A Little Layout Helper

When designing a PCB I often come across thoughts like: How thick is a 12mil trace really? Okay, it’s around 0.3mm but how wide is that? Or: is this part an 0805 or an 0603 resistor? Is that part a SOT-23 or a SOT-323? And can I hand-solder that part with the standard footprint? There are countless of these questions. Here I present to you a solution that works at least for me:

I designed a little PCB cheat sheet. The layout elements are mostly from the KICad standard libraries. There are some hand solder parts but also the standard ones too. If I want I can place a part on top of it and see how much larger the pad is. Is it really larger than the foot of the smd part? Now I can check. I can compare track widths and see how large a certain text element will become. There are even plans for setting some drill holes in the solder pad area. Than I could check if a certain parts leg really would fit in a hole of that size.

Here is an image of revision 1:

2016-04-18 layout-helper_rev1_wp

But there were some minor errors with that. And I wanted to make it much prettier. Here is the new revision 2:

2016-04-18 layout-helper_rev2_wp

I added a 6MIL trace for comparison. I added some more resistor footprints. And I added a ruler on the top. That might be handy too. KICad files are on Github (Layout_Helper) for whoever is interested. Finally, that is how it could look like:

2016-04-18 layout-helper_rev2_red_wp

And that is the actual thing:



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BY DAY: R&D engineer at a local company developing and testing electro-mechanical devices. BY NIGHT: Writing code, developing hardware, doing wonderful awesome stuff.

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