Fab thinks board has short circuits, but it passes DRC

Yes DRC should detect this.

You would be surprised how often people come here complaining that kicad did something wrong only to discover they should have run DRC before ordering their PCBs.

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I understand, but I think that approach tends to work better when there is a layer dedicated to a zone, such as a ground plane. Then you don’t need to worry about the zone covering the redundant tracks. I personally don’t use that approach as I find the redundant tracks just create more work, not just routing them in the first place but having to move them whenever you move a component. The redundant tracks are not necessary and all those tracks hidden behind zones can become a burden. That’s just my personal opinion, others will surely have other opinions.

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My post didn’t make it clear that I was answering a two-part question. (And, the original question may have been edited at some point.)

The first part dealt with creating a complex shape on the Edge.Cuts layer (or, any other layer). Exporting to *.DXF, editing, then importing is (in my mind) the most efficient way to do this. The drawing tools in KiCAD are very rudimentary. Other CAD programs - intended for drafting of mechanical parts and assemblies - have capabilities that run rings around KiCAD. They allow you to do more complex work, in much less time, and with lower probability of error. My reference to *.DXF files was an answer to the general question of “How do you create complex shapes in KiCAD?”

Go ahead and create a filled zone using just a bounding rectangle around your board. Fill it, and examine it carefully. If everything is satisfactory, your problem is solved and you can take a rest. On many boards you may want to adjust the zone at a few points, even if it’s just for aesthetics. That is when you weigh the benefits of advanced drafting tools (in a different CAD program) versus the time and hassle of exporting and importing.


p.s. - If you think KiCAD’s drawing tools are more than one step beyond Etch-A-Sketch, try to put a uniform radius on the corners of a simple rectangular board. You gotta calculate the center point for each corner . . . then translate your ideas about “radius” into the arc’s end point . . . then mess around with the angles. And, finally, shorten the sides of the existing edge lines so they exactly intersect the arcs. In LibreCAD, I select the tool, specify a radius, and click on the two lines I want joined by the arc. Four clicks plus one numeric entry, tops. And no calculations, where errors can breed and multiply.

That’s right - by satisfying the requirement for netlist connectivity with explicit traces, you can be certain there are no isolated islands from a FILL operation. If you have multiple, overlapping, fill zones from different nets, those redundant traces help you control the shape of the zones .


Remembering to set Zone priority level so that overlapping fills are at different priorities, otherwise unexpected things may happen


Yes, zone priorities are the starting point for managing fills with overlapping zones.

Occasionally there are still cases where you want one zone to take precedence in some areas, but the other zone to take precedence in other areas. This is where it’s helpful to lay down a trace, helping to define which of the two zones controls the space.


For this special case, could you have two zones on each net, assigning the higher priority a “2” and the lower “1”?

edit: Higher numbers are higher priority

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I’ll guess that will also work.

An old machinist once told me that you have mastered your tools when you can think of more than one effective way to do most tasks.


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Latest Nightly
An experiment showing two nets, each with two zones, priorities 1 and 2 as marked.
Priority works and a slot in the outline is respected
DRC passes.

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