At 10:50 AM 5/21/2004, Indrek Rebane wrote:
Protel Hell wrote:
EM waves don't care what it looks like

Engineers do.

As do those who pay the bills. I've never seen a check signed "EM waves."

Yes, if a product does not function, prettiness will count for very, very little. But within the range of what functions, how a board looks is indeed quite important.

Back in the days of tape and mylar, I used to do very curvy designs. I'd trace hug, my designs were quite obviously not done by some computer. But I lost a contract because an engineering manager didn't like the way they looked. He liked the nice even appearance of 0-45-90 routing.

Further, it was also true that such routing, even with manual tape, was easier to modify. So I learned to be very fast at creating 45 degree bends in tape, the procedure came to be that I would cut the tape part-way through so that it would bend with very low stress, it would make a bend that looked pretty much like a photoplotted trace looks, i.e., the inner corner is crisp, the outer corner is a curve. By the time the whole thing was reduced to size, it would take a very close examination to see that it was done by hand.

And I could beat computer-aided design quite easily. But I also saw the writing on the wall, the computers were getting faster and cheaper and the software better, so, when I could afford it (and prodded by Mssrs Necessity and Opportunity), I went to CAD.

As to "EM waves" not caring what it looks like, this is actually ... a bit off. Let me put it this way. If a design is truly optimized according to what EM Waves "like," it will follow certain rules; those rules will result in a certain uniformity of appearance which the eye will probably be able to detect and to appreciate as "order."

In other words, a pleasing appearance is a sign though not a proof of good design.

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