ProtoBoard function may come unexpectedly

Hi,
there have been questions about having a Pad-Board-Mode for quick prototyping.
I have seen that a picture underlay is planned for “Post-V6”.
This means one can insert a photo of the empty protoboard, set the grid to 2,54mm and insert components and wires fitting to the picture.

Its not a 100% prototyping mode but it might be an alternative ?

Of course this is also great for redesigns or PCBs from old magazines…

I do not fully understand. Would you generate gerbers which specify a grid of holes for leaded components? By the way the “Vectorboard” in USA is expensive. 17" x 8.5" with 0.1: grid holes is $31 US. You have to really not want to design a pcb…

Maybe I didnt find the correct words,
A Protoboard full of holes and Pads in 160x100mm standard size costs 2…3 EUROs.
No need for Gerbers, the Schematic and Layout are just for planning the manual wiring on the board.
Its just helpful to have a possibility to evaluate placing and wiring. I sometimes ended with a 90% circuit at the edge of the board.

30 years ago I developed a nasty habit of putting parts too close together on matrix board and sometimes had to resort to putting some parts over others or on the bottom and that is a huge time sink, especially for experimental circuits which still have to be modified etc.

But I do not see how the background photograph will help here. Just setting the grid to 2.54mm should be sufficient. I never liked those PCB’s with 3 holes per pad or other complex structures and quickly settled on the variant with 1 hole per pad. If you do prefer those more complex prototype PCB’s, then drawing a footprint which has the copper strip layout is probably a better way to do it.

of course its only psychological help. The view of the real board as a background gives a better feeling for the result.

If I put a dummy-via on every Grid-Point to “see” my board KiCad would become unusable.

You can draw “dummy via’s” or lines or whatever on one of the user layers and use a low contrast color or transparency. If you reserve a layer for this, you can also easily turn it on or off when you want.

what I wanted to say is: Is KiCad still usable if it has to draw aprox. 2400 Pads as a background ? :melting_face:

That depends on your PC hardware.
I have a Ryzen 5600G, which is a relatively modern processor, It also has quite capable video hardware, but nothing extraordinary. I once drew a footprint with an array of 200x200 pads (so 40000 total) and I did not have performance issues as long as the footprint was on the PCB. When you move the footprint, then performance was less then desirable, but still workable. I think 300x300 also worked but 400x400 was too much. But only 2400 pads should not be a performance issue even on an old PC. You can easily try this yourself. Just draw a footprint with a large array of pads and put it on your PCB.

But more important: Do not draw real via’s or pads for your “background”. If you want it to be a background, then only draw something graphical, so it’s just an image as a guideline. And for images, there is no netlist data nor do clearances have to be calculated, so there should be no performance issue whatsoever.

Just yesterday I saw a request on gitlab for more then 32 copper layers. Someone was importing a design into KiCad, but it did not have enough layers.

All true, but I still want my background picture :upside_down_face:

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The picture overlay is already in 6.99, added recently. Place → Image IIRC. Resizing is clumsy, you should test how to resize it before importing to get the best result. Set the “Locked” property and uncheck “Locked items” in the selection filter, otherwise you select it with every click.

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