Finalizing a Board

I have finalized the pcb design on my power board. I would like help pointing to any source of information(preferably tutorials) on how to finalize the netlist, gerbers, etc.

It has been too long since I looked at a tutorial, for me to suggest a stand-alone, independent, tutorial with confidence. A lot of the information you are asking about is specific to particular board fabricators, so you should start with the website for the board house you will use.

The netlist can almost certainly be ignored. In fact, starting with KiCAD 5.0.x, the netlist is an artifact left over from outdated ways of doing things in KiCAD.

You generate Gerber files using the selections “File” > “Plot” from the top menu bar. (This is also the menu you use to create *.PDF, postscript, or *.DXF files for documentation, collaboration, etc.) The array of options in the “Plot” menu looks intimidating, but the default selections are acceptable for 95% or more of all board fabricators. Circuit board fabrication has matured and standardized quite a bit over the last 15 - 20 years, and many fabricators are much more tolerant about the fabrication files than they were in the “good old days” (previously known as “these difficult times”). Some of them will identify and correct common mistakes without comment - occasionally even “mistakes” that aren’t “mistakes”, and should NOT have been “corrected”.

A recent thread that discussed the same question you are asking is at " Tutorials on prep’ing PCB for board house? ". (You DID use the “Search” feature to look for similar topics before you posted yours, didn’t you? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: )

There are additional considerations if your boards will be assembled by an assembly shop. These requirements are much more individualized than the constraints for producing bare boards, so you will have to contact the assembly shop yourself and discuss their requirements.



I am currently filling out the form to find a board house. How do I find the copper weight for my board?

I haven’t done a survey, but I’m certain that “1 ounce” is by far the most common, and may be the only option for some low-cost fabricators.

(The “weight” is actually a convoluted way to specify the thickness of the copper traces. “1 ounce copper” refers to a uniform sheet of copper foil weighing exactly 1 ounce, and covering exactly 1 square foot. It is left as an exercise for the student to look up the density of copper, then do the arithmetic and unit conversions to determine the thickness of a “1 ounce” copper trace.)

Heavier weight (i.e., thicker) copper is used for large currents. If any of your traces carry more than half an amp or so it may be worth the effort to evaluate the trade-off between wider traces and thicker copper. KiCAD includes a calculator to help you do this analysis, if needed. On rare occasions, thicker copper is used to improve thermal performance. I think the only advantage to thinner copper is a slight cost savings when you are dealing with large production volumes.


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You specify “power board”. You may need to go with 2 ounce depending on your actual design. I’m doing a power supply but have resorted to using 2 sided zones with vias to keep the cost down. The cheaper places prices go up dramatically if the overall design doesn’t stick to 100mmX100mm and 1 ounce copper. This is really dependent on how much you are willing to pay. If your design has to be what it is, then you need to know how much power your traces will handle.

Edit: When I say zones and vias I’m talking copper pours and via stitching.

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@AwesomeCronk I just found this link giving a small chart for copper “weights” to thickness in mills. If you need metric it should be easy enough to convert from the mils.

(I have no relation to the owner of that website. It was just the first google hit when searching “1 oz copper thickness”.)


#@&!*# internet makes it too easy for you young people. Now, when I was a little boy . . . about YOUR age . . . . the REAL engineers had shelves full of handbooks, reference manuals, dog-eared copies of “Standard Math Tables”, and stacks of vendor catalogs. You don’t appreciate how easy you have it these days!



I’m sure everyone here knows this already, but for uninitiated it may be a surprise that thicker copper means wider minimum copper feature width. So the decision may depend also on your requirement for minimum track or pad width. See e.g.

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LOL! I was getting started in the industry near the tail end of that. I’m only a few years away from AARP eligibility…

And as I recall it wasn’t just shelves of reference manuals… More like walls of shelves of reference manuals. (And a few cabinets as well for the less used manuals.) The coveted McMaster catalog that one had to sign out from the MEs (if they let you out of their sight with it). DigiKey catalog about a quarter inch thick. I remember the internet before the web. Gopher, ftp, usenet, irc, and off the internet was FidoNet for BBS systems. My wife and I finally bought our first home so I can look forward to yelling at the kids to get off my lawn… :wink:

Thanks! I am looking at the track width calculator right now!

So, the most that ever hits this board will(hopefully) be 12v dc. I’d like to use 1 oz. copper, and can widen traces as needed.

Suitable trace width is a function of CURRENT carried by the trace. The voltage affects spacing between traces, but only when you go above 48 VDC if I recall correctly.


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