You have your Gerbers, NC Drill Files, assembly prints, dimension outlines, and design notes together, right? Or maybe you had no idea that you needed all of these files just to have a PCB made. If so, you aren’t alone. Stepping into the world of the post-design process can be overwhelming. You finished your PCB Layout, so why in the world do you need all of these files. Can’t your manufacturer just take your design and make it? If only it were that easy. But don’t stress, we’ve got a free webinar that will teach you how to make your job easier to complete your manufacturing systems check.
The Manufacturing Black Hole
What exactly happens between the moment you send your production files and when you get a board back? For many, the manufacturing process is a giant black hole of mystery, and we’re commonly crossing our fingers hoping we don’t get an email back about some missing file or an obsolete part.
When I completed my first design, I felt pretty great. Everything looked awesome, and I figured after spending hours polishing my board layout that I could just call it a day, right? I’ll just send my design files off to my manufacturer, and that would be the end of it. But the first email I got back from a fab house proved this theory wrong.
There was a giant list of all these files that I had no idea how to create. Was I supposed to make a Gerber by hand? And how do you even document all of your drill holes?
Suddenly my design that I thought was complete and finished seemed far from it. I had flown into that Bermuda Triangle of manufacturing and realized the only way to turn your design from digital bits into a physical board is with lots and lots of added details. While a manufacturer can get a basic idea of what you’re looking for from a simple Gerber file, that barely scratches the surface of all the finer details that makes a design uniquely yours.
And that’s where you come in. You’re the expert of your designs, after all, so you’ve got the job of communicating your expectations with drill files, notes, bill of materials, dimensioning, and a whole lot more. If this is your first interaction with a manufacturer, then you might be asking questions like:
- How do I even go about creating a bill of materials? I just grabbed a bunch of parts from the EAGLE libraries, was I supposed to keep track of part numbers and pricing?
- What kind of Gerber file do I need to send? I’ve read about two file formats, is there a difference between them?
- What if I need to make multiple variations of a design? Can I just tell my manufacturer to swap out specific parts or do I need to submit multiple designs?
Don’t worry, all of these questions are entirely reasonable to be asking when you’re just diving into the world of PCB manufacturing. Once you get the hang of it and feel comfortable with a manufacturer, you’ll have a routine down that you can carry throughout your career. Knowing what you need, that’s the hardest part, but we can show you all of that.
Learn the ABCs of Manufacturing
Once you’ve got your design done, it’s time to jump into the world of post-design processing. This journey has its own layers of details and oddities to remember, but the worst thing you can do for yourself is hack together your documentation without a plan in place and some kind of checklist. What should this plan include? Join us for our EAGLE Pro webinar where you’ll learn all about it, including how to:
- Get Your Board Made Right. You’ll learn about all the pieces of documentation that your manufacturer will need to successfully make your board. By the end of this webinar, you’ll have a trusty checklist to rely on for your future designs.
- Create Your Documentation. You’ll also learn how to build all of the documentation you’ll need in Autodesk EAGLE. We’ll cover how to generate Gerber files, NC Drill files, dimensioning files, and more.
- Manage Your Design Variations. Have a design that needs several variations to meet all of your customer’s needs? You’ll learn how to easily manage assembly variants and swap out parts without having to recreate your design from scratch.
It’s time for a manufacturing systems check! We’ll be hosting this live webinar on April 18th at 2 pm EST for 30 minutes. Learn it once, and you’ll remember it forever.