At 02:33 PM 10/30/2002 -0500, you wrote:
...not that I know of...but your board assembly shop usually curses you and
cleans them up ...happened to me a couple of times.
Hey Rich,

Advanced Circuits (my primary boardhouse) does cleanup, but I have seen a few boardhouses out there who just print right over the pads!! A friend bought some home-brew, assemble-yourself 'kits' that were manufactured in the UK, containing a fair number of SMT parts, and I was surprised to see silkscreen overprinting on them! Makes it often difficult to assemble when you've silkscreen on the SMT pads where the solder should be sticking!

Guess it depends on your boardhouse. Auto-clipping of the silkscreen by your boardhouse (if they offer it) is handy, but unfortunately as I've had happen in the past, when it's at the expense of making the designators unreadible it can become a big problem. The main thing I've actually had bite me a few times is the problem with vias (and their pads) punching through text without me realizing it.

A quick fix (although not as nice as the rules!) would be to do something like:

Design->Options->(Layers Tab)->ALL OFF to turn off all layers, then check 'Top Overlay' (silkscreen) and 'Top Solder' (mask) as active, and then close the menu. Select the 'Top Solder' tab at the bottom of the Protel window to put you into viewing the Top Solder mask as your working/highest-priority layer to be displayed.

What this will do is show you your silkscreening, and then overlay any 'holes' in the solder mask on top of it, thus covering up the silkscreen on the screen and showing you where things overlap. It's pretty easy to then see where portions of designators or text are being covered over by the negative solder mask, and you can easily grab the designators and move them around. If the problem is of your boardhouse PRINTING them when you don't want them, view TOP OVERLAY as the main priority, and simply look to see if anything is crossing any critical pads.

Good luck in any case - hope this helps! :>

-- Matt

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