Resources for EAGLE PCB Design Software

Posted October 11, 2011
Last Updated December 5, 2011

This page has some information and resources that you may find useful when working with EAGLE PCB design software.

This EAGLE Reference is a summary of the commands in the Schematic, Board, and Library modules. It also has a few tips.

Design Rule (DRU) files:

  • 8 mil — Allows spacing as close as 8 mil. This is the file I usually use for the DRC (Design Rule Check).
  • 8 mil with cream adjustment for laser-cutting solder stencils — Click the "Apply" button after loading this to adjust the cream layers to account for laser kerf.
  • 10 mil — Allows spacing as close as 10 mil.

The board fabrication CAM file generates these Gerber files:
 CMPComponent side (top) copper
 SOLSolder side (bottom) copper
 STCSolder mask "Stop" on Component side
 STSSolder mask "Stop" on Solder side
 PLCPlacement text (silkscreen) on Component side
 DRDDrill Data

It is a good idea to make sure that the Gerber files generated look right, especially when stacked together. I use GC-Prevue (freeware) on Windows.

The stencil CAM file generates EPS files that can be used to produce laser-cut stencils. It creates files for both top and bottom surfaces. Note that the bottom (solder-side) file here is produced mirrored. This is unlike the solder-side layers in the board CAM file, which are not mirrored. For stencils, I wanted the image to match what I'd see looking at the bottom of the board.

I have had solder stencils laser-cut from 3 mil mylar (that I supplied) at Metrix Create:Space. The settings they used: raster, uni-directional, 20% power, speed 400, resolution 0.064mm (400 ppi).

More recently, I've used a cutting plotter to cut stencils at home.

Tips

Wait for board layout to make MCU pin assignments when a specific pin isn't required. Deferring this decision enables you to choose a pin that's near the component and minimizes trace length or crossing traces.

Remember to include a programming header.

Don't forget to consider mounting holes.

If you won't have a silkscreen, you can add orientation marks in the copper layer.

On the schematic, connections can be made via naming instead of physical wire connections.

 
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