Is it possible not to have a copper-pour ground plane on a PCB?
I am taking a first stab at designing a PCB from scratch.
I am considering using a CNC mill fabrication process, and
it seems like with this process I would want to remove as
little copper as possible. A copper-pour-style ground plane
would seem to be a good way to address this constraint.
Ground planes in general are always a good thing, but if used incorrectly can actually hurt the quality of your board.
Ground plane needs to be cleared out for high voltages to meet the creepage and clearance rules for safety. Continuous plane on one side which is not matched by a similar size area on the other side leads to the board warping because of the tension provided by the copper.
Air-core inductors should not be used with their flux passing through a ground plane; otherwise the ground plane acts like a parasitic transformer with a shorted turn.
Please keep doing your great job.