How to expose pads for a graphic silkscreen🤔

Hello guys, hope you are doing fantastic!
I have been designing with Kicad a few times and know have taken it to be my official pcb designing tool.
However I have a new prototype on which I would like to add some graphics! Nothing difficult except the fact that the pads on the board are covered by the graphic! What is not good for PCBA! I’ve been X_Raying Kicad without luck searching for a simple or automatic way to expose the pads already on the board so that when the manufacturer prints the silkscreen no paint on the pads!

Hoping someone could enlighten me, and hope this is not a duplicated post. Thanks guys

When you are exporting to gerbers, there is an option to mask the silkscreen off with the soldermask layer. This should open up your pads (which are also not covered by soldermask.)

Two things to check for:

  1. You don’t have any other soldermask openings to bare board that you do want silkscreen to cover. (This technique would then remove silkscreen that you don’t want removed.)
  2. Your soldermask isn’t cut up too much by the new holes from the soldermask. Probably best to use a gerber viewer to check this.
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Woaw, that was fast! Thanks mate! Gonna try that now :muscle:

Then a second question rises!
In case of 2 different silkscreen colors, by example the graphic in black and the labels is white because they would be blinded in!

Sorry mate, I got it all. Thanks much !!!

This is non-standard and AFAIK KiCAD doesn’t have any way of cleanly handling this. You might be able to get away with using the bottom silkscreen as a second top silkscreen color and as long as you don’t have any surface mount parts the top mask should be the same as the bottom mask for the automated “Subtract soldermask from silkscreen” process. Just remember to keep the bottom silkscreen to look correct when looking through the top of the board. (I.e. watch out for KiCAD trying to mirror artwork when you move it from the top silkscreen to the bottom silkscreen.)

Double check with your board house though. Two color silkscreen is (as I mentioned above) non-standard so you need to know exactly how your board house wants the information and what (if any) automated pre-processing they can (or will automatically) do.

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Thanks for such reactivity! As a matter of fact, the board house suggested it to me! They are able to do some very cool pcb design, a bit costy when it comes to prototyping but they are really flexible. been contacting the world famous ones in china but they don’t do multiple silk colors per board side! Actually working on a deal for anyone interested!
Let’s be honest how cool would that be a pcb with by example a military cloaking shade silk.
They are able to print as many silk colors available, one over the other, white, black, red, yellow etc!

Yeah and regarding Kicad the only issue is the parts silkscreen will always be over printed, but not a big deal, you just have to chose your final label color

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I think ‘Extrude pads from silkscreen’ should be the first choice here.

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No, it works only for pads which have the silk layer tickmarked on, i.e. where pads are plotted to the silkscreen layer. (At least IIRC.)

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Thank you guys for such quick reactivity, as I explained previously, I have manage to solve the problem but the only issue which is not really one is the parts silkscreen! Subtracting the pads when exporting the files works but the graphic will cover everything else part ref and text since the silk is same color! This is why I have 2 silkscreens, one in black for my graphic being applied first then the labels in white! Waiting to receive the board to see the result

Hello guys your last advices worked beautifully! Now what I want to do is prevent the soldermask to be over a design and show the naked pcb if I explain that properly! thanks in advance

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This part is actually quite simple. The soldermask layer is a “negative” layer. This means that everywhere something is drawn on that layer is where there will not be any soldermask on the board. You should be able to draw graphical shapes and put text on the soldermask layer for custom cut-outs in the mask.

Oooh thank you I was experimenting and did exactly that but I had a doubt because the 3d render shows it was shiny. :pray:.

I am really getting close to what I want to do! I am actually launching a BoB with OpenSource Hardware Licence and I was looking for a way for my end users to recognise the original product from the copies!

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