Hi, Kiernan;

Using Mid Layers with Polygon Pours and routed tracks works fairly well.
Obviously, breaks in the Internal Plane can wreak havoc with controlled-
impedance traces, switching-supply circuitry and the like, so it's good
to confine this approach to areas where Plane continuity isn't critical.
You can maximize continuity and minimize orphaned Plane connections
by adhering as strictly as possible to orthogonality of the added internal
traces; ie, Vertical on Mid 1 and Horizontal on Mid 2. 

Unfortunately, this adds vias to the outer copper. I find it easiest
to rout all power and ground tags first, then outer copper traces, and finally
pick up needed Mid Layer traces before pouring the Mid Layer Polygons.
(I find the Plow-through distracting.)

Actually, it is possible to use portions of Internal Planes for traces, but
it's
a multistep process. Basically, you create voids in the Internal Plane layer
where you'd like to place traces, using area fills or wide tracks of the same 
Plane layer...these act as Keepouts for the Plane Layer generator. Then,
insert a new layer into the board using he layer stack manager. Use the
new layer to rout the few added traces by staying within the area of the
"keepout"
on the Internal Plane. After the board is routed and Gerbers generated 
(including the added layer), import the Gerbers into Camtastic, and using its 
tools, combine the "extra" layer with the Internal Plane having voids in
the needed 
locations. Then save the Camtastic Gerbers as a new Gerber set. While this
works, it adds steps and can be a nightmare to edit. Best used for
emergencies!

Brian
 
At 02:34 PM 3/15/02 +0000, you wrote:
>
>I'm still on my first PCB under P99SE. I need to add quite a few extra
routes, 
>but the PCB is really dense. Can I route these on the InternalPlane layers? 
>Should I have used Polygon pours on ordinary layers instead? If I am
allowed to 
>use the plane layers, then how can I tell whether I'm going to isolate some 
>connections from others and how can I clean up where the trace ploughing
would 
>leave nasty slices / lost copper? Also on plane layers can I pull the plane 
>completely away from a particular area? And finally, if I use a polygon on a 
>normal layer, then how do I create the thermal reliefs?
>
>Sorry for all the questions. Thanks in advance.
>
>
>Kiernan Fitzpatrick
>
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