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One idea that completely revolutionized the concept of PCB making is adding layers to it. These layers are everywhere and used for everything in a PCB – whether you have to mount the components, provide insulation while keeping the mounting pads accessible, provide power and ground to your PCB, or you need something to carry the signal traces.
Speaking of adding mask layers to PCB using Allegro layout editors, you can easily add different types of mask layers such as solder masks, overlays, paste masks, stiffener, etc. To do this, launch Cross-section Editor by choosing Setup – Cross-section or by simply clicking the Xsection icon on the PCB Editor toolbar.
To add a top solder mask layer in your design, right-click the TOP layer in the Cross-section Editor window to open the Add Layers form. Expand Mask – Designed-defined Mask Layers – Top to choose Soldermask Top. Note that to add a mask layer on the top of the conducting layer, you must select Above Conductor TOP. Similarly, to add a mask layer on the bottom of the conducting layer, you must select Below Conductor TOP.
You can then either choose the default layer function and layer material or according to the need of your design. After selecting appropriate items, you will see a summary of the type of the layer you are about to add.
Similarly, you can define as many top and bottom mask layers as you want, depending upon the need for your design. You see that this process is easy and it is no rocket science either.
But what if, after adding all the mask layers that you want in your design, you realized that you have stacked your layers in the wrong order? Well, there is no need to worry because you can easily reorder the mask layers to be in the correct order. Just choose Edit – Mask Layer Order in the Cross-section Editor window. A list of all the added mask layers will then appear and you can select and navigate the desired layers accordingly using the arrow buttons.
To learn in detail about this feature, watch the Adding and Re-Ordering Mask layers from within the Allegro PCB Editor video on the Cadence Support portal. Click the video link now or visit Cadence Support and search for this video under Video Library.
I hope that this video will help you in adding and re-ordering mask layers more easily and effectively within Allegro layout editors.
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