Unexpected silkscreen behavior for board rotation

I finished a small board design using KiCad 5.1.9-1 for the first time, and for the most part it went pretty well, with some small hiccups along the way, but nothing insurmountable. I am creating my own V-score panel for the prototypes, so I created a blank board panel file with the edge cuts layer, framing/rails, panel dimensions with V-score cuts and some routing. I made the panel such that exactly 8 of the boards could be appended to this blank panel to create the final panel for submission to the fab. I created the panel to make the length longer than the height for ease of automated assembly, should I ever do more than a few panels. This required me to rotate my board 90 degrees. At this point I changed the edge cuts outline of my board to the drawing layer (since the panel has the edge cuts) and save a copy of it (keeping my original board file intact) as a “ready to panelize” version. Then I bring up Pcbnew in standalone mode and append this “ready to panelize” version, lining up the top-left hand corner of the board with cross-hair markers in the blank panel, and then arraying the board to fill the panel. Everything works as expected EXCEPT that I noticed my rotated silkscreen text flipped upside down for all board footprints. Free silkscreen text rotated as expected.

To test this and make sure there wasn’t something odd going on with my project, I created a very simple example board with only one resistor on it. Then I rotated it counterclockwise. No problems and everything works as expected. But now I rotate the original board clockwise, which just happens to be what I did for my panel. Now the silkscreen text has now flipped upside down for the resistor and opposes the direction of the free silkscreen text. So the solution to make my panel was either to rotate the board counterclockwise to make my “ready to panelize” version or rotate my blank panel counterclockwise 90 degrees before appending the unrotated “ready to panelize” board file. I chose the latter because I was concerned there were more rotation “gotchas” that I might miss and this would be the least risky option.

Is there a way to make the footprint silkscreen text stay in the same orientation relative to the footprint when you rotate the board clockwise? This is for future reference, since I’ve already submitted my completed panel design to the board fab.

Silkscreen text is restricted to two possible directions such that you can easily read it on the final product. Which means if you rotate everything then for certain states the text fields will get an additional rotation of 180 degrees.

This can be turned of per field but i am not sure if it can be turned of globally.

1 Like

Thanks Rene. I think I’d rather have the silkscreen text always stay in the same orientation relative to the footprint if that were possible, but I don’t want to mess around with each field or footprint to do it. Before I panelize, I always verify that all silkscreen text is aligned in one of two directions already, and the free silkscreen text is aligned with one of those directions. So it was a little shocking to see the rotated panelized board not the same. I’ll just remember to rotate the board counterclockwise whenever I do a panel or rotate the blank panel so that I don’t have to rotate the board before appending it to the panel.