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Additional Footprint Information

Printed From: PCB Libraries Forum
Category: PCB Footprint Expert
Forum Name: Product Suggestions
Forum Description: request new features
Printed Date: 24 Sep 2023 at 12:52pm

Topic: Additional Footprint Information
Posted By: Vinny_D
Subject: Additional Footprint Information
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 1:16pm
Once a footprint is created, the "Footprint" tab should include the following items as well:

- Pad center to center
- Silk outline dimensions (x & y)
- Courtyard outline dimensions (x & y)

Two reasons for this ... this information is available to us in the original LP Wizard tool and secondly, for those of us who are a more visual type of person, having that information easily visible is a quick and handy check. Presently, if you need to look at that information you have to perform multiple, time consuming steps ... it would be really nice if the "Footprint" tab was expanded to have additional information as shown below.

Thanks for your consideration,

Posted By: Jeff.M
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 1:37pm
All that information and more can be gotten by Querrying an object.
To querry anything set the Footprint Viewer toolbar button to 'Select' (the arrow)
With the mouse in a clear space, right-mouse-button and select the object type to querry (pins, lines, shapes, text or labels).  Note this won't work without a valid calculated part.
To querry pins, make the Top layer top-selected layer.  Select a pin (it highlights) and right-mouse-button select Properties.  You can go into all the padstack info by clicking the padstack button in the properties dialog box.
To querry shapes or lines make the layer the shape is on the top selected layer. Select the object (it highlights) and right-mouse-button select Properties.
I think you'll find this both easier and more detailed than what you get from LPW.

Posted By: Vinny_D
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 1:43pm
Hi Jeff .. yes I am aware of the Query feature, but that takes time and mouse clicks .. I would like to be able to see that information easily and quickly, without having to go through multiple steps to get it ... part of my being a "visual" type of person who likes certain information easily visible and available ... just a personal preference I am used to from using LPW for a number of years ... and the information I am asking for is (I am assuming) readily available and would be easy to add ... just my two (Canadian) cents ...


Posted By: Mattylad
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 2:06pm
Pad centre to centre is a preferred dimension, as it is this that we use to recreate the footprint in our CAD package. If not supplied we have to do some sums :)

Posted By: Tom H
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 2:14pm
The reason why we put the "S" dimension is because for all "Mfr. Recommended Patterns" that is what is provided on the datasheet.
@Vince - I know you're used to LPW, but we're really interested in "why" do you need all the courtyard dimensions and silkscreen dimensions, etc. in one place? We just need to know what you're looking for in that data? BTW: with LPW most silkscreen outlines were closed polygons and with FPE there are no closed polygon silkscreens. However, if your "User Preferences" map the assembly and silkscreen outline to the Maximum component outline then the data you're looking for is handy in the component dimensions.

Posted By: Vinny_D
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2012 at 2:21pm
Two reasons Tom ... one is the same as the above reply from "Mattylad" as I have some customers who want me to create the footprint in their CAD package from scratch or by using and editing an existing footprint (don't ask me why - that's what my customer wants and pays me for) ... and second, is that one of the same customers who, as a QC process, re-inputs the information from the spec sheet and uses the information I am asking for as a different means to check my footprint ... it has worked flawlessly in the past using this method ... we have a 99.9% success rate with our footprints ... and we have been using LPW so far ... I would like to try and convince them to move over, but without that data being readily available, I don't know if I can convince my customer ... just saying ... 


Posted By: Mattylad
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2012 at 12:17pm
I think this is basically the same as" rel="nofollow -

A request for additional information that can be calculated from the information in the footprint to be displayed.

Its not that we do not trust your tool To its that we/users want to double check it and not by having to dig out a calculator to do so. The ability to double check a tools output is of paramount importance if the output is to be used on a run of thousands of boards which could potentially have costly consequences if wrong.

Posted By: Vinny_D
Date Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 11:39am
Tom, any chance we may see an improvement in FE based on the above feedback?

