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Create a custom PCB Board: Part 1 - Board Outline

This tutorial requires:

DesignSpark PCB V11.0.0

A primary requirement of any PCB is the board outline. For simple board outlines such as Arduino Uno shield the internal facilities are quick and easy to use. The following example uses the Arduino board dimensions created and shared by the Makers "Wayne and Layne"


This drawing provides the full details required to produce the board outline in DesignSpark PCB. The dimensions given are in mils (0.001").

Setup process

The easiest way to setup the PCB design is to work through the PCB wizard which is illustrated below. For any windows/steps not shown below simply leave them at their default.

Use the default technology file and for this example set the units to "mils" to match the source design.


We recommend using "Define Layers" and enabling the Paste and Solder Mask for ease of editing later in the design process. You may also wish to add addition layers should your designs warrant this, however we select a 2 layer PCB.


Name the PCB and click finish to save it.


Creating the board outline

The default board is now presented in the PCB tab view.

The first task is set the "relative origin" which will be used as the reference for all of the coordinates. Click at the current bottom left of the default PCB, then right click and select "Origins" and "Set Relative Origin At Item" in the pop out menu. This sets the relative origin at the corner as shown by the symbol in the image. Next with an edge of the board selected click "Del" to delete the default board outline.


The view now contains just the relative origin ready for you to create your custom outline.

Below we also set the grid to 100 mils, however this is not essential for the method of creating the board outline shown.


To start our outline, click the "Add Board" icon or use the short cut key "B"


Click on the relative origin to start your board outline, move the cursor away from this point and the board outline starts to appear. To place the end of the line at the correct first corner to the right of the relative origin use the short cut key "=" which brings up the Coordinate window, enter 2600 an 0 for the X and Y coordinates, ensure the "Rel" box is checked and click OK. The first edge of the board outline is now displayed. Note the board outline is still attached to the cursor ready for the next points.


Below the second edge to 2600,100 has been placed and we create the edge to 2700,200.


As stated, the process is repeated and generates the outline edge by edge using the coordinates around the outline from the dimensional drawing.


Once the outline is completed, double click the final edge at the end point which is the relative origin and your outline is complete. Save your design.


Attached is the board outline produced in DesignSpark PCB, however parts 2 and 3 will include additional features.

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