Integrating related parts into a footprint

Hi everyone,

What would be the best way to tie location of related parts into a particular complex footprint?

Two examples I’m trying to design:

  • A (debug) PCB edge connector, which cannot have board cutouts for keying (should be invisible on the other side), and is instead using related SMD components (a resistor and a capacitor) for keying. Sorry, not posting a mockup picture, due to the image limit for new users. The connector slots for the “keys” will have contacts removed to accommodate the components.
  • A half-transparent touch-sensitive keyboard with side-firing LEDs acting as the backlight from the other side. A photo of a prototype:
    This will also need extra copper on both sides to mask out the light where it shouldn’t go.

How do I ensure the proper and consistent placement of related components in these cases, while also being able to generate the BOM and position files correctly for assembly?

The only idea I have right now which can help (apart from just manually controlling everything in pcbnew), is to draw the footprints with all the necessary internal connections (in Inkscape), but leave out the actual footprints of related parts, only adding dedicated “pins” very close to where they should be placed (also defining them in the symbol editor), and then manually placing them into these “slots” in pcbnew.

Thank you!

I’m a relative KiCAD newbie, and otherwise a software engineer by day, so please allow certain amount of silliness on my part. Thank you :slight_smile: