Single project with multiple PCBs


#1

I’m working on a design that will consist of two small boards that will be connected and sandwiched together via 0.1" pin headers. What’s the best way to work on a project with 2 PCBs in Upverter? I guess I could create two separate “Projects” but they are so directly related it would be nice to keep them together. I could route slots between two sections of a single board to create break-apart halves—but I’d rather not have the rough edges. Is there any elegant way to do this?


#2

As a hobbyist, I order in small quantities and try to use the most inexpensive options on the board. To get the low prices, we must route slots for multiple boards in a single order. This implies that the best way to get multiple boards in a single design, is to have V-grooves between the boards. If I was selling stuff, the cost of a V-groove would be insignificant. If I were ordering in large enough quantities, the V-groove would be free.

The obvious follow up question is: “How do I put a V-groove in my design?”. I don’t know exactly. You select the mechanical layer, and put something on that layer. I hope someone else will answer that part.

My goal is to design an opto-isolated H-bridge that can control 30 amps from 12 to 24 volts for driving DC motors, while keeping the per board BOM plus stencil cost below $10 per board at quantity 20. I am very close to my budget limit. Spending an extra $7 could put me over the edge. The board is at Y3MD2015. I’m moving parts around to make more clearance around the mounting holes. Another goal is to finish the design by the end of the year, so I don’t have to rename the board.


#3

Did you ever find a method of making multiple pcbs on a single schematic? I would like to export the gerber files separately. I want to do a similar thing by stacking the pcbs attached with headers!
Thanks!


#4

Hi there acs14007,

Yeah, it turned out really simple. I just put everything in a single schematic and created two board outlines in the pcb layout tool. Double-click to define one, drag it elsewhere, then double click again to define another rectangle.

This technique has some issues though:

  1. the flood fills don’t work properly when there are multiple board outlines. I have brought this issue up to Upverter support, but I am sure they’d appreciate another reminder ;). As a workaround you can layout your components on both boards, then delete one of the boards, do your fills, then recreate the one you deleted and delete the other outline, do the other board fills, and finally recreate the other board outline.

  2. in order to avoid drc failures, I named the signals and planes differently on the second board, even though they would eventually connected (VCC and VCC_2 for example)

I ended up using this strategy and it the boards produced via osh park actually came out great.

I will post a link once I am ready to share my design.


#5

Thank You! That is incredibly useful!

I would be excited to see your schematic!

Thanks


#6

Thats a great solution. But such a hack. I’ve made sure we’ve got in our list of features to look at for our next feature push. Thanks for the reminder!


#7

acs14007: Here it is: https://upverter.com/joeyhagedorn/f3f2c238aae66400/DC-002/

I’m working on putting together a blog post about the project. Will still likely be a while until that is done.


#8

Thats amazing, looks awesome. Thanks for sharing!