I’ve seen plenty of posts about PTH an NPTH but none seem to explain what I would like to know.
Simple, single sided PCB. As far as I am aware all of the footprints have been created as single sided (B.Cu), with bottom solder mask (B.mask), and top silkscreen (F.silkS), but when I generate the drill files I get NPTH for mounting holes and PTH for all of the components.
The PCB design itself consists of only these 3 layers (and edge cuts obviously), and since I have control of the Gerber layers produced these are the layers that I generate in the gerbers.
I’m clearly missing something. How do I persuade the tool to generate an NPTH drill file only, or a NPTH and empty PTH drill file.
I know the PCB manufacturer will adjust the design, within limits, to suit their tools, process and IPC requirements, but I would like to send files that describe what I want in the first place.
I just checked a PCB designed by a.n.other and sold as part of a self assembly kit. It’s exactly as I would like my design to be - NPTH component holes, copper and solder mask on the bottom and a silkscreen on the top. The unplated FR4 is clearly visible in the unpopulated footprint holes.
Just talk to your board manufacturer.
If you tell them you only want a single-sided board, and no PTH, then (if they are willing to do that), they can work with the existing Gerbers and drill files.
But, unless you really, really need to do this - it’s a bad idea. leaving out the through-hole plating makes the board much more likely to fail, and, especially for a kit aimed at a novice, makes it much more likely that they will ruin the board.
I tested this option (as I also thought this would be useful) but it is (most probably) no solution for the OP.
This option creates only one drill-file, but inside this drill-file there are still two different sections clearly separated as PTH/NPTH holes.
I think it is not needed.
If during PCB manufacture the process of plating holes is skipped (and if one sided PCB is the task I suppose it is skipped) than all holes will be NPTH even they were done based on PTH holes file.
If you will order single sided PCB and less than 10m² I expect manufacturer will just use his 2 sided workflow with etching one side (using empty gerber for tracks at this side).
I suppose that nowadays for the same cost you could get 2 sided PCB.
Much, much more robust.
35 years ago because of costs we used in some product one sided PCB. Then we found that if terminal block was not 100% pushed to PCB during soldering (not its plastic case but internal metal structure) then when you later used screwdriver to fix wire in terminal block the bottom side track were broken (not by rotation but by pressure). We changed those PCBs to 2-sided and all problems gone.
I’m not so sure about that. single layer PCB’s are quite unusual these days (Mostly FR2 in huge production volumes of cheap PCB’s ). Having all holes in a single file may have a small advantage, if his PCB manufacturer ignores the PTH versus NPTH attributes. My crystal ball is out for maintenance and I thought it useful to mention the option.