I'm going through the process of generating manufacturing files. Step 1 appears to be to add a photoplot outline. To create the outline, I relied on someone using a mechanical CAD tool to generate my board outline - I imported that outline as a .dxf file and assigned it to the Board Geometry -> Outline layer.
I'm trying to re-import the same .dxf file now and assign it to the Manufacturing -> Photoplot_Outline layer. I get a message saying that the import was successful, but I can not see the photoplot outline. I've tried moving the cursor over the outline, deleting the board outline, but it just doesn't appear to be there.
How do you guys handle the board outline photoplot for complicated board outlines? I'm assuming that it is necessary for the shape of the photoplot to match the shape of my board outline exactly - is that correct?
Any help is appreciated.
Don't use a Photoplot Outline! The worst thing that happens is that you get a warning that you don't have one and the drawing extents (page size) will be used instead when the Artwork gets generated.
What happens if you DO have a Photoplot Outline in the board is that you won't get ANY Gerber / output data generated for design objects that are outside of the Photoplot Outline, like NC Legend, Drawing borders, Assembly Notes, Cross-Section legend and so on. (AND if you DO have a Photoplot Outline and change the board extents, you will be forced to jig with the Photoplot Outline again.)
Thanks for the quick response.
I was under the impression that a photoplot outline would be required for a board fab house since the true board outline in my design would not be captured in the manufacturing data (for reasons I don't undertand). Is that impression wrong?
Can you tell me what a photoplot outline is, and how it would be used? I'm more than happy not to deal with it if it isn't necessary - I really just want to assemble all necessary files to send to a board fab house for quote, so I'm looking for the fastest/easiest path to do that.
Think of the photoplot outline as a clipping / limiting window. Only Gerber that lands in the window is generated. Not normally needed.
Can be handy in a *few* cases...
I use a drawing format on all of my designs so I embedded the photoplot outline into the drawing format symbol. I made the photoplot outline the same as the outer border of the drawing format. I comes in with the drawing format symbol so I don't get any warnings in the gerber output.
Awesome - thanks for the help everyone. It's nice to have a better understanding of what the elements actually do instead of blindly following an example instruction sheet. For me, it sounds like it is not needed at all, and in the case where it might be needed, a simple rectangle capturing all of the design is all that's needed (as opposed to matching the photoplot outline to the board outline).