Creating "zone outlines" for odd shaped PCB's(Or just have them to be the shape of the cutouts)


I have an non standard PCB shape and I’d like to create a zone as close to the edge shape as possible mostly for aesthetic reasons.

Does anybody know how to do that?


This is approximately the standard procedure for doing this:

  • Export your outline (almost certainly it’s the the “Edge.cuts” layer ) to a *.dxf file. The built-in “Export” feature does not do a good job of this - there is a third-party Python script that works much better. See the last half of my post at Exporting DXF files

  • Edit the *.dxf file as necessary using a mechanical drafting program (e.g., LibreCAD, CADStd, AUtoCAD, etc). You will probably have to remove some extra layers exported from KiCAD, at least.

  • Save the *.dxf file in the appropriate dialect of DXF. (I think it’s version 12, but I’m not certain.)

  • Import the *.dxf file into KiCAD, assigning it to the desired layer. (Ummmm . . . . KiCAD may not allow you to import *.dxf files to copper layers. Import the *.dxf to any unused technical layer, such as ECO2, and then edit it to place it on a copper layer.)

This process may be easier using the OpenGL canvas in a nightly build, rather than a 4.0.x release with Legacy canvas. Beware that switching to nightly builds may make your files un-readable to the 4.0.x releases. Several threads on this Forum discuss the problem, and solutions.

Why must the zone outline replicate the edge shape? When you fill a zone it usually does an excellent job of following the edge cut (at least when the edge cut is a completely closed polygon). If the zone outline wobbles a little around the edge cut line - or even cuts across concave sections of the edge cut - the filling algorithm almost always follows the edge cut, minus the “Clearance” value set in the zone’s “Properties”. See atch image.