I used to do all of my protowork on vero unless it was really complex when I went to wire wrap. There you could buy plastic pin identifiers that numbered all of the pins for you and you could write on them what IC it was dramatically reducing mistakes. Then CAD tools got affordable and then prototype board became really affordable and I haven't veroed or wire wrapped anything in 12 years. I mean if I can get 2 x 10"x16" panels for $295 full of circuits double sided through-hole plated and with double side silk screen and 6thou track and spacing and solder mask and can merge as many designs as I like into the space why would I ever bother having dirty chemistry with mediocre results and in place of professional results.
I do still use vero to mount connectors for a one off adapter, but otherwise I just collect up to a few dozen designs and just get them made :-)
BTW, I have a whole bunch of boards for a robot I've been working on for too long :-) All RS485. I got 19 different designs for $295 delivered to my door in 5 days :-) it was great
I still like Vero and love that tool for doing vero CAD, but I think for the moment it has had its day, along with wirewrap and multiwire.
I worked for a company in the mid 80's that did a 32bit processor board using it and remember thinking that it could compete with conventional PCB in density up to probably 8-10 layers.
I also remember working in Germany in the early 70's and Siemens was using double through-hole plating using silver rivets to connect topp and bottom traces that were a reliability nightmare.
This is indeed an amazing archievement. I have the deepest respect for the engineers of that time. Amazing. Watching closely you see components with extreme high quality, hard to get today. However, in surplus you might be able to find those polystyrene film capacitors, they are great for high end audio (with common sense, of course ;-)
This is going a bit off topic, but very interesting to mention, for others here interested in this kind of vintage stuff: It is very worthwhile to have a look at the V2 rocket electronic control system. Amazing how that works and how it was build. Have a look at this link: http://www.cdvandt.org/v2__computer.htm
Click on the PDF link. It is in German language, but Google will help you out and the pictures and schematics... Amazing ! Don't forget that this were the basics for the whole NASA operations during the '60's.
@mrbern: Back in the late 80's we used a process called Multiwire which was embedding insulated wires in a resin that was placed on the pc board.
I wondered if anyone would get it -- that's the one I was thinking of -- we used multiwire in the mid-to-late 1980s -- it was actually amazingly efficacious for its time -- I think there was a later version called microwire with laser-drilled vias, but I didn;t have anything to do with that myself.
Wire wrap was such a nice approach for prototyping. The cousin 'stitch-wire' could actually be used in small production batches and I used it on a few boards with great results. The wires were automatically 'welded' to the board. A room full of sewing machine like machines and operators (who I'm positive all were experts with sewing machines first) could crank these out very quickly. Eventually went to machine control but the image of all the sewing machines cranking out circuit boards stays with me...
In the world surrounding DesignCon, PCB not only get respect, they are feared for their ability to closes eye diagrams, produce corsstalk, send EMI flying around, and so on. Eric Bogatin really pioints out how PCBs affect signals, right down to the way the glass is weaved in the board material. See Glass Weave Skew Problems May Be Solved. In fact, there's a probem because Glass Weave Needs a Standard.
@hm: Can they employ some form of Cu ribbon to keep Cu trace and low power laser drill for vias?
That sounds like an interesting approach but I haven't heard of anyone doing that. It also wouldn't solve the problem that occurs with the 2D router approach which is that vias are not plated so you have to solder wires into the via holes (which means via holes and pads need to be larger than they would otherwise need to be.
Another problem with the 2D router systems is keeping the front and back of the board aligned since you have to route one side and flip the board to do the other side.
The approach used by the Ariel Electronics Circuit Writer mentioned by betajet actually sounds like it would work for 3D printing a PCB. It might be do-able with a two head 3D printer if you could get the conductive plastic in a suitable form factor...