Posted By: Tom H
Date Posted: 02 Dec 2012 at 12:45pm
This is one of those issues of advanced technology replacing old technology.
Example of the short term future: We can spend our time adding "Print Feature", "Showing Additional Footprint Dimensions", adding a ton of new features that only some users need.
Example of the long term future: 30 million packages available on "Parts on Demand" (POD) website to allow the entire industry to Search, Find, Add-to-Cart and Download every logical part number in the world mapped to 400,000 physical packages. Offer free parts to people who upload parts and charge $1 each for those who do not upload library content.
So, in the near future, every part number in the world will already have all the component dimemsions, physical and logical attributes and the user can define their personal preferences to automate custom library creation. Every part will be QC'd and 5-star rated and there will be nothing to QC.
We don't want to spend our time creating things that will be obsolete in the near future. This is a distraction from the ultimate goal. In the V2013 program, there will be interactive editing to allow much more flexibility for those who want to be creative.
The first new addition to the program will be the "Package Editor" for through-hole connectors and then extended to all non-standard component families. This will allow the user to interactively size, place and name the drill holes and insert a component body outline and save that data to a .pkg file. The program will use your personal preferences to auto-generate the padstacks, drafting outlines and ref des.
The second addition will be the mfr. recommended "Footprint Editor" for surface mount connectors and then extended to all non-standard SMT component packages. This will allow the user to automate the process of creating complex pad patterns and QFN's with multiple thermal pads and save the data in a new .FPT (footprint) file.
Our goal is to create a PCB library editing program that can automate the process of library construction. And the days of entering component dimensions will be concluded once the "Parts on Demand" (POD) website comes on-line. Our goal is to have every component package in the world in a FPX, PKG or FPT file format available on the internet to search, find, add-to-cart, download, import into the PCB Footprint Expert and allow the user to interactively edit whatever elements they need and save that edited data and auto-generate the PCB library parts that will be 100% compliant to your corporate or customer rules.

Posted By: Matthew Lamkin
Date Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 2:12am
And how will we verify the dimensions of the 30 million packages Tom?
Query each one, get the calculator out and query each item?
Surely this cannot be
Quote both easier and more detailed than what you get from LPW

While we do trust you we need to make sure, to verify what the tool is giving the user to ensure it matches the users requirements.


Posted By: Tom H
Date Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 11:02am
That's very easy. Every part that is uploaded must be a known company or person and they will have a profile that includes the company logo, company name or personal picture of person and person's name. We will allow an Avatar for personal people who are shy.
Every part will have a 5-star rating system. If you download a "unrated" part then the person who downloaded the part needs to QC and rate the part.
If a part has a typo and the rating is low then the company or person who uploaded the part has a couple days to fix the part or PCB Libraries, Inc. will either fix the part or remove it to allow someone else to upload a good part. When a part is replaced or fixed, the rating system is reset and needs to be re-rated.
We realize that many parts might be poorly rated in the beginning, but eventually (just like any software tool) the bugs will get fixed and ALL parts will be 5-star rated.

Posted By: DaveCowl
Date Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 3:54pm

I agree that verification of footprints is important.

Even when I see a footprint in the library already that matches the one I am looking for, I always verify every dimension before it gets transferred to my library.

There is too much at stake to simply trust any outside supplied information...

Posted By: Vinny_D
Date Posted: 03 Dec 2012 at 4:03pm
Tom, while some companies you may deal with like the idea of third party footprints, it has been my experience that my employers and my customers want library parts that I have either created or copied over from another library and checked 110% .... so I am not, and will not be using footprints created by any program out of the box ... it's just the way things are in the real world Tom - whether you agree or not ... so I will reiterate my original request again, would it be possible for you to update your program to give us the same level of visual information that was in LP Wizard ... (as shown in my first post) as that method of visual information is great for checking footprints ... if I have that level of information , then I may be more inclined to use some of the footprints you provide and check them before using them ... you can't tell me that it would take a lot of effort to implement as the information that we are requesting is already there (maybe not all visible) .. it just needs to all be made visible and presented in a better way ... 

Posted By: jameshead
Date Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 4:10am
My thoughts:

It's nice to have a quick summery of pad size, pitch, courtyard dimensions somewhere together on the screen as it's easier to make a quick comparison against another part to see if you've already got a suitable footprint in your library.  I'm guessing that PADS users may not have a need to work in this way with the tighter integration they have between FPX and PADS libraries but when you're importing PADS ascii footprints into something else and doing a few tweaks afterwards it's useful.

Regarding mistakes in footprints I actually see the POD has having better verification that what I'm doing.  From the Beta test period for FPX I started getting the majority of my footprints from FPX and where FPX doesn't cover a part type yet, LP Wizard.

Pulsonix comes with a set of libraries but I disabled them and use my own.  Anything that isn't in FPX or LP Wizard or downloadable from the manufacturer's website gets created from scratch in Pulsonix.

