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An empty board outline is a PCB designer’s empty canvas. Components are the designer’s paint palette, and the traces are the brush strokes used to blend and mesh the components together on the canvas. The subject matter is defined by the schematic entry and the tone is often set according to the purpose of the design. The subject matter’s form emerges during placement and takes shape when routed. The aesthetic nature of a PCB or PCBA is typically judged by the designer’s use of symmetry, focal points, and centers of interest.
The enjoyment experienced by observing a bee (a bilaterally symmetric insect) symbiotically interact with a flower (a radially symmetric plant) is derived from the realization of two well-proportioned beings striking a mutually equitable existence, a classic win-win scenario. I surmise that our use of symmetry in our own creations is our sincerest form of flattery to these well-balanced relationships. Hence, we have embedded symmetry in nearly all aspects of our lives—from our homes, roads, and bridges, right down to the printed circuit board designs present in our modern-day electronics.
We are hard wired to identify symmetry, we tend to find it appealing, and the subject of PCB design is no exception. Symmetry in PCB design is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and the physical balance of components, traces, and layers convey deeper meanings to the observer.
Further observation will reveal that this board design is the physical representation of two identical circuits running vertically and each circuit is composed of two sub-sections distinctly spaced apart horizontally.
These PCBs and circuit boards that exhibit symmetry are typically easier to troubleshoot and repair because defects that disrupt the symmetrical nature of the design are easy to identify.
To read this entire article, which appeared in December 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.
Andy Shaughnessy, Design007 Magazine
Despite all of the talk about the need for communication between designers and manufacturers, many PCB designers still do not talk with their manufacturers for a variety of reasons. Altium and MacroFab aim to change this dynamic. In this interview, Ted Pawela, chief ecosystem officer of Altium and head of Altium’s Nexar Business Unit, and MacroFab CEO Misha Govshteyn, discuss the new Altimade manufacturing service that Altium is introducing in partnership with MacroFab. Ted and Misha provide an overview of the Altimade process, how it links designers to fabricators, assembly providers, and component distributors, and they explain how it could pave the way for true design with manufacturing, or DWM.
I-Connect007 Editorial Team
When we want to find out what challenges our readers are facing, we just ask. And they don’t mind sharing—the good, the bad, and the ugly. In a recent survey, we asked our PCB designer readers, “Why don’t you know who is going to manufacture your boards?” Here are some of more interesting replies we received, edited slightly for clarity. Do you see yourself in these replies?
Scott Miller, FreedomCAD Services
There is a new acronym bubbling up in the design world: DWM, which stands for “design with manufacturing.” Why is this different than design for manufacturing, or DFM? With DWM, the emphasis is on integration between the design team and the manufacturers during the design process. DWM is much more than that. We are tasked with producing designs that meet various technical requirements, yet are cost-effective and manufacturable. We provide this service to hundreds of customers who have varying degrees of processes, tools, and manufacturing partners. Given this diversity, we have recognized the importance of designing with manufacturing to achieve the product development goals of manufacturability and technical excellence.