Panel Builder

Panel Builder

Coming soon...

Create Panel (Simple)

There are two ways to quickly create simple panels.

Generation according to scheme

Main window

The two tabs switch between the generation according to the schema and the simple automatc generation. For simple automatic generation see Simple Automatic Generation. The red bordered window shows an already created schemata. The displayed schemes can be filtered by number, only those with a certain number of PCBs can be displayed. Expressions such as ">4" or "<=12" are also allowed to display only schemes with more than four or equal to or less than twelve PCBs. In the field "Panel Name" the name of the panel to be created is entered.                                                                                                                                                                                            To create a utility according to one of the schemes, either select the scheme and click on the "Create Panel" button, or right-click on the scheme and select "Create Panel" from the context menu (see next picture). The small rectangles are the individual PCBs. The number in the rectangles is the rotation of the corresponding PCB and the yellow lines mark V-Shears.  

This view shows the context menu when right-clicking on a schema. The selected schema is bordered in orange.

  1. Edit Pattern: Opens the editor for editing schemas with the selected schema.
  2. Delete Pattern: Deletes the selected schema.
  3. Create Pattern: Opens the editor to create a new schema.

Schema Editor

This image shows the editor for creating and editing schemata.

1. With "Count Y" and "Count X" the number of PCBs can be set between each other (Y) or next to each other (X). A click on the button "Refresh Preview" will update the view 3.

2. The  following settings can also be defined:

  1. Distance to Edge: The distance of the PCBs to the outer edge of the panel.
  2. Distance between Steps: Distance between the PCBs.
  3. V-Shear Distance: Distance between the PCBs at V-Shears.
  4. Panel Name: Name for the benefit. This setting is optional and overwrites the name in the previous chapter´s window.

With the "Export" button, the schema can be exported as an XML file. The button "Save" saves the schemata in the directory of the design. The key combination                     "Ctrl+S" can also be used to save the schema.

3. The view contains a preview of the schema. With the checkmarks V-Shears can placed between the corresponding rows/columns. The number fields can be used to adjust the angles of the individual fields of the schemata. To edit several fields at the same time, they can be selected with "Shift+left-click". A right-click on one of the fields opens the following context menu. 

 4. The button "Chessboard Pattern" selects the fields according to a chessboard pattern. The button "Reserve Selection" inverts the selection. A click on "All" selects all fields of the scheme. A click on "Row" selects all fields which are in the same line as the field previously selected by right-clicking. The button "Column" works like "Row", but selects all fields of the same column. All selections can be combined by holding down the shift key.

In the submenu "Set Angle" a common rotation can be assigned to all selected fields. 0°, 90°, 180° and 270° are available for preselection. By clicking on the "Custom" button, any angle from 0°-360° can be specified and assigned at 1° intervals.

 

Simple automatic generation

With the help of this tool, simple labels can be created quickly and automatically. The PCBs are arranged according to their surrounding rectangles to save as much space as possible.

  1.  "Panel Name" defines the name of the generated user. With "Used Step" the design to be used can be selected.
  2. You can choose whether the PCBs should be placed in a certain rectangular area ("Panel Size") or in a grid-like manner for generation according to a scheme (see above).
  3. Brutto Width indicates the total width of the blank, "Brutto Height" the total height. The upper field at "Manufacturer Edge" defines the minimum distance of the PCBs to the upeer and lower edge of the blank. The lower field is the minimum distance to the right and left edges. The net values show the available dimensions after deducting the minimum distances. If the "Allow Rotation" check mark is set, the PCBs may be rotated to achieve better use of the area.
  4. The Router fields set the distance between the PCBs when no V-Shear is used. The fields "V-Shear" are the corresponding distances if V-Shears are used. In both cases, the right field is the horizontal distance and the left field is the vertical distance. Which distances are used is determined by the check boxes.
  5. If the option "Step Count" has been selected for 2., you can set how many PCBs are to be places horizontally or vertically next to each other. The rotation can also be activated or deactivated via a check box.
  6. The Step on Origin option places the PCBs so that the lower left corner oft the lower left PCB is exactly at the coordinate origin. If the "Bounds on Origin" option is selected, the bottom left corner of the panel edge will be at the coordinate origin. A click on "Create optimized Panel" creates a panel with the above configurations.

Create Panel (Intelligent Nesting)

The Nesting Panel Optimizer automatically generates space-efficient panels from one or more designs.

Settings

1. The desired design can be selected in the dropdown menu and added by clicking on the "Add" button in the set number. The currently selected design in the main window is preset. Please note that you should set the expected number that fits the use. Otherwise it can take a long time until a good solution is found. In the "New Panel Name" field, enter the name of the panel to be created.

2. In this window, the designs to be placed are listed with their set number. The dimensions (width x height) of the design are displayed in the right column. 

3. Here, the dimensions of the blank can be entered. "Gross Width" corresponds to the total width of the blank, "Gross Height" to the total heigt. The net values refer to the area minus the distance that must be kept to the edge (see 4.).

4. These settings define minimum distances to the edge and between the designs.

  1.  X Left: The minimum distance to the left edge of the blank.
  2.  X Right: The minimum distance to the right edge of the blank.
  3.  X Top: The minimum distance to the upper edge of the blank.
  4. X Bot: The minimum distance to the bottom edge of the blank.
  5.  Distance Between PCBs: The minimum distance between single PCBs.

5. These buttons can be used to define areas on the panel which should remain free. The "Add from Selection" button creates areas from the objects selected in the main window and adds them to the list. Areas that are not within the use are ignored. Both buttons open the window below. New areas can be created and existing ones edited or deleted in the opened menu. The coordinates at "Position" refer to the center of the area.

6. If the check mark for "Allow Rotation" is not set, the PCBs are not rotated to achieve a possibly better utilization. If the check mark is set, the following options are available:

  1.  Any Rotation: The PCBs can accept any angle in 1° increments relative to the original design.
  2.  Multiple of 90 Degrees: The PCBs are not rotated or rotated 90°, 180° or 270°.
  3.  Multiple of 180 Degrees: The PCBs are not rotated or rotated 180°.

7. Via "Max. Calculation Steps" you can set the number of attempts after which the calculation should produce a better result. "Max. Calculation Time" indicates the maximum time the calculation should run before it is set automatically. The time limit can be deactivated if desired.

8. This switch starts the automatic generation with the settings made.

 

Running Time

When the automatic generation is started, this windows opens. It provides an overview of the current status of the calculation.

  1. The loading bar indicates that the calculation is still in progress. Above this, there is the maximum number of PCBs placed so far and next to it, you will find the number of the current test, as well as the maximum number of tests. The "Cancel" button can be used to interrupt the calculation at any time in order to select the best intermediate result. A small preview of the currently best use is shown in the red bordered area. The yellow markers represent the previously defined keepouts.
  2. In the log window some small values of the intermediate results are displayed. Below, there is the used are of the original blank and the minimum square area occupied by the placed PCBs.

 

Result

As soon as the automatic panel generation has been aborted or completetd, one or more desired results can be selected in the following window to create a panel in the main window.

  1.  One or more results can be selectd from this list by clicking. The currently selected result is displayed in the preview window on the right.
  2. If the check mark is set, all selected panels are generated by pressing "OK". Otherwise, only the single or first selected result will be generated.