The Layout Process

Now that you’ve had an introduction into the PCB design process and an introduction to the PCB Editor tools in Altium Designer, it’s now time to start walking through your PCB layout and some strategies you can use to place components. Although there is no specific process for placing components that designers have to follow, there are some steps you can take to ensure your board can be easily routed. Once you’ve finished placing components, your board should be routable, functional, and manufacturable.

How To Start Your PCB Layout

Before you place any components on your board, it’s highly recommended you set up any important design rules for your project. In Altium Designer and other professional design programs, the default rules will be good enough for most designs, but you should still contact your fabricator about their processing limits before you start laying out your board. If you do this, you can usually prevent the need to move components and reroute traces later.

The next step is to define your board outline. If you have a fixed board outline in mind, you can follow the instructions shown in Unit 2 to create your board outline in Altium Designer. Generally, if you’re working as part of a design team, you’ll be given a board outline from your mechanical designer in a formal drawing. You can also recreate the board outline from this drawing using the tools in your ECAD software.

You can create your board outline in a mechanical design program before you create the PCB. This fits in the standard workflow used by professional design teams.

Once all these two tasks are complete, you can start to develop a strategy for placing groups of components around the PCB.

Complete and Continue