PCB assembly

It is because the copper starts to elt, and its expansion takes palace invading the sensitive PCB parts. Due to this reason, copper thieving can be a lifesaver. 

·       Control Dielectric Thickness

As you already know that PCB layers have a dielectric thickness between them. When we execute lamination on the PCBs, we combine these layers with the help of a pre-reg. 

Then, we heat the pre-reg, and once it starts to change its consistency from solid to liquid, it is more likely to reach the gaps efficiently. It also rules out the chances of trapping air in the PCBs. 

·       A Caveat About Thieving

There is no doubt that there are many benefits of copper thieving for PCB designs, but you need to be cautious about it as well. It is not good for the PCB traces, especially when these are beneath the area where you are doing copper thieving. 

The Effects of Not Adding Copper Thieving to Outer Layers

There are some drawbacks if you still ignore copper thieving after reading about its advantages in your upcoming projects. Here’s what happens when you dont use copper thieving:

  1. In the absence of copper thieving, the PCB plating does not take place properly, and it leads to the development of impedance traces.
  2. Problems with the press-fit connectors and component mounting pads also occur if you do not prioritize copper thieving.
  3. Without copper thieving, you cannot determine the right amount of copper to fill in the gaps between the PCB parts at all. 
  4. If you dont use copper thieving for your PCBs, you will fail to improve their efficiency in unfavorable conditions. 


Thieving has major benefits for PCB designs, and nobody can deny this fact. You never go wrong with the uniform copper plating of PCBs with this method. You can even place the copper on the PCBs so that it enhances their performance and efficiency. We have highlighted some major aspects of copper thieving for you. So that you can easily consider this method for the advantage of your PCBs. 

Plus, if you need to boost the PCB performance, then you can consult a PCB producer in this regard. Just completely discuss your requirements and ideas with them, and they will help you develop industrial-grade PCBs in less time. Plus, you can save a huge amount of investment from wasting in your self-supervised experiments with copper thieving. We hope that copper thieving is now an easy concept for you, and you are all set to produce exceptional PCBs with the help of copper thieving!




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