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Re: ExpressPCB design help needed

Original poster: Terry Fritz <teslalist@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi Phil,

At 05:28 PM 4/17/2005, you wrote:

This is sort of Tesla coil related, but doesn't need to go to the list, unless you think it should.

I'm trying to learn how to use ExpressPCB, to make some custom boards for a pulse Cap test. As you used them to do your DRSSTC work, thought I'd ask a Pro.

sort of got the linking of the SCH to the PCB working,
but I've got a few questions about 'non-standard parts'.

I have not used the linking thing much. I use the schematics for schematics and the layout for layout but never bothered to try and link them together. My stuff was pretty simple though.

If I can't find a part in "Component Manager" but I've got a set of calibers so I can tell you lead spacing and the diameter of the holes needed to be drilled, do you have to input this as a "Custom component" to be able to use it ?

Sure! You could do each one separately and copy and paste, but why not just make a custom component.

For leads holes, be sure to make them big enough given their +- 0.004 inch hole tolerance. Too big is never a problem, but 0.001 inch "too small" is a big pain ;-)

For example, looking at your Master Parts list, <http://drsstc.com/~terrell/partslist/MasterPartsList.pdf>http://drsstc.com/~terrell/partslist/MasterPartsList.pdf I see that you used several Screw Terminals DigiKey part number 8191K-ND in your latest work, but I don't see this as a standard component.

I made them, or Dan did and I copied his... You can copy them off my thing and save it as a custom component yourself. The files are at:


If you could send me a copy of the the final ExpressPCB design of something you've built with this part in it I should be able to extrapolate how to input my other parts that are non-standard.

Everything is above. This is a nice one:


Just click on one of the terminals so it goes gray, then go to the top bar "Component" and "save custom component". Then it will be available in component manager under custom parts for you. Sort of cool since if you can get hold of the PCB file you can "swipe" everyone else's custom components too ;-)) Be sure to name them well since once you get like 20 custom components it is easy to forget what is what. For the terminals, note that they are not quite symetrical. Those terminal are super nice!!

If you want to change it, start with a clean new file and add the custom component. Use the arrow to select it so it is grey. Go to "Component" and "Ungroup PCB Component" and then you can change or add parts to it as you please since you can select and change each little part inside of the component. You can make it whole again with "Group to make PCB component". Be sure to save it so it is stored under custom components for the future. But you can always grab them again in the original PCB file too. Be sure to measure twice and double check parts others have made :o) I "think" all of mine are correct. You can also ungroup and change all the standard parts too. That is nice to pick up odd lead spacings and such.

Best to use the 10 mil yellow lines and don't let the yellow lines run onto solder pads. Go easy on labels and markers for pins since they can really clutter stuff up. For none silk screen boards, you can just use copper for labels too as long as they don't short anything.

Hope this helps. It is real easy once you see how it works. This boards may also be of help:


It uses the terminals and CD MMC caps. BTW, they like you to use the discount "mini-board" size but the price is not bad for custom sizes too, so don't feel too trapped trying to get stuff to fit. If you use a firewall for your Internet connection, you will probably have to turn it off or adjust it when sending the files.

I will copy the Tesla list too incase someone else is interested.



Thanks in advance for your help.

Phil Rembold