I use the ".Designator" string on all PCB library parts. I draw a part
outline on mechanical layer1 and the designator string. For bottom side
components I change these to mechanical layer3 by unlocking primitives and
doing a global change layer and mirror string on the ".designator" string.
I find the ".designator" string in the way a lot because it is much longer
than the 4 character designators usually found on my boards. I place the
beginning of the string within the part outline and size it so a 4 character
string remains within the part outline usually 30mil. I find myself globally
changing the size of the ".designator" string a lot using the
match-text-same option. I make it very small 15mil for parts placing and
grouping so that it is easier to select parts inside a window.  When the
layout is complete I rotate the ".designator" strings to read left to right
and up to down. I use Protel99se, for the price it really should be able to
do more for board documentation. A mirrored mechanical layer pair,
associative dimensioning,  a shorter ".designator", and move string to and
center string on component insertion point are all functions I need
everyday.  I call my layout parts placement drawing, a locator drawing. The
mechanical engineers like to use the assembly drawing term for the higher
level drawings.  Another week area for Protel99se in PCB design is creating
what I call a PCB Fabrication Specification Drawing. A readme file was ok on
simple boards before ISO, now I rely on a fab spec to hold the file names of
the gerbers the materials applicable IPC standards, UL material requirements
etc.. The Fab. Spec. is my controlling document and if a problem is found at
the board house with a layer and I need make a new gerber, I then send a new
file name for that layer along with a new rev of the Fab Spec. . I find this
important so that boards are an absolute known element and the design can
move forward over time.
Dave Eloranta
Locus Inc.
Madison, WI

-----Original Message-----
Sent:   Thursday, May 30, 2002 7:32 AM
To:     Protel EDA Forum
Subject:        Re: [PEDA] Assembly drawing reference designators

In a message dated 5/30/2002 8:16:26 AM Eastern Daylight Time,

> How do you set up a text field that reflects the reference designator?
> set up, this test string could be placed under the component for the
> assembly drawing, leaving the TopOverlay reference designator where it is.
> If the board is re-annotated, changing the reference designators, this
> string would also change to reflect the new reference designator.  Does
> anybody know how to do this?

You can place a string ".Designator" anywhere you like, including on the
mechanical layers. I just tried this on a dummy library part and it appears
to work just fine. The big reason that I haven't used this facility is that
it doesn't handle double-sided assemblies. There is no linkage between which
side the part is on, and placing that string on one of two different
drawings. It could be handled with a global edit when the design is all
to move all the .Designator strings associated with parts on the bottom
to the secondary side assembly drawing layer, but this would be error-prone.
Still, any mistakes would likely be blatantly obvious and easily fixed, so
maybe it has merit.

Steve Hendrix

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