wouldn't you want pairing to be mech 1 with 16 and mech 2 with 15, etc.

as to the ad hoc layer naming and creation in autocad ...
it can be as much of a source of clutter and trouble as it can be an aid
in getting the job done

much of the trouble comes when trying to re-use and merge designs
unless you follow rigorously controlled naming conventions and usage you
soon wind up with 'layer hell' which can take quite a while to sift
through, sort and rename or combine
acad 2002 supposedly has done something to ease this and although i have
it i haven't had a chance to load it

interestingly solidworks as far as i can tell in my limited explorations
does not have layers at all!

it seems to me that pc design is much more defined in it's scope than a
do anything tool like acad and as such some structuring of layers for
typical use (customizable) is adequate

you most always want a title block, an outline, silkscreens and so forth
and having these always setup the same from job to job takes a bit of
discipline as it is

i think what we need is the ability to define all this stuff once and
then inherit that from a master template or from a menu of templates

we do bds with parts on both sides all the time and i have not been
(much) troubled by the current method of looking thru the board and
flipping parts to the other side

Dennis Saputelli

Geoff Harland wrote:
> > Geoff,
> >
> > Does your suggested pairing mechanism only come into play for components
> > which are placed on the back of the board or is it to be used elsewhere as
> > well?
> >
> > Douglas McDonald
> The pairing feature would primarily be provided for use with objects (arcs,
> fills, pads, strings, or tracks) that are part of some component (so that
> the Layer property of such objects automatically changes in an appropriate
> manner when their parent component changes which side of the PCB it is on),
> but would *also* be applicable (to some extent) to "free" objects (those
> which are *not* part of some component). While the use of the L key (while
> moving selected items or single components or other objects) is arguably
> currently "broken" to some extent, any "free" object should still *also*
> change which layer it is on, if it is on a Mechanical layer that has been
> (user-)paired to another Mechanical layer, and the L key is pressed while it
> is being moved (either by itself or as one of a number of objects that are
> currently in a selected state).
> In that regard, the paired Mechanical layers would behave like the existing
> layers of a paired nature, to wit the Overlay, Paste Mask, Solder Mask, and
> external signal (copper) layers.
> Both "free" objects and non-"free" objects on such layers would also change
> layers in the event that the *entire* PCB file was inverted, and regardless
> of whether the inversion was of a Standard or Deep nature, and regardless of
> whether the inversion was provided with Protel or implemented by an
> user-provided addon server.
> I also envisage that users could pair Mechanical layers on an "as-needed"
> basis, so that up to eight pairs of paired Mechanical layers would be
> available for those needing that many, while others would alternatively be
> able to pair a smaller number of Mechanical layers, or even none at all.
> The implementation could be simplified to some extent (with no loss in the
> ability to control how many pairs of Mechanical layers are provided) by
> restricting the pairing feature to "adjacent" Mech layers. As such, Mech 1
> could be paired with Mech 2, but no other layer; similarly, Mech 3 could be
> paired with Mech 4, but no other layer; ... ; Mech 15 could be paired with
> Mech 16, but no other layer. And for each such pair of "adjacent" Mech
> layers, the user could select whether those two layers actually are paired
> to one another or not.
> One way of implementing the associated user interface would be for the
> "Setup Mechanical Layers" dialog box to incorporate another eight Checkboxes
> (perhaps on a second Tab with a title of 'Pairing', but otherwise on the
> existing 'Properties' Tab). One of those (new) Checkboxes would select (and
> display) whether Mech 1 and Mech 2 are paired to one another or not, etc.
> Conceptually, Mechanical layers could *presently* be paired to one another,
> if an user-provided addon server was implemented which incorporated a
> Process for controlling (and displaying) which layers are paired to one
> another (details of which layers are thus paired could be retained, and
> within the PCB file itself, by the use of Embedded objects, a feature
> provided by Protel for use by developers), and one or more Processes for
> updating the layer properties of objects on such layers as required. A
> relatively recent post to this forum suggests that someone else actually has
> done this (or at least some of those aspects). *However*, if a component is
> moved to the opposite side of the PCB while using the L key (or invoking a
> 'Component' dialog box and then changing the 'Layer' property within that),
> any objects within the component that are on Mech layers of a user-paired
> nature will *not* have their Layer property appropriately updated at the
> time (unless the addon server was clever enough to be able to monitor that
> situation, and then arrange those properties to also be updated as required,
> but that would be no small task to implement, assuming it could even be done
> at all). And *that* is the reason why it would be desirable for this feature
> to be built into Protel itself.
> In more recent times, I suggested a couple of alternative options, such as
> providing eight (or sixteen) entirely new layers which would provide four
> (or eight) new "hard-wired" pairs of layers (for use *both* with components
> *and* otherwise, as desired by each user), or else providing the user with
> the ability to define new layers as desired (similar to Autocad and PCAD),
> together with the ability to pair these to one another as desired (similar
> to past versions of PCAD (and past/present versions of Autocad?)). In any
> event, I strongly suspect that the existing four pairs of paired layers is a
> source of frustration for at least some users, who would want to have more
> such layers available for their use.
> Regards,
> Geoff Harland.
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