Jump to content
KZ3

Diptrace

Recommended Posts

Just wanted to start a thread on Diptrace. I know some are interested in board design and ordering so hopefully we can get some information on how to do that here. I will be adding what I know to this topic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I'm interested! I use FreePCB and although it does what I need it is no longer supported.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Without having the program on this computer I will add what I know from memory :blink: and add to it later.

 

I know you can draw a schematic and then transfer it to the board drawing program and I did do that once, but I find just starting in the board program easier and just placing the connections manually.

 

You will have to go through the top menu options to find where in the drop downs you can find these options as I don't know off hand. You can set your units and design rules you want before you start your project. Design rules are basically an option when you check your board at the end for problems, which I will mention later. You can also zoom in or out on your board to make things easier to see and change the scaling which set the spacing between components and traces.

 

To start I add my board outline. You can click and drag it or enter in say 2 inches by 3 inches and it will draw it for you. Then at the top you will see a list of libraries and you can go through those lists and the items on the left hand side will change. Say you want to add a header to your board. You go to the top and find the headers library and select that. Then on the left you will see a long list of header options. When you find the one you're looking for and move your arrow over it and the image will appear on the screen. If it is what you want just move it over and place it on your board wherever you want. You just repeat that with every component you want to add. You can also click and hold on the part and hit the spacebar to rotate the part. You can right click on the component and it will give you lots of options for naming it or the pads. You can also change the side of the board it's on, or lock it so you can't accidentally move it, or if you use the auto component placing option you can lock a component in a position on the board, and it will stay there and place the other components around it.

 

Ok, once you have all of you components placed either inside or outside of your board I just start clicking on what connections I want. Such as click on the positive battery header position and connect the line to the positive contact for my picaxe. I just go through and place all the connections I need and it will look like a big spider web mess. After you are done you either have your components placed where you want on the board, or if they are outside of your board you can now choose to select to auto place your components. It will then try different combinations according to your connections to place your components. Sometimes there isn't enough space and it won't do it until you increase your board size. After it places them in you can move some of the components around for a better fit and shrink the board down. You can also say lock all of your headers around the outside of the board so when you run the auto placement they won't move from where you want them.

 

Now that all your components are place I run the autorouter option. That will draw all of your traces according to what you connected. Sometimes it can't route a certain connection and it will just show the blue line still. You then have to click on the trace button on the top and manually draw it. You more than likely will change some of the traces it drew as well. Just delete what the program did and draw one yourself. You can also click on the trace and make it larger if you want or slide a portion of it if it's to close to another trace or pad.

 

Once you have it looking like a board you can go to the top and click on check design rules. It will then go through and check for errors based on the rules you set in the beginning. Such as distance between traces and component pads, or the edge of the board. If it finds an error it will circle it in red and then you just go back and move what you have to. You then can click on net connectivity and check to make sure all your connections are valid.

 

You can also right click on the pads and make them any size or shape you want. If you run a manual trace you can add a static via to it. This will allow you to start your trace on one side of the board and then continue it on the other. It lets you work around other traces so you don't cross over.

 

Your board is now done and what I do to order it from OSH Park is the following.

 

I create on my desktop a folder to store my project gerber files. I go to my project on diptrace and at the top I go to file export gerber files. I select export all and select the folder I just made. It will then go through all the files it will export there and you just keep hitting the save button until they are all in the folder. Then you have to go back and select file export N/C drill file. You select both sides and it will pop up some notice and just click yes and it will export a file called through into the same folder. That's it as far as exporting your files and you are done with diptrace.

 

You now will go into the folder you made and open it up to look at the files. The only files you need in there are Board Outline, Bottom, bottom mask, bottom silk, Top, Top mask, Top silk, and through. The paste and assay you can delete. After you do that you right click on the folder and zip it. This will place another folder on your desktop showing it's zipped.

 

Go to OSH Park website and create a user and login. Then click on get started now. Then click on select a file from your computer. Select that zipped folder and it will say it's processing. You can then name your project. If it's good to go you will see several pictures of your board and it will show you what the different files look like. If you are OK with it then you can save it as a project and order it whenever, or order it right away. It will give you the price for 3 boards and you can pay with paypal. It will also give you an estimate on which upcoming panel it will be added to. It's usually added that day or the next. You are done! That project will be stored in your account and you can reorder it anytime. You will then get email updates on when it was sent to the fab, when they expect it back, then when they receive it back, and finally when they ship it with a tracking number.

 

 

That's it!

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

I placed a order with OSH yesterday with some stuff I made in FreePCB just to see how it would turn out. Cost was only $5 so it was a cheap experiment. I usually use a Chinese manufacturer and can get 10 2-layer boards for ~$12 shipped but it can sometimes take up to three weeks to get them. I'd gladly pay a little more for if these are made in the USA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

That OSH Park looks awesome for prototypes! And AMEN on keeping them here in the USA.

Edited by ghoot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×