SOLIDWORKS PCB combines the best in PCB design technology with an easy-to-use interface that links directly to SOLIDWORKS 3D CAD. Like other SOLIDWORKS products it’s easy to pick up but there are always more tricks you can learn to speed up your design process. In this blog we want to share a couple of useful SOLIDWORKS PCB tips, specifically we’ll explain how to easily shape polygon pours and how to control the length of your routes.
Polygon Pour Shaping
Within SOLIDWORKS PCB, you can define Copper Pour polygons. These polygons can be on a net, in-filled solid or hatched and have a series of settings to ‘flavour’ the result.
The polygon can be shaped using the usual drawing tools and will abide any rules and clearances when poured. To dictate the minimal distance from board edge to copper pour, add a ‘no net’ copper Region to push the copper pour back accordingly.
Watch the video below to learn how.
Controlling Route Length
Within SOLIDWORKS PCB, you can define route length rules on nets. This is achieved through the Accordion function. Accordion adds to the net route, thus extending its length to match an associated rule.
A length rule on a net is assigned through the Accordion function, by defining a Design Rule. The design rule is managed through Accordion.
The controls to engage Accordion are:
- ‘Shift-A’ to switch on the Accordion function during routing
- ‘Tab’ will show the rules dialog for that net whilst in the Accordion function
The rule can be set to define a minimum as well as a maximum length, thus ensuring the finished length is between those lengths. To see the routing lengths whilst routing, the PCB Panel can be shown and length columns included. The following video shows net ‘NetD3_2’ and the length columns being added to the panel. The net routing is started using ‘Shift-A’ which then allows the rule dialog to be presented using ‘Tab’.
This has set the target length to 50mm, however we may also need a minimum length set. This video shows a rule being created that also includes a minimum length, in this case a minimum length of 40mm and a maximum length of 50mm, on the same net. The yellow background to the column cells on the PCB Panel, indicates a rule to be met, where a red background indicates a broken rule. The route can be adjusted to ensure the length rule is met.