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
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.
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!
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
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.
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!