3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 13, 2018 8:36 AM by mtripoli3

    PCB Footprint pattern generator




      I started using CS 1.4 about a week ago at the behest of a potentially new client. To get it out of the way, I have been designing PCB's for 40 years (man, I shouldn't be able to say that; I started out on film with tape) and have used OrCAD almost exclusively, Mentor along the way, and now Diptrace almost exclusively (not super great, but does everything I need). I design high-volume consumer electronics for a living. I immediately liked CS from the start, it "feels" very "smooth", the functionality is there, however... I ran into two issues, one of which I raise here.


      From the start, I needed a new part that will not be found in any library (that I found), specifically, an FV-1 from Spin Semi. Nothing exciting, a 28 pin, 300mil SOIC. Being that I wanted to "fully experience CS" I made the schematic symbol and footprint myself, as opposed to pulling in a 28 pin device and "Saving As". As I made the symbols and footprints, I could not find anywhere any kind of "Pattern Generator" i.e. any kind of "spreadsheet" where you fill in the blanks and it generates the footprint precisely based on the input criteria. Am I overlooking something? Is this "in there" and I haven't found it? I've searched and watched every video on Youtube, nothing. Having to place each pad separately, in any CAD package in 2018, is not expected, but also if not there, makes the "tool" a time-sink instead of profit center. In this case, it was simple part, however, if I had to do something more complicated, I simply couldn't use this software.


      So, please let me know, am I overlooking where the "pattern generators" are, or are they simply not there. I'm running the trial, with the expectation to purchase at the end of the trial, however, if both the schematic symbol and PCB footprint requires one to place each pin individually, I'm going to give up on CS right now and continue to use Diptrace. Please do not suggest "just grab a library part and modify it"; that is not an answer. I do this professionally, and need access to all tools that make up a useful CAD tool, not just "copy what others have done".


      Thank you,

      Mike Tripoli

        • Re: PCB Footprint pattern generator

          Hi Mike, there is a basic footprint wizard available. Open your PCB library and then select Tools | Component Wizard.

          • Re: PCB Footprint pattern generator

            Hello Mike,


            First you need to understand that Altium CircuitStudio is a cut-out from the Altium Designer, with the UI redesigned into a ribbon-style.

            What you need is called IPC footprint generator, and it's a plugin that can be found in Altium Designer but it was not included with CircuitStudio. What Peter showed you it's a very basic footprint generator that may have been of real use a few years ago but not today.


            But rest assured, there is a solution and I think it is better even than the Altium Designer plugin. It's another software called PCB Libraries and in it's new PRO version (which is FREE) you have everything you need. How you can insert the output from this software into the CircuitStudio library, it's very well described here: IPC Compliant Footprint Wizard.

            It even generate nice 3D models, just like the AD plugin.


            The real problems with CircuitStudio are others (you can read about them on the forum) but if what you mentioned is the only issue you've encountered (easily solved like I said), then I don't think you can get a better EDA tool for the money they ask for it. So, go for it

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: PCB Footprint pattern generator



                Thank you both for your suggestions!


                Once I could find it the "Component Wizard" is 80%of what I was looking for, and had I known it was there, it would have made short work of generating the simple 28 pin pattern I needed. I don't mind this little "side-step"; doing it "manually" allowed me to get a better feel for the tools available. This little tool allows me to place exactly the pitch, etc. of the pads; it'll do fine.


                I've used PCB Libraries in the past, just messing around generating footprints for Diptrace. Diptrace's tools are okay in this regard, but at the time it was a large PGA that I needed so PCBL did a good job of it. I just downloaded it and will have another look at it.


                I agree, for the money (now) it is a very competitive package, and frankly, I understand that the plan is to make it a "gateway" to full-blown Altium; which I would be more than happy to begin using right now, IF, if, I had the dough... I said "now" in my response, as I was offered a beta test of this package very early on in it's release. If I recall, it was $2000.00 at the time. I installed it, and the first thing I looked for was the "3D model export" feature, as that is what drove me away from using OrCAD (you had to pay $1500.00 for 3D export, not going to happen). I had been using OrCAD since the DOS version (386+) but got tired of "doing boards twice"; once in OrCAD, then making a copy in Solidworks. Diptrace was the first, relatively low-cost package that had this capability, so I started using it. My biggest gripe about that package is (IMO) that the people programming it don't actually do PCB design. CS "feels" much more like a "tool". I haven't combed the forum looking at the issues others may be having; frankly, until I run into something else, I'm on course to purchase this when my trial runs out.


                Thanks again for your replies.


                Mike Tripoli