Front panel holes

I am very new to KiCad. I need to make a pc board cabinet and particularly the front panel. I finally managed to get the cutout for the LCD display although it does not look right to me (does not show up in the layer that I expected). I now need to add several holes for pots/encoders/switches. The holes are 6.2mm and through hole. I also need 4 mounting holes M2.5 or 4-40 for the LCD display and 4 mounting holes in the corners for 6-32 screws. Since there is no schematic involved I was not able to find information about how to layout these holes for the gerbers. Can someone help me?

Thank you.

You can add footprints directly to the PCB with the IC icon on the right tool panel. There are measuring tools,grid and grid snapping to help you place them.

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You can place mounting holes with or without pads directly into your schematic.

In Eeschema just do a place component and enter mount… There are some predefined.

You can of course always whip up your own mounting holes to whatever specification you may need.

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It is a pc board making up a cabinet so there is no schematic. It is just a layout.

Almost sounds like a case for Freecad instead.

Yes, it is freehand. I am having trouble finding basic steps since I am not doing a schematic. I did just find “mounting hole” in the footprint but am not familiar enough with KiCad to know where I am placing the hole. I did not see an option to set my reference dimensions to zero so I can measure over and up for placing the holes.

You actually can work with reference points.

On the rhs in Pcbnew there is a 'Place origin point for drill … ’ etc. Play with it.

Invaluably more usefully is the simple space key. In any mode you can set a relative 0,0 origin by hitting that space key, and pay close attention to the status bar at the bottom. If you then set your grid (right click) properly it is simple to get measurements right the first time.

OK. I got all of the holes placed (I think) except the LCD screw holes. One thing that does concern me is that I did the LCD cutout but it only shows up on the bottom layer where the mounting holes I just placed show up on both bottom and top layer.

Now that I have those holes placed, how do I make sure they are through hole plated and have a tinned border that contacts the screw when the screw is screwed in?

Thank you.

He meant FreeCAD.

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If you are going to get a PCB board from a manufacturer, using gerbers are file format, you should use Edge.Cuts layer for the board outline and (most probably) for the cutouts.

PCB making is always problematic because gerbers aren’t a very good format, different manufacturers want different kind of information. You must always find the requirements of your chosen manufacturer. Some want internal cutouts in a different layer than the outline, some want them all in one layer. The 6.2mm holes are so and so, they may go as drill holes, but you should check if the manufacturer wants them as routed slots (if they are beyond their drill sizes).

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Just draw another set of lines on the edge.cut layer. They will come out as shape, opening(s), or whatever you make it.

The best way to verify that all your cutouts and holes are actually all through the PCB is the 3D-viewer.


That confirms it! The LCD cutout does not show up as a cutout. How do I make that cutout all the way through (hopefully without having to just redo it completely)? Is there an LCD footprint?

Just to clarify, you are making a front panel out of pcb material and this has no electrical connections - it is simply a plate with holes and cut outs in (and maybe some silk screen printing)?

Any holes and edges need to be drawn on the “edge cuts” layer using lines not filled polygons. The lines need to be coincident - this is best achieved using a coarse grid setting; ideally one that is a multiple of your cut out size. By this I mean if your cut out is 57mm by 32mm, use a 1mm grid, for instance.

Remember that internal corners are cut out with a router bit and will be rounded not square - how rounded depends on the size of router bit used.

Footprints are for devices that are electrically connected so are not relevant here. What you need is accurate physical measurements from the data sheet or by measuring the actual device.

If you have more experience/familiarity with other CAD design programs, you can use that to design your panel and export the design as a dxf. You can then import the dxf into the edge cuts layer in KiCad.


That is mostly correct. This is a cabinet piece. It is the front panel but is made with pc board material. It is, however, copper clad on both sides so the holes will be through hole plated but it is simply a front panel with no circuit and that is why there is no schematic needed or used.

I have a panel that I am using for my measurements. I also have the I2C LCD module which is 71.25mm wide by 25mm high. I googled to get the cutout for the LCD and thought I had it right but it only shows up on the bottom layer so it obviously is not what I wanted. The panel I am trying to make gerbers for is 113mm x 104mm.

Thank you.

If you have a link to something, give it here (always, including datasheet or other things). It’s pretty difficult to say anything about this problem if we don’t know what the problem is, and we can know if you give us more and exact information. Now we can only guess that the cutout is in a wrong layer (do you know how to draw to different layers?).

I do have the holes in the edge cut layer and that includes the rectangular LCD cutout but the 3D viewer only shows the smaller round holes that I added last night. The LCD cutout does not show up as a cutout at all.

Can you share the pcb file here? It’s easier to see from there, without any ambiguities or interpretations or communication problems.

I do not have a datasheet. I was googling for a 16x2 LCD Kicad library entry for the 71x25mm lcd that I have but I have been unable to find a datasheet or a KiCad library item for this LCD.

It says that as a new user I am not allowed to upload any files. Hopefully this link will work: