The evolution of PCB design process has made great progress.   In the 1980s, the first PCB design software was launched, marking the arrival of a new era of design creativity and technology.   Since then, EDA companies have risen, declined and integrated;   But one thing remains the same, that is, technology should be constantly improved to help designers complete the PCB design challenge.

Based on the requirements of design, EDA company has produced the next generation functions in automobile routing, high-speed routing, constraint management, component information system, design reuse and so on. All these new functions enable PCB designers to capture logic and create layout in a lightning way, but also leave some obvious and time-consuming tasks.

Just like everything has two sides, PCB design documents also have its boring side. It requires us to capture things and transform them into realizable working devices. We often forget to record our design time,   A design can include design drawings and notes, assembly drawings and process steps, PCB rework instructions, stacking information, drilling details, bill of materials, etc. Each design review and re conversion ensures that these files are re created to reflect the latest version of the creation. For a given design, this can easily be translated into a two digit document set, while those lost time can be better used for other tasks.

Current methods include incomplete drawing tools in PCB design environment, basic text support, static automation or external 2D mechanical CAD solutions, which are most suitable for drawing, but lack any type of connection intelligence.

Draftsman is a new feature introduced in Altium designer 16.1. PCB documents can be created by automatically creating tables, PCB design views, layer legends and details. Drawing documents are linked to source PCB documents, so they are always accurate and synchronized. Let’s take a look at draftsman’s simplified and automated user experience for creating and maintaining your PCB documents.

1. Create

Altium designer in file » There is a new PCB drawing document type under new (Figure 1). Like all editors of Altium designer, draftsman is integrated and part of the unified design environment. After the drawing document is created, the menu and toolbar will be updated, and the editor will be changed to draft staff instead of switching from schematic to PCB document. In the draftsman position menu, an array or standard drawing and dimensioning object is displayed (Figure 2).

How to create PCB drawing document in Altium Designer

Figure 1    Create a drawing document

How to create PCB drawing document in Altium Designer

Figure 2   Draftsman places objects

Placing objects themselves is intuitive, allowing designers to quickly arrange according to company requirements and document types.   Placing any drawing object automatically generates a view based on the source PCB fragment to which the draftsman document is linked.   Make the general document object available to designers, and quickly create any graphics.   Figure 3 is a simple rig diagram.

How to create PCB drawing document in Altium Designer

Figure 3   Start a simple drill map

2. Synchronization

What makes draftsman unique is the data synchronization between PCB document and draftsman document.   What’s the meaning of this? If a PCB document has been created for the initial design version, your design contains through-hole channels that limit BGA breakout channels,   Adding blind holes will eliminate shrinkage and allow maximum breakout expansion.   In addition, by adding buried holes, you can use vertical wiring to optimize the area of the board, thereby reducing the number of layers.

From a drill through point of view, these changes affect the drill floor, stacked legend, and design drill through views.   In the past, once changed, it was a troublesome process to modify these. Now, because the PCB document (source) has been connected to the “draftsman document” (target), once the PCB is updated, you can open the “draftsman” document and synchronize the “tools” » Update the design data in the board.   This will automatically update the drill map, eliminating the historic manual entertainment process

How to create PCB drawing document in Altium Designer

Figure 4    Drilling drawings before design changes

How to create PCB drawing document in Altium Designer

Figure 5    Update after change

Because these files are linked, it introduces another benefit of creating intelligent design templates. Imagine the beauty of creating PCB assembly, drilling and manufacturing templates.   Open a template to convert the draftsman document to a different PCB source.   The view of the object you place will be fxed and automatically updated based on the new source information.   No need to redraw, replace or update anything!   You can go from one point to the point where you have a library of these PCB document templates to address a variety of product lines, board shapes and required manufacturing / assembly specifications.   This not only automates the creation of PCB documents, but also ensures consistency and implements the necessary standards.

Draftsman takes PCB documents to a new level,   Its ease of use and intelligent data synchronization make the headache of PCB document creation and maintenance become the past.

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