Disjoint outline boards and courtyards

Hello all,

In the post v6 development news thread Jeff Young writes:
“Disjoint outline courtyards are now supported, as well as disjoint outline boards.”

As a foreigner, I feel a little bit unsure exactly what this wording means.

Is it now possible to make two different pcbs that are not connected, in the same kicad-pcb file?
Or how is “disjoint outline” to be understood in this context?


Good question that also came to my mind when I saw the update in the dev thread.
I intepreted it as outlines that are not strictly forming a closed shape. And I don’t know what use case would that be. I don’t expect multiple PCBs in same file (as limiting to single PCB per board file seem a reasonable use case).

I interpreted this as more than one PCB outline in the project now supported

The non-closed shape crossed my mind too, but Merriam Websters dictionary explains “disjoint” as “having no elements in common, disjoint mathematical sets”, so I thought it was two separate boards in the same file.

OK, let’s see if the developers (or early adtopters) will chime in.
Personally I can’t find a reasonable workflow having two boards in same file. GERBER output would be hard to manage IMO.
However, I’d be very happy to have a Boards manipulation tool for panelization.
I.e. treating KiCad’s PCB file as a non-editable whole, which could be used to arrange the production panel. At this level, multiple designs in one file would be perfectly useful.

It wouldn’t make sense to support that. The requirement for a closed outline is purely logical – it’s impossible to have a physical board of any shape without the outline contour being a closed shape. Otherwise the shape would contain the whole universe.

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To quote myself: "And I don’t know what use case would that be. "
Right now we’re only speculating :slight_smile:

git log:



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It’s not for panelization. That’s a whole 'nother kettle of fish due to nets being duplicated, etc.

However, you might (for instance) have a schematic which details a circuit on two boards with a ribbon cable between them. We’d now support this – though I’m not sure what your average board house would do with it.

(To be honest, it’s mostly there to support footprints with disjoint courtyards. But we use the same code for board outlines, so it’s a “freebie”.)


OK so “Rigid-flex” is one of the possible use cases, right?
That’s particularly interesting. What’s the Board outline for the Rigid-flex assembly? Is there separate outline for the PCB part and another for the flex joints? Or the whole combination should have common outline defined and then there are additional layers used to define rigid milling and flex cutting?
To be clear: I don’t have any experience on the Rigid-flex design (yet).

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To be clear: I don’t have any experience on the Rigid-flex design (yet).

Afraid I’m in the same boat.

@craftyjon I believe is at least somewhat familiar with them…

I have used them and they are a single outline that changes board stackup in the part where the FR4 is bonded

No. Rigid-flex boards do not have disjoint outlines, they have a single outline (possibly with cutouts, just like a rigid board). As @davidsrb says, the key difference is that they have different stackups in different areas. KiCad does not yet support specifying these (the feature is sometimes called “stackup by area”).

To be clear, the lack of the stackup by area feature does not mean you cannot design rigid-flex boards in KiCad. You just have to follow a more manual process to do so.


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