Easiest Way To Get Part Library Templates For Pcb?

Hey all,

One thing I'd like to know, and like to hear what you have to say about is how to accomplish a uniform / "easy" way of doing the following:

(1) Obtaining information about whether a particular part is mass- produceable (3) Obtaining the datasheet ( digikey/mouser are good for this I suppose) (11) Most importantly, obtaining some kind of CAD template / drawing library for insertion into your favorite PCB design tool, for quick and dirty board design.

I haven't yet learned an easy way of doing this...I know eagle uses a library file that is common to other PCB programs, but how common? My understanding is that a lot of PCB manufacturers release their own "free" softwares, but for obvious reasons, there are compatibility issues between them. I know the gerber files are pretty common, but I don't even know what that is yet...still learning.

Basically, anything to keep me from having to draw up my own parts after measuring their dimensions myself with a caliper sad.gif ..and obviously, #1 is there because if I have a choice of parts, I'd rather pick the one that is less likely to be obsolete in the near future and gives me the opportunity to make more than one board if it pleases me to do so...

any thoughts? Thanks!

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This depends entirely on your process capability. To know your process capability you must know your manufacturing facility and of course its cost structure. ANYTHING is mass-produceable at the right price, up to and including original oil paintings and hand-carved busts of Napoleon Bonaparte. Hand-soldered parts are mass-produceable at reasonable cost in Mexico and China, but hard to justify if your labor is paid at US wages.

The datasheet is available from the manufacturer, and many distributors also provide it as a convenience. It is probably better to acquire it from the manufacturer direct. In the majority of cases, Mouser, Digi-Key et al link to the manufacturer for the datasheet, they don't host it locally.

There is no such thing as a "template" that you can "cut and paste" because there is (intentionally) no standardization in EDA software. This makes it difficult for people to migrate between different packages and hence keeps the market captive.

The datasheet for the part will have mechanical information and in almost all cases will also give you a recommended PCB land pattern which is usually not impossible to transcribe (though it's not uncommon for one or more dimensions to be missing). There is also a very useful resource at which will give you the standard land patterns for many different standard packages. You will of course have to draw the footprint manually in your PCB software unless the part vendor happened to provide a compatible library (extremely rare these days but it's worth asking).

Once you've drawn the package, a sanity check is to print it at 1:1 and match up a sample part against it.

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It should be rare that you need to measure something!

Some parts have DXF files, and that is commonly imported into the footprint. You still need the PadStack info, but the XY and outlines are all done.

Another common pathway is via Translators and Eval-Design harvesting.

Many companies publish the CAD data for their Eval designs, and you can import that.


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Jim Granville

TI publishes padstack data in PADS, BoardStation and DXF format for quite a few parts.

I don't think I've ever done a PCB without having to create at least one decal. I think on my last board the only pre-made footprint I was able to use was the 0805 decal.


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Ok thanks for everything guys. IIRC, a DXF file is an autocad file type...(just remembered that from back in my high school drafting days)...so what I'm hearing is basically that I'll be stuck drawing lots of stuff because the world is a bad place...I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on some magic tool that all the "real" engineers use while I plug away drawing circles and squares....I figured there must be something since eagle comes with such a wide variety of library files...you'd think everything in the world would be there, and I'm sure there is, but they make it very difficult to simple browse what's there, and all the names are cryptic. I have intentionally just drawn up parts that I already knew were in there somewhere 'cause it's so dang tedious to look them up.

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