Dummy footprint for sketch development

Hi, being new to Kicad, so trying things possibly the wrong way. Therefore seeking advice on the following:

Im doing a board that I intend to do some tweeks on, a base for further lab tests. Therefore i want to give space for soldering yet unknown components. Possibly some DIP. Therefore I want “empty” footprints
only going to closeby empty pads. (bit of weroboard on the pcb) Trying to add in pcbnew is teadious, and run into difficulties since i couldnt connect pads since no “net” to refer to, however couldnt find a way to “synthetizise” a new net (?), (also
actually I found no way to list the current available nets)
Should I instead start on the schematic level ?

Do you mean something like a development board - like this sort of thing?

You could achieve this quite easily by laying out the fixed pcbnew components and then adding in a few extra, unconnected footprints, but this requires some extra through hole wiring.

If you want to produce a PCB with a bit of Veroboard layout in the middle you would need to produce a ‘vero’ strip footprint and place copies of it on a 0.1" pitch. You would need to be careful with the soldemask. I would probably use a longish strip and just change the pads to rectangular and big enough to touch. You are on your own though if you run a DRC check on this. (I just did 4 pads for proof of concept). Set the grid to 0.1" (2.54mm) to position the strips the correct distance apart.

You probably should remove the silkscreen! Also, not sure exactly how wide vero strips are but you probably need to make the strips no wider than about 1.8mm to allow sufficient clearance between the tracks (not the 2.54mm Y measurement in the screenshot which will mean the strips will touch each other)


KiCAD is really designed to use a schematic as the basis for the board layout. I recall a Forum discussion about using PCBNew without a schematic from approximately a year ago. As I recall, you must disable the DRC and hope you don’t make any serious mistakes.

I have never placed an array of uncommitted pads on a board but I’d approach it by placing some “connector” symbols on my schematic, and drawing connections from pin to pin. Then you are free to arrange the pads on the board, in whatever physical arrangement you want. A few decades ago, DIP IC sockets were sometimes used as connectors for board-to-board wiring so you may find a DIP IC symbol hiding in one of the Connector libraries. (If not, make your own.)

You will find all of the nets for your project listed in the netlist file. ALL of the KiCAD files are human-readable, ANSI plain-text, that can be opened, read, and modified in any text editor. (“Notepad++” seems to have a lot of fans around here.) For the most part, the file syntax is rather obvious. It is formally documented at https://kicad.org/help/file-formats/ and at http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~stambaughw/kicad/doc-read-only/download/head:/1115%4016bec504-3128-0410-b3e8-8e38c2123bca:trunk%2Fkicad-doc%2Fdoc%2Fhelp%2Ffile_formats%2Ffile_formats.pdf/file_formats.pdf and at https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Kicad/file_formats . . . . although these explanations are incomplete and sometimes out-of-date. It is conceptually possible for us mere mortals to add, remove, or modify nets by editing the netlist file, but that strikes me as a tedious and error-prone way to do a task that the schematic editor was designed for.


Hi,thanks again for good advice.Yes,I have basic an “unliking” for generation “in steps”, and the maintainable way to handle that is to make “no shortcuts”, i.e. however cumbersome, and seemingly unecessary, it should always be best to include everything on the top. However in this case, there is additions made “from the side”,like the positions of the footprints, and the geometries for the routes. So things “do appeare” on the way so to speak.Guess Ill make it easy for me, and try both approaches :slight_smile: .

also have another issue now, possibly for a new thread: As it happens, the default configrations in Kicad, made me design all routes on the F.Cu layer, guessingly the FRONT, which I just discovered running GerbV, and the B.Cu was as empty as space itself. Is there an easy way to transfer the copper from F to B ?

My best attempt to understand with the language barrier between us.

  1. You can use a text editor on the schematic file to change the layer with a simple find and replace command.

  2. If it is the Footprints that are wrong, a new through-hole footprint could be used or created.

Caution that you save your work before you make each change in this process.

Now Im back to the original issue. Having totally messed up my designs by adding a new component in the schema, and thereby getting some change in the enumeration/netlist, and now not capable of restoring, so I have a perfectly good pcb layout, however no more changes are possible to do from the schematics.As soon as i load the netlist into pcbnew, it becomes a haystack of connections that are supposedly not connected… (one day I might try to understand how
to get the fixy-trixy-file-glue-magic to couple the two disjunct, barely cooperting tools to be friends again, but not now.
It seems that the pcbnew is explicitly denouncing modifications/design directly into the tool (eg no way to created a new net-name,which would solve my problem, another handy tool would be to allow some copper-wire be designed into the footprint, which seem to be a fairly obvious thing (if not even blocked explicitly) )

and Sprig; your cautioning didnt seem to bite :frowning:

so, keeping trudging accross the tundra…