To print black elements and gray copper?

Dear all

When I saw demo how F11 routing works I thought: You should move from Protel 3.5 (the program from 1997 year) to KiCad.
Under Protel if I have to move some track the best way in my opinion is to delete it and route once more. So imagine when I decide to move microcontroller…
I have read KiCad documentations and done some tests in past, and plan to use KiCad shortly, but I had to do some PCBs which were just next versions of older ones so there was no idea to do them from beginning and some other, not PCB, works and few months passed.
Now I have new PCB to design but unfortunately I have only few days to do it. I have to quick decide if to use KiCad or just do this once more with Protel.

My first question (others soon) is about printing documentation. I need the following pictures:

  • light gray copper and black elements (courtyard + reference)
  • light gray copper and black elements (courtyard + value).
    When I have many 0603 elements it is no place to have references and values on the same picture, and using courtyard lefts enough place for text inside it.

Only one output from Pcbnew has possibility to select if designators or values are draw or not, but this output allows only one layer to output - so will not get what I wont. I could than mix two layers on some graphic program, but I’m not familiar enough with anyone.

Considering how to solve this I assumed I have three layers to use: F.Silks, F.Fab, F.CrtYd. I can have designator at one, value at another and courtyeard at third but then I have no layer for physical dimensions.
Solution I plan to use:
F.SilkS - courtyard + reference
F.CrtYd - courtyard + value

My question:
May be I miss something, because of no experience with using KiCad and there is other solution I just don’t see which would allow to use footprints as they are in KiCad libraries?


[quote=“Piotr, post:1, topic:7723”]
Now I have new PCB to design but unfortunately I have only few days to do it. I have to quick decide if to use KiCad or just do this once more with Protel.
[/quote]We have an active community but I’d hate to see you miss a deadline. If it is more than a simple project I’d say stick with what you know for this one.

I haven’t done a lot of printing so I can’t answer your questions directly. I know I’ve seen ways of choosing colors and printing specific layers but I can’t remember where the options are or if they are even relevant to your case. Or if I’m even remembering the correct software package. :wink:

You want something like this?

My setup:

  • Fab Layer: Reference + Value + Actual part outline (The real outline of the part) + Pin 1 Marking
  • Silk: Second reference + another outline but outside the part (Not shown in the printout, only on the board) + Pin 1 Marking + some other text
  • Courtyard: Safety outline. Visual guide during layout. (Not in printout)

In the print dialog choose print with color and set your layer and render colors to the shade of gray you want to appear in the printout.

Inkscape is not responding so i currently can’t put notes into the screenshot. Here my collage of the print setup i used to create the image above. (Important part is the Print mode = color and the color for F.Cu, Edge.Cuts and F.Fab in the layer tap as well as the color for Pads front and Through Via in the render tap.)

My pcb with silk looks like this (From the 3d viewer)

Hi Rene,

Yes, something like that but I have no place for reference and value at one print.
Imagine for example three line matrix of 0603 and SOT323 placed one touching another.

The problem is not with color selecting but with printing once values and once references.

With colors is the only problem that KiCad remembers what I set even if after printing I not save the PCB so I have to setup back them.
But it is not important problem.


The render tap will be respected for the print menu. If you want to print it without reference simply deselect references in the render tab. Print it and then make the same with value deselected.

This is the reason why my personal footprints differ from the official lib footprints. I have the main reference on fab not the copy of the reference. (The render tab does not work on the copy)

Hi Rene,

What is render tap. If it is the set of flags on the right then I have tested it and it doesn’t work.
When I switch value and reference off I don’t have them on screen.
But when I do File|Print and Preview I have them at output.

I have tested it with 4.0.6 and found how I will do with it. Now when it looks I will start with KiCad I found 4.0.7. The first thing to test once more was if this works but not.


Hi hermit

You may be right.
On Monday we will get samples of enclosures and we will decide which one to use and then it is time to start PCB.
The deadline is end of September - the devices have to be working so we need them ready some days before to make software.

It is totally abnormal situation. Normally we design our products (monts, years…) and when they are ready we offer them. Here we decided that some addition to our system we will not do (we are very small firm - devices are designed by 2 people - me and my brother, so we try not to do everything) - let they buy the solution ready to buy on the market. And they bought it and it is defeat (word from dictionary - don’t feel if correct). So for the next installation (and the buyer closes budget at September) we decided to replace it with our (hope better) solution.

And I was planning to have one week holiday during September because during July and August I was only 4 days out of work :frowning:


You are correct. I don’t know why i thought it worked this way. (Maybe some nightly worked like i described above.) Hm now i really don’t know a workaround any more. The only thing that comes to mind is to use the eco layers. But if you flip a component the stuff is not automatically mirrored. (And it stays on the same layer.)

That way as you supposed work the flags at Draw menu, but there you have only one layer (as I have written at the beginning).

So, I am starting to make my footprints like I have written:
F.SilkS - courtyard + reference
F.CrtYd - courtyard + value

If in future it will work as you supposed I will (may be) redesign all my footprints.

On Monday I will decide “To KiCad or not to KiCad” :slight_smile: for this urgent project and I suppose the decision will be Protel, and KiCad may be next time :frowning: