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Decals that include a Placement Outline and a Component Outline

Question asked by cbedard on Apr 1, 2015

Has anyone had luck running Create PDF with a Component Outline (on any layer other than Top) that shows up OVER other Copper features such as SMT pads, thru hole pads, traces, copper shapes, copper pours?


Our PCB files are used by:

1. Design Engineers to create a PCB.

2. Me to create Assembly Drawings. (Right now I am using a Custom CAM document and printing to PDF to do that)


So there are a couple of reasons having two different outlines is useful.  Having a placement outline that is a 2D Line on layer Top is beneficial to the design engineers for use during component placement.  They can easily line up placement outlines side by side to see how close they can put components.  The placement outline will show up automatically since they will have the layer they are placing the component on turned on.  The placement outline typically is about .004" bigger than the device package and any copper for SMT or thru hole pins as well as any associated copper.

We also need a different outline that shows a real physical Component Outline.  This outline is smaller than the placement outline.  It shows the actual outline of the package.  This Component Outline is useful to have for use as silk screen as well as on the assembly drawing.


Using the Custom CAM document to print to a PDF does not make a searchable PDF.


I've learned that using Create PDF allows for searching of reference designators which is VERY helpful for basically anyone using the assembly drawing to look for a component.  The problem is that I have not been able to find a layer or line type (other than a 2D line on layer Top) that will show up on top of all of the copper features on the assembly drawing.


You can see in the attached screen shots that the grey placement outlines of Q21 and Q9 are lined up side by side.  You can also see the brown component outlines that show where the actual package body will be.  One picture shows the component outline on top of everything else.  The other has it hidden under all of the copper features.  The third screen shot shows how the component outlines are hidden when Create PDF is used.


Does anyone know how I can force the component outline to show up on top of everything else?  I'm open to changing how our decals are made if there is a different way to successfully use two outlines.


Thanks for any info!