I’m Done With My Design, What Now?
It’s a common mistake for engineers to assume that once you have your schematic and layout done then that’s it, you’ve crossed the finish line. You will find many tutorials on how to design your schematic and board layout, only to find out that all of those hours of research only got you 75% of the way to your final destination.
But what else is there you might be asking?
Manufacturing. Ah, right, that thing you only start to care about when your design is finished.
We get it; it’s all about the design process. But let me ask you this, what happens when you find out your PCB can’t be manufactured? This could all be avoided with a simple shift in perspective and some new knowledge. Because when it comes to designing a board right the first time, you always need to keep manufacturing in mind. We can show you how to design with a manufacturer’s brain, in a free EAGLE Pro Perspective webinar.
All That Toil Being Spoiled
We’ve all toiled on a design for days, weeks, or even months at a time, spending countless hours planning every last detail. We make sure all of our pins are properly connected on our schematic, and every trace and via is where it should be on our layout. But with all this time focused on the two primary activities of the PCB design process, when do we ever have time to understand the larger perspective that includes manufacturing?
I thought I had all of my to-do’s checked off on my first design. I had spent hours drawing up an excellent schematic and spent days tinkering with my component placement and routing until I was satisfied. At this point, I assumed my design process was done. So I generated some Gerbers and an NC Drill file and shipped it off to my manufacturer without any doubts.
Turns out I had some things wrong that I didn’t catch. It’s not that I didn’t notice these problems, I had no idea they were even problems in the first place.
I was blind to the ways and methods of designing a PCB from a manufacturer’s perspective. It was all a bunch of simple things too, which really surprised me.
I had silkscreen placed on the top of a pad by accident. And I left an open loop on my board when I was adjusting some nets. I should have caught these things, but I lacked the needed perspective. If I had some checklist of the do’s and don’ts for a manufacturing PCB design, then these mistakes would have never happened. I could have had answers ahead of time to questions like:
- What are some of the most common errors that other engineers make that can negatively affect getting a board manufactured?
- Is there some checklist that I can keep on hand that will allow me to review my design from a manufacturer’s perspective?
- Are there certain practices that I’m using in my design process that is leading to my boards costing more than they should?
With all of these questions answered, I could have designed a PCB that was not only complete in my eyes but also complete from a manufacturing perspective. But sometimes it’s hard to remember when you’re first beginning PCB design that there’s a larger world out there outside of your PCB design software. That board of yours that you craft on your computer has to be transformed into a physical thing, and that takes some physical constraints and machinery to make it happen.
When You’re Really Done With Your Design
The truth is, designing a PCB from a manufacturer’s perspective is the only way you can actually call your design a success. You can spend hours building the most beautiful layout in existence, but if it’s a nightmare for your manufacturer to make, then it just won’t happen. We’re not saying you need to abandon all creativity and work within some rigid guidelines. All you need is to widen your perspective.
So are you ready to learn about how to design your board right the first time from a manufacturer’s perspective? Join Duane Benson, an Autodesk EAGLE Pro, and lead executive at Screaming Circuits, in a free webinar to learn how to design with his Design for Manufacturing (DFM) best practices, including:
- Learn how to avoid the most common design errors that can negatively affect the manufacturability of your PCB.
- Learn about the top Design for Manufacturing (DFM) checks and how you can incorporate them into your Autodesk EAGLE design.
- Learn how to evaluate your manufacturing options and decide what board house fits the needs of your design, budget, and schedule.
Bring on the DFM! We’ll be hosting this live webinar with Duane on March 30, 2017, at 2 pm EST. Once complete, you’ll have a handy DFM checklist in hand to carry you through the rest of your PCB design career.
Register here for our EAGLE Pro Perspective: I’m Done With My Design, What Now? webinar.