At 01:33 PM 12/14/01 -0500, Michael Reagan wrote:
>I agree save your orig file after you run drcs, then  create a new file to
>panelize. So how difficult is it to toggle thru the plane layers, view them
>and reconnect planes?

The bottom line is that the photoplot people can panelize in seconds, 
literally. They do it all day, every day. If you must control the panel, 
then give them a dimiensioned drawing (which can be on a mech layer on your 
original PCB file) and then tell them to step and repeat the other layers 
accordingly. If you make changes to your board, you don't have to change 
anything else....

Combining two or more separate designs in one PCB file is a more complex 
beast. Inner planes, if the planes have different net names, can make it a 
true mess, since Protel gives an inner plane a single name that applies to 
the whole layer. A workaround, as mentioned, is to use copper pour, but one 
could also use split planes. (There is no law that says you must actually 
use the basic plane net, your split could occupy your whole board.) I 
haven't tried pasting split planes, which is why I might not understand the 
problem that Mr. Reagan discounts.

But almost any problem is too much, given that there are other ways to 
combine designs. For example, each PCB file can be generated with an 
offset. (An easy way to do this is to use absolute dimensions in the gerber 
and place each board in its appropriate location.) Then the files can be 
merged. Again, this is trivial for the fabricator and not difficult if you 
want to do it with CAMtastic. You could also do it in Protel; but my 
preference would be to leave it to the photoplot people.

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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