In my experience I've found that I'm more likely to make a mistake in creating a footprint from scratch then any software I've used to create footprints.  When the software fails it's usually either pretty obvious from just looking at it - or such a minor error that if you've not noticed it then it'd probably not cause any real problems in assembly anyway.  Of course there are times when the user could enter the wrong dimension in FPX or miss-interpret a dimension from the datasheet but you'd be just as likely to make these kinds of errors whatever method you were using to create a footprint.  Plus I've seen a case where someone has made a mistake in reading dimensions, got someone else to check it, and the person checking has made the same mistake (and yes that person checking was me!).

Our prototype builds catch our mistakes though.

The POD with ratings gives you access to an army of other designers building and checking parts.

Posted By: Tom H
Date Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 8:30am
We'll add the additional information to the IPC "Standard" packages, but soon we will release the "Package Editor" for non-standard through-hole packages (including 50,000 connectors, switches, trimmers, relays, transformers, etc.) and the "Footprint Editor" for non-standard surface mount packages (including all thousands of SMT connectors, QFN with multiple thermal pads and unique one-of-a-kind parts). We have no plans on ever providing all the component dimensions for non-standard parts which represent 50% of all library construction.
We're also throwing major revenue and resources to create the POD website PCB Library Vending Machine.
We're also adding 3D-STEP and 3D-DXF model export.
Then the PCB Footprint Expert can build any PCB library part in the world.
So in the list of priorities below, please vote on what you need most and second most, etc.
  1. Package Editor for non-standard through-hole parts
  2. Footprint Editor for non-standard surface mount parts
  3. Parts On Demand (POD) vending machine
  4. 3D model library export
  5. Adding detailed footprint pictures with all the dimensions

Your vote counts!

Posted By: jameshead
Date Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 8:40am
My vote, I'd like to see things happen in this order:

  1. Footprint Editor for non-standard surface mount parts
  2. Parts On Demand (POD) vending machine
  3. Package Editor for non-standard through-hole parts
  4. 3D model library export
  5. Adding detailed footprint pictures with all the dimensions

This is purely based on the time I might spend on each of these things and the time they are going to save me.  The majority of parts we create are SMT and next to that the POD is going to save the most time.

Posted By: Matthew Lamkin
Date Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 9:54am
This is dangling a carrot in front of people so they think that the issue currently being discussed is insignificant. Given the choices then almost everyone is going to put #5 as last as the other things are all wanted.

And what if everyone voted for #5 to be first?
How many votes are you expecting in order to get something done? 5 or 500?

How about getting the initial program working so that everyone can use it with confidence first?

Posted By: Tom H
Date Posted: 04 Dec 2012 at 10:20am
There is no carrot. We only have so many resources and they need to focus on new features. A programmer cannot work on more than 1 feature at a time. Which feature has the highest priority?
It's not about finish what you started. I already said that the only parts that will have full footprint dimensions will be the "Standard Parts" and they only represent 50% of all component packages.
People think it's easy to drop in a feature that shows every "Footprint" dimension for pad sizes, pin pitch, pad centers, silkscreen, assembly, 3D model and courtyard outline lengths and widths, polarity marking, local fiducial locations and sizes. This takes multiple graphic images to accomplish this. It's a minimum 5 - 6 week project to cover every component family.
In that same amount of time we can create the "Package Editor" or the "Footprint Editor" or the "3D-STEP export". So why is it unfair to allow users to vote for the priority of their choice?

Posted By: Matthew Lamkin
Date Posted: 05 Dec 2012 at 2:25am
Perhaps its unfair because of the way that you are working the question and the number of people that get to see it?

From experience polls have to be worded well and available to a large enough user base to make them of any use. Users of the old LP package who are keen enough to follow you over onto this one would at least expect it to have some of the very useful features that the other one had.

(No one has even mentioned the ability to print the dimensions out yet, which is something I miss. Smile )

Posted By: DaveCowl
Date Posted: 06 Dec 2012 at 12:33pm
  1. Footprint Editor for non-standard surface mount parts
  2. Package Editor for non-standard through-hole parts
  3. Adding detailed footprint pictures with all the dimensions
  4. Parts On Demand (POD) vending machine
  5. 3D model library export
This is only really a guess since it is not entirely clear how the workflow would work with this.

Generally if I need to build a special part I will just build it in the CAD tool, but if there is good incentive to do it in the Footprint Expert then that makes it more interesting.

I am not overly convinced about the POD idea, though again it really depends on how it plays out.

For now 3D doesn't come into play though that could easily change in an instant! :)

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