Creating and merging saved board layouts

I am sure others do this all the time. I have created a circuit for a daughter board to mount on a single board computer. I have created a “standard” PCB with the drill holes and header layouts. Now I need to merge this to the PC generated from my schematic.
–I took it for granted that this would just be a cut and paste but that didn’t work
–I tried to save my daughter board layout as a foot print but there is now way to do this (understandably)
–I examined templates but these work the other way around (you start with the template). Also I may merge more than one layout for form a composite “standard” board.
–I looked at an option on this forum “append” but that did not work and I want to do it at the project level anyways.

So—what am I missing here?

I don’t think you are missing anything. In general KiCad is “one project - one board” type of software. Everything you do to “merge” boards will be a workaround with various downsides.

That said, I don’t see a reason why appending your standard PCB shouldn’t work.
Can you elaborate on what didn’t work in that workflow?

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Thanks. Quite surprising-I am evaluating KiCad and finding that most of the common board design operations that we use constantly are not provided by this facility.
I did the “work around” and found out what was happening-the appended board was well off the screen and I could reclaim it by zooming out but then of course the critical alignment off parts was all off. I also noted that after saving the result, several other files were generated including a new “pro” file. I am a little uneasy with using a kludge method for what is a normal commonly used operation for most other EDAs so perhaps this is not the best choice for me.
Thank you for your time.

The way to do this in kicad is by using either a footprint that holds these things or by using a template project (with these features locked such that you can not accidentally move them later on)

Copy paste between projects will most likely come in v6 but it will still not guarantee that you do not move stuff around by accident without locking. So the footprint route might be the best option even there.

I recommend using a footprint, but as you noticed, you just can’t save a board as a footprint - understandably. However, it’s not logically impossible to create a footprint out of relevant parts of a board. And indeed in 5.99 (the development version leading to 6.0) you can copy some footprints and other items from a board and paste them to a new footprint in the footprint editor. It’s not nearly perfect yet but if you want to make KiCad better you can test it (with a dedicated project, not a production project!) and report bugs and wishes.

If you don’t use new features in 5.99 footprint editor the footprint should even be backwards compatible with 5.1.

I have made some “shield” projects the hard way. For example I have exported some gerbers of the mainboard project with gerbview into graphic layers and used them as guidelines when positioning the pin header or drill hole footprints. I also have some motherboards as footprints (with pads), but unfortunately I don’t remember how I made them.

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