On Tue, 13 Mar 2001 11:44:11 +0000, I wrote:

>I am thinking of making a panel with a set of 4 PCBS on it whch to the
>board house looks like one plot/screen charge and a bit of extra routing. 

Well I did some more work with this today. 

These boards are small but not simple, about 9 pages of schematic and 300
odd components for a set. Also the design is 3 completely different boards.
Two of one and one of each of the others make a set. 

Merging the schematics is far too much hassle with duplicate components and
net names and merged partlists. A solution with a netlist for the set is
not on. 

I quickly tried copying the boards in Protel and net information and so
plane connection information is lost - not an option. I did use the copied
set to generate an aperture file which should be able to plot any board in
the set - maybe the merging in Camtastic (see below) does not really
require this. . 

I offset the two 'singletons' in PCB to the positions they need to be in
the set and generated gerber and drill files for all. 

I loaded the x2 board into Camtastic and fairly painlessly made an offset
copy of it. I then imported the two singletons and they came up in the
right place. 

Each layer and drill file for each board is imported into Camtastic in its
own layer and will be exported into separate gerber files. I had to merge
each layer of the x2 and singletons into new composite layers and the same
with the drill 'layers'. 

These new layers exported OK and seem to be what I was looking for although
I am a bit dubious about tools in the drill file - I need to do some more
checking. 

Overall it was a bit clunky and manual. This is the first time I have used
Camtastic so maybe I am missing something, it does seem to have built in
tools for stepping up a single PCB but no help (that I found) for
panelising a set of different PCBS. 

Hmm, I'm just browsing around www.camtastic.com - maybe I should have gone
there first, pity whatever information I am going to find was not on the
CD. 


Cheers, Terry.

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