bluePrint Tech Tips
BluePrint Panel Array Functionality
Designers often panelize single boards into arrays or sub-panels. Documenting the finished panel and adding features such as pinning holes, fiducials, score lines and breakaway tabs can be difficult and time consuming in today’s CAD and CAM tools. BluePrint has panel drawing elements and tools that simplify the panel documentation process.
On the left side of the BluePrint application you will find the Tool Palettes. Tool Palettes are organized by function and contain drawing elements that you can drag and drop onto your drawing sheet. Using the Panel Drawing palette you can quickly create and position arrayed panels, fiducials, pinning holes, web routes, mill tabs, score lines, details and associated drill charts.
Below: Main User Interface Layout
A Pinning Hole is typically a drill and can be displayed as a drill symbol or a circle representing the drill size. BluePrint installs with a library of Pinning Holes. You can also create your own pinning hole using BluePrint’s Create Drill tool and save it to the library with a specified name.
Fiducials, also known as circuit pattern recognition marks, allow automated assembly equipment to accurately locate and place parts on boards. A fiducial in BluePrint is typically represented by a circle, but can be created as any shape. BluePrint installs with a library of fiducials. You can also create your own fiducial using BluePrint’s drafting tools and BluePrint’s Make Fiducial command.
Creating a Panel in BluePrint is simple. Just as you would drag and drop a top-side view, you can drag and drop a top-side, bottom-side, drill, or board outline panel. A 2x2 panel is automatically created on your sheet based on the imported CAD data.
BluePrint supports two modes for creating arrayed board images. In Auto-calculate mode, BluePrint will generate values based on the manual setting of corresponding values. For instance, you can manually set the number of board images in the X and Y axis and BluePrint will automatically calculate the Panel Size taking into account the board dimensions, border and board image spacing. A preview window on the Format dialog displays the auto-calculated board images in real-time. This is very helpful when trying to determine how to maximize the panel space. BluePrint also supports a Spreadsheet mode which allows the user to specify the exact placement, rotation and format for each PCB image.
Adding pinning holes to the panel is easy. Simply select the Pinning Holes tab on the Format Panel Drawing dialog and then select the Add button. The Add Pinning Hole dialog will appear. Select the pinning hole you want from the library list and then set the position on the panel. You can add as many pinning holes as you need.
Adding fiducials to the panel is just as easy as adding pinning holes. Simply select the Fiducials tab on the Format Panel Drawing dialog and then select the Add button. The Add Fiducials dialog will appear. Select the Fiducial you want from the library list and then set the position on the panel. You can add as many fiducials as you need.
Web routes represent the path that a router bit would make after it has run around the edge of an individual board. BluePrint can automatically creae a web route for a board in the panel. You can add Mill Tabs to the web route. You can copy and paste web routes from one board to others. You can also merge overlapping web routes on the panel. To add a web route you simply select a board in the panel and execute the Add Webroute command from the context menu.
Mill Tabs represent the remaining material once a router bit has run around the edge of the individual board. These tabs are what hold the board to the panel while the board is assembled. BluePrint installs with a library of Mill Tab styles. You can create your own Mill Tabs using BluePrint’s Mill Tab Manager and add and delete them from BluePrint’s library. To add a Mill Tab to a web route you simply drag and drop the Mill Tab drawing element from the Panel Drawing palette or you execute the Add Mill Tab command and specify the position.
Once you complete the web route and mill tab definition for a single board in the panel, you can copy that web route to all board images in the panel with a single context menu command.
BluePrint will automatically cleanup overlapping routes and mill tabs and remove “islands” created by the Merge Web Route command.
All of BluePrint’s dimensioning tools are available to you when dimensioning the panel. You can dimension from an origin and automatically snap to the panel, mill tabs, drills, components, pads, etc…
Panel Drill Chart – Drag and drop a drill chart that automatically populates with a complete panel count, including pinning holes.
Panel Drawing Notes – Drag and drop your Panel Noteblock.
Mill Tab Detail – Drag and drop a Mill Tab detail that corresponds to the Mill Tabs on your panel.
Route and Arc Segments – Leverage BluePrint’s Route and Arc segments to mitre panel corners and create panel rails.
Score Lines – Drag and drop horizontal and vertical score lines onto your panel.
Panel Coordinate Chart – Drag and drop a panel coordinate chart which will automatically populate with component positions for the entire panel.