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 Post subject: Panelizing; odd shapes and rat bites
PostPosted: 22 Sep 2015, 16:51 
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Joined: 01 Mar 2013, 17:07
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I'm attempting my first effort at panelizing! I've got a slightly odd-shaped PCB, and when I click 'panelize' I get the rows and columns I desire. However I've been told by my assembing company that they like getting rat bites to get a clean(ish) break - and they sent a handy diagram - but how do I implement these in the panel? They look like the sort of thing that would be done 'manually' (at least at first) but I don't see how to put them in...

Also the duplicated PCBs are all regular-shaped, my odd bits all squared off; is this how they'd appear?? Is there a way to see what I'd be getting?

They're also all blank; do I need to cut'n'paste the original PCB into all the others?

I've checked out the V-groove posts here - which I'd like to attempt... A lot of online advice I've read to do with this say 'co-ordinate with your manufacturer about the specifications of these'... Mine is in China, which makes it tricky for several reasons! Does anyone know a good UK company who'll help me through ordering a first one?

Thanks!

BTW, if I'm getting 100 completed units made at a time (eg made from 10 panels), is panelizing a good move? Or is it for when I start ordering 1000's? It would cut the costs at the assemblers either way...


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 Post subject: Re: Panelizing; odd shapes and rat bites
PostPosted: 23 Sep 2015, 15:30 
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Joined: 12 Sep 2015, 05:20
Posts: 9
Hi d-rainger,

I have been looking at doing some panels in DipTrace as well recently.
I have done quite a few in Altium, with DipTrace i found it quite problematic.

If you use the Panelize tool it will show the PCB boarders and optionally the external boarder but nothing else, however when you convert to Gerber / NC drill it will generate the PCB's for you in all the copied locations.

I think however, probably the better way is to not use the limited tool and instead generate the panel boarder and router cut-out drawing yourself on one mechanical layer then add a text file into the zip that you send the PCB manufacturer explaining which layer the panel outline and cut-outs are on, probably a good idea to include text inside each cut-out to explain that its a cut-out otherwise unexpected things can happen, place each PCB where you want it on the panel.

Usually when a panel gets done in order to break out the boards after assembly you can use router cut-outs perhaps 5mm wide around the PCB or use V-Scoring if the boards are square.
Given that your board is an unusual shape you will probably have to use router cut-outs, leaving a curved )( solid part of PCB at regular intervals to allow the PCB's to be broken out, and also provide support to the PCB.

Mousebite or Ratbite are just the )( between routing with holes drilled either side so that they break more easily, its not really needed if you leave about 3 mm each side of each )( route you can break out the PCB's and trim the remainder with a pair of cutters, if drilling the holes as well the gap between ) and ( will need to be wider )....(

Most panels also include a border and mounting holes so that the assembly company can put the panel into a pick and place machine with frame, also included in the border are fiducial markings, and also near the IC's on each PCB so that the camera system can work out the difference and placing across the panel, might be a good idea to ask the assembly company what they prefer to frame size and mounting holes etc, they should normally be able to provide you an example to view.

One thing to bear in mind when designing the panel are the panel thickness, weight of the parts on each of the PCB and the general structural integrity of the panel during assembly.
Also important is that the PCB can be broken out easily when needed.

I found that pasting and then rotating PCB's on Diptrace to make a panel to be very problematic, copper pour gets removed, designators are in wrong place etc, so beware... personally if you have to rotate the PCB's to reduce panel usage space I would be very careful on Diptrace.

As far as 100off goes, yes it will be best to make a panel for that, number of PCB's per panel depend on panel size and structural integrity. If you don't make a panel you might have to assemble them yourself.

Lot of assembly companies expect panels, it makes the whole thing automated and much more predictable.

Kind Regards,

Martin J.


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 Post subject: Re: Panelizing; odd shapes and rat bites
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2015, 05:41 
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Joined: 01 Mar 2013, 17:07
Posts: 4
Hi Martin J - Thanks so much for your informative reply!
It's kind of nice to know that you find Diptrace problematic for this too! It's not just me being dumb...

Luckily my assembly company are being very helpful - I can have a stab at it, send them a jpg to look at and they'll say what's needed.

I think when I've done it once it'll save time for future boads.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: Panelizing; odd shapes and rat bites
PostPosted: 25 Sep 2015, 13:58 
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Joined: 12 Sep 2015, 05:20
Posts: 9
Hi d-rainger,

Thanks for your reply, Hope it all goes well for you and that you can get your panels done without any issue.

I have a couple of panels to do on Diptrace, I experimented with it a bit last weekend and found difficulties due to things not yet implemented properly/fully in the current software.
Will let you know if I spot any other problems to look out for if I locate them.

Kind Regards,

Martin J.

-- 29 Sep 2015, 18:15 --

Hi d-rainger,

You might be interested to also check this thread below, as well as copper pour group rotate problem it's also related to manually creating a panel and has some useful info, and some useful tips / info from Alex.

http://www.diptrace.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10634

Kind Regards,

Martin.


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