> Even if it has been talked about I would add that this is very much needed
> in capability. However or if ever Altium decides to implement something
like
> this.
> But as the software stands now it is very clunky with respect
> to package info on a mechanical layer with respect to two sided
assemblies.
> Too much effort from what I see to deal with this appropriately other
> than making a top and bottom footprints, which really takes us backwards
> a few years in the way of doing things.
>
> Robert M. Wolfe

I have also suggested the concept of being able to pair Mechanical layers to
one another from time to time in the past, so it is not totally out of the
question that such a feature could be provided in Phoenix (given that this
is not a suggestion that has first reared its head in the past few days).

In a previous job I used a DOS version of P-CAD (specifically version
AD2.0), and that provided the feature of being able to define new layers as
desired, and to also pair layers to one another as desired. In its
contemporary manifestation, to wit P-CAD 2001, the ability to define new
layers as desired is still there, ... but the ability to pair layers to one
another is not currently provided (with only five pairs of layers being
available, to wit, the pre-defined Assembly, Overlay, Paste Mask, Solder
Mask, and external copper layers). However, I would not dismiss the
possibility that that aspect of previous versions of PCAD could be restored
(to future versions of P-CAD) at some stage...

Another possibility (in Protel/Phoenix), rather than providing the ability
to pair the *existing* Mechanical layers as required, would be to provide
still more non-copper layers that are of a "hard-wired" paired nature. For
example, Top Aux 1, Bottom Aux 1, Top Aux 2, ... , Bottom Aux 4 (8 new
layers), or Top Aux 1, ... , Bottom Aux 8 (16 new layers); perhaps users
could also have the ability to rename these layers as desired, e.g. Top Aux
1 and Bottom Aux 1 could be renamed, by the user, as Top Assembly and Bottom
Assembly.

And yet another possibility would be for Protel/Phoenix to implement an
aspect of Autocad and PCAD, and provide the user with an ability to define
new layers as desired, with each layer being of either a Signal, Power
Plane, or mechanical/non-copper type; such layers should also be pairable to
one another as desired (or at least for layers of a non-copper nature).
(Certain layers, to wit the Overlay, Paste Mask, Solder Mask, external
copper, MultiLayer, Keep Out, Drill Draw, and Drill Guide layers, would be
pre-defined, but all other layers would be defined by the user as required.)
To some extent, that would be a break from the "Protel Way" (as implemented
to date), but it still need not be totally incompatible with that... (The
predefined layers could be numbered as layers 1 to 12 in the Protel database
format, and with user-defined layers starting from layer 13; one of the
fields of each Layer object could be a variable that identifies the type of
the layer (Signal, Power Plane, or Mechanical), with another field
identifying the number of the other layer that the layer is paired to (with
that number being set to zero (the null layer) if the layer is not paired),
and yet another field containing the name assigned to the layer by the user,
etc.)

As I mentioned in another relatively recent post, apparently Phoenix will at
least be providing an enhanced "padstacks" feature; one aspect could be
providing the ability to define *different* solder mask expansion values for
*each* side of the PCB (for Through Hole vias and MultiLayer pads), though I
suspect that there will be more to it than just that. So fingers crossed
that many of the current bugs and shortcomings of the PCB Server will also
be seen to in Phoenix...

Regards,
Geoff Harland.
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