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Author Topic: Panelizing PCB's - what do you use/recommend?  (Read 1024 times)
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Sushilogic
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« on: March 13, 2017, 12:48:44 12:48 »

I'm using KiCAD as an EDA tool at present, which doesn't have good support for panelization - if I was to migrate to Altium I guess that has it all built in, but for now I thought I'd like to find a 3rd party tool that will allow me to panelize designs.

I guess I'm looking for something that will allow me to :

1. Put multiple (different) designs on one small panel (custom size panels)
2. Use a combination of v-groove, slots, mouse bites to de-panel boards
3. Allow me to define the tooling strip and hole size/location
4. Allow me to add fidicials

Seem to be a number of options out there though some appear to have steep learning curves :

FAB 3000
CAM350
VisualCAM
GerbTool
CAMMaster Designer
etc

What do you use/recommend?


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mars01
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 02:36:37 14:36 »

Hi,

I don't have much experience using those tools, I also am gathering info about this.

From the hobby point of view I can tell you what I do.
There are 2 methods that I use when I want to do panelization.

1. I make the design and export the GERBER + EXCELLON files. Those I open using FlatCAM http://www.flatcam.org/download using the development version.
It has a panelize command (it has to be run from command line, the program has a TCL shell). You can do this after you generate the cutout geometry.
Unfortunately it can't export GERBER files, only GCODE, so if you have a CNC router and you make your own PCB's (like I do) this is an efficient way to do just that.

2. I make the design and export the GERBER + EXCELLON files in a software of my choice. I import the Gerber files in the small program Sprint Layout (we have medicine here: http://www.sonsivri.to/forum/index.php?topic=9657.0) and there I can make the panelization very easy - just copy and  paste operations, I also can export the panelized GERBER's and EXCELLON (drill) files. This software allow you to print the negative film (in case you are using UV method to make your PCB's).

Fiducial are just components that need to be placed in a certain way. You can make your own.
See this very complete post: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/altium/fiducials/msg103904/#msg103904
« Last Edit: March 13, 2017, 02:56:26 14:56 by mars01 » Logged
Sideshow Bob
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 02:56:29 14:56 »

You will find a lot of how to videos on YouTube for any of these tools. Like always some will be good other may be bad. But doing some search will be a good idea
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optikon
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« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 05:09:12 17:09 »

I recommend CAM350 - it can do everything you need to.
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bigtoy
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 09:27:34 21:27 »

I've done a couple of panels.

Typically I find it easiest to do the panelization inside of a PCB program. That's because you usually want to add features to the panel (like tooling holes, house bites, silkscreen labels, etc). In Altium there are a couple of ways of doing it. The main way is to use the built-in panelization tool. Described here:
http://techdocs.altium.com/display/ADOH/((Panelization+-+Embedded+Board+Array+Enhancements))_AD

If you've got a number of different PCBs you want to incorporate into the same panel, it can be easier to just (a) create a blank PCB document for your panel, (b) copy & paste your PCB layouts (remember to turn on all used layers) into the new PCB document.
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Cyberrat
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 07:54:22 07:54 »

Just a note, if you panelize a single design yourself, guess what happens at the front end engineers desk of the fab house.
They strip off all your panelized boards leaving a single image, do their drc checks, adjustments, fixes etc. and then re panelize it.
So your wasting your time, its better to do a panel drawing and send a single image.
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optikon
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 11:05:38 23:05 »

Just a note, if you panelize a single design yourself, guess what happens at the front end engineers desk of the fab house.
They strip off all your panelized boards leaving a single image, do their drc checks, adjustments, fixes etc. and then re panelize it.
So your wasting your time, its better to do a panel drawing and send a single image.

You are correct about this. It's probably best to leave it up to them anyways.
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kayvee
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« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2017, 07:07:42 07:07 »

Normally I draw my desired panel layout on a separate layer and submit with all the other layers.
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M@X77
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2017, 11:21:47 11:21 »

I use always eagle, simply execute ULP script named "panelize.ulp", this create 3 layers with the components name, the you hide the original components name layer (tnames and bnames). Create a group of the board and copy it each times you need.
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