When you are in the design stage of your printed circuit board design, you need to make sure that you are collecting all of the necessary documentation. This documentation will help the manufacturer to create the perfect circuit board and if you leave something out you might find that your project never gets completed. Here, we are going to give you some tips on what to include in your documentation. Keep reading to find out more.
Have The Right Software
Before we even begin telling you what you should include in your documentation, you need to make sure that you have the correct software for the job. With the latest PCB design software, you can easily create your documentation and leave little to chance. With PCB documentation and fabrication, it is very important that you include everything you need or the fabrication won’t work. Make sure to update your current software or buy one of the better options on the market.
Having The Manufacturing Files
If you are going to be sending on your PCB design to be fabricated, you’ll need to include all of the basic manufacturing files. If you miss out anything that is important you will not only delay the whole process, but you might find that your PCB does not get completed. On top of this, you’ll need to make sure that your documentation package is sent in the right format. Consider formats such as Gerber, Excellon or ODB++ as these are generally accepted.
What To Include
It is important to remember that different manufacturers might require different documents but as a rule try to include some of the following:
- PCB data including Drill Data, Netlist Data or Gerber Data
- PCB fabrication instructions including board outline, surface finish, finished copper weight, slot and hole sizes etc.
- Bill of material including description, quantities, reference designators and manufacturer part number
If you are able to include all of these things, then you should be able to create a great product and your manufacturer will be happy with the documentation.
How Do They Use This?
When you send on the documentation to be fabricated, you should know that it does not go directly into the photoplotter, the manufacturer has a lot to do with your data. For example, in the layer stack, your manufacturer will need to use the data that you send on to load up their CAM and recreate the model that you have created for your PCB. From this model, the product will be made so all of the data needs to be complete. This is true for other aspects in the manufacturing process such as the drill files and the PCB outline.
If you are in the process of designing your PCB make sure that you handle all of your documentation properly to ensure that you don’t have any problems when it comes to the manufacturing stage.