Can board outlines be saved and imported into pcbnew?
It would also be nice if silkscreen text, logos, mount holes, etc. might also be exported/imported with the board outline.
I understand that someone could start with an existing template file and add the netlist. But what about a circuit that has already been routed and you would like to place it on a complicated or standard board outline?
Perhaps there is a way to export & import a specific layer?
What do you need this information for? The IDF exporter will export the board outline and holes but will not include text or logos. It is possible to use the IDF code to import board outline and holes but this feature was never added because no one was asking for it.
If you want to reuse a routed module you can use the “File->Append Board” menu, but kicad does not have good support for doing this at the moment. You might find some tips from other users on how they handle this.
As clarification for the unaware - note that holes defined as outlines usually will come out bigger than when they are defined as drill holes.
Define holes up to 6mm (or 1/4") as drill holes to make sure they use a defined drill bit instead of a router bit that creates the contour of the hole.
PS: yes, been there, done that and got the T-shirt
As for working with the outline after the layout has been done… the source of my outlines are CAD files in dxf format in another tool. If I need to modify them I do that in the CAD tool and then just replace the outline in KiCAD by deleting it and importing a new one.
The bitch actually is the exact placement then as even with the finest grid setting and some trickery to hold onto one of the edges of the outline after importing it’s still deviating by 0.005 or some such…
[placeholder] I’ll add a little how to of that in a couple of hours when I got more time [placeholder]
KiCad has a move-absolute feature, so this really should be made available to users when importing things like DXF and Append, so that a common origin, in Source=Destination, will give exact overlay.
Relying on mouse-move is less than ideal.
It would actually be nice to have some sort of preview-overlay when you import it to make it interactive and more or less intuitive.
But this probably needs a lot of GUI coding for the import dialog to become non-modal, as of now you can’t do anything in another window of KiCAD if one of them is open.
Something similar to the search&replace dialog in notepad you know?
I don’t think it needs anything complex at all
To me, either of
a) Popup after Append/Import that says
[ ] Place Origin at XY
[ ] Place Bottom left corner at XY
[ ] Place first item at XY
[ ] Use mouse to position
b) a Right-mouse button, while it is on the cursor, with above choices.
Certainly you should be able to ImportDXF and then save a KiCad PCB that has exact co-ordinate match.
The present mouse-point seems somewhat random ? last item ? or first item ?
The DXF import has had an option to specify the location long before the stable release. It works fine with the legacy canvas but works a bit different with the OpenGL canvas. In OpenGL the line set is selected and can be moved after clicking ‘OK’ so that if the user makes a mistake then everything will be moved rather than dropped at the point originally specified in the import GUI.
You discovered the OpenGL secret. Don’t bump the mouse - just press Enter and hope nothing moves.
I don’t know what the logic is for selecting the anchor points; personally I would have preferred a “virtual point” located at the specified X,Y offset - or at some other agreed point if one of the other DXF placement options is used.