V5 courtyard anchor grid origin auto pin centre


I’m new to Kicad and v5. I haven’t tried v4 and don’t want to.

Can I ask what the difference is between the grid origin and the anchor ? Why are they not the same ? Why are they not assumed to be in the centre of pin 1 ?

What is a courtyard ? Is it for rules testing ? Should it be just beyond my footprint ? I have a QFTP 44-pin device and I’ve made my courtyard a square at the tips of my pin pads… Is this correct ? I assume the courtyard is used as a physical boundary around the extents of the device and should reflect the actual device size plus an amount of clearance for cooling and electrical insulation. Is this correct ?

I’m not sure why there is a courtyard when there is a silkscreen layer too.

In my QFTP 44 device, I have managed to correlate the device to click onto the grid during placement - at pin 1. This means all my other pins may or may not be on grid points. I’m used to having an auto start of my tracks at the centre on a pin - even when the pin is not on a grid point. The track then routes to the nearest grid point - usually within the pad of the device - or the next click of the mouse so the initial track leaves the component in the centre of the pad. Can I turn on this feature in Kicad ? If I can’t, how do I click onto the centre of a pin when I want to lay a track from that pin ? Do I have to keep downsizing the grid to a silly nanometre ??

I’m having a few useability issues as you can see. The workflow for me is very clunky. Maybe my mind needs a good clean out and re-calibration to European ways …

Cheers all,

This question is not clear to me, but I think your answer is that the anchor is the center of the body of the part to give industry standard information to a pick-and-place machine.

KLC (KiCad Library Conventions)

The component courtyard is defined as the smallest rectangular area that provides a minimum electrical and mechanical clearance around the combined component body and land pattern boundaries. It is allowed to create a contoured courtyard area using a polygon instead of a simple rectangle. (IPC-7351C)

In PcbNew, Preferences/General Settings it is possible to select Magnetic Pads and Tracks (which I think is the setting that does this feature).

LOL! This is a very common complaint from new users with experience with other EDA software. If you are willing to have an open mind and “stick it out” you may likely find that going “back” to your old faithful is even clunkier than learning KiCad for the first time.


Thanks Sprig.

I look forward to being even more scathing of Protel DXP …

The Kicad experience does improve with use !

Search for “grid origin” in the forum’s search feature.

Have a look at this FAQ article. (It is a link to a post rendered as a preview. Click the link or the arrow in the top right corner to see the full post)

Since kicad 5 courtyard violations are checked. Courtyard should represent the space needed to place and rework the device. So it includes the body, pads and some additional space depending on your needs. (For handsoldering you would need more place then for reflow soldering. You need less place if you do not plan to rework anything.)

The grid origin is used for displaying the grid. One typically changes it quite often during the design of a footprint. (It is controlled via the menu view->grid setings or via the place grid origin tool in the right toolbar) For a showcase of the workflow for designing a footprint have a look at this FAQ article of mine: Tutorial: How to make a footprint in KiCad 5.1.x (From scratch)?

The coordinate origin is fixed. (In all kicad tools) This means any properties dialog where you see coordinates references this fixed coordinate origin.

The anchor allows you to design your device around the coordinate origin while still allowing you to move the origin for the pick and place machine to a particular place. (This makes designing parts easier for people who need to define the pick and place origin.) By default the coordinate origin and the anchor are the same.

Typically one would design through hole devices with pin 1 at the coordinate origin whereas surface mount devices use the body center as the coordinate origin.

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