Ordering a 10x10 board with only 10x4 taken? Panelize one of these!
0805 smd led bargraph
Zip Archive - 39.42 kB - 03/03/2017 at 16:13
VCC and GND - multiple connections
Zip Archive - 9.30 kB - 03/03/2017 at 16:13
sch - 64.35 kB - 02/11/2017 at 12:48
brd - 29.66 kB - 02/11/2017 at 12:48
Currently, KiCad-designed boards have origin point problems. This manifests as board appearing outside the outline upon drag&drop, thus, "not geting added" (though it's there).
To fix this, add an "origin point for drill and pick&place files" (badly named, for sure). This guy over at KiCad forums places it in the upper left corner of the boards, I confused left and right for a second, so the picture shows me being about to place it in the upper right corner:
After that, you can export Gerbers and don't worry about them "disappearing". Read more »
This logic probe design was featured on Hackaday.com blog, and I was interested in assembling a couple of those. So, I made a quick KiCad board that'd be as small as possible - and in the end, it's very very small, using SMD components - but still hand-solderable =) I figure that if you'll want to use this probe on 3.3V designs, you'll want to use a 3.3V-compatible version of 555 IC.
UPDATE: Got the PCBs - 20 of them! Haven't tested them yet, but will do soon. Will send them out to Europe for cost of postage.
PCB panelization is a nice way to get more bang for your buck, be able to do more projects at the same time and, in general, receive more boards at once. Say, you have two 10x4cm boards, and a seller offers you to either take . You could order them separately, as two 10x10cm PCBs (10x5 at best), or you could merge them into one panel.
Panelization means merging together PCB gerber files in one gerber. The main problem that needs to be solved is that you can't just put boards together - they usually need to be connected somehow. They also need to be easily splittable once you receive them - you won't want to split them using a cutting disk =) There are two main ways to panelize boards so that they can easily be split - V-grooving and tabs with mousebites. "Tabs&mousebites" means - connecting boards using tabs, they're added in between boards and are basically pieces of PCB material connected together (mousebites are holes drilled in tabs so that it's easier to break them off). V-grooves are cuts done with a machine with a cutting disk, that cuts lines through PCBs, leaving them connected but just barely, so that you can snap the boards apart.
V-grooving (failed) - picture from somewhere on hereRead more »
This is a good example of a board description for a board with active components that actually does something useful.
This tutorial was done on Windows. Authors claim it could also be used on Linux by using Mono, but I haven't tried and don't understand a lot about Mono to see what could be done. I am switching to Linux nowadays, so I'd be very grateful to anybody that'd make instructions on how to launch it, however - and I'm sure other fellow Linux-wielding engineers will be grateful, too =)
The tool I'm personally using to panelize boards is GerberPanelizer from ThisIsNotRocketScience.nl. It's a wonderful tool that allows you to panelize PCBs, mainly using tabs&mousebites. There are more tools in the archive, they all seem Gerber-related but I didn't even go through them =)
I'm using KiCad myself, so I'll mainly work with KiCad-made gerbers. The panelizer project page has some tips for Eagle users as well, related to CAM files, so if you're an Eagle user, check it out, it can help with some moments. I'd love to cover Gerber generation for different EDA packages (actually, not), but Internet has plenty of tutorials on those. There's a good online Gerber files viewer (needs gerber ZIPs) which gives out pretty renderings of your board, so you can use it to check your Gerbers - I do that all the time (and KiCad 3D viewer helps, too).
No matter your EDA tool, the workflow is simple - first, you have to have gerber files in separate folders for each project.Read more »