Pad Mask Clearance settings
- Copper Zone Properties
- Design Rules
- Setting Origins
- Plotting Gerbers
- Drill Files Generation
Pad Mask Clearance Settings
KiCad give you a lot of power when it comes to things like soldermask and solderpaste settings. But unless you're doing something pretty funky, our strongest suggestion is to never use Pad or Footprint specific settings for setting mask and paste clearances unless you absolutely need to.
Why? If you leave those setting at zero in Pad Properties or Footprint Properties (both found while using the Footprint Editor), you'll find ordering from us (or anyone else) is going to be a lot easier in general. Solderpaste and Soldermask settings should be adjusted before outputting any Gerber files from Pcbnew using the "Pads Mask Clearance" menu item, under Dimensions.
Correct settings will look like this, for inches:
And in millimeters:
Moreover, our testing shows that using Global Pad Mask Clearance Settings appears to the only way to ensure correct Mask Clearances, and to always avoid Mask Slivers when using KiCad. It seems that mixing settings will not ensure that circular objects are entirely concentric, for example.
Remember, in KiCad, clearances can be set at either the Pad, Footprint or Global level. Pad settings have the highest priority, followed by Footprint, followed by Global. So, if you're getting a Mask-related error in our DFM for just one part, or just certain pads, it means that something is set there and overriding your Global setting.
Copper Zone Properties
When using Copper Zones (or copper pours, more generally speaking), we strongly suggest using the highlighted settings shown below, for each Zone.
Note that during our testing with version 4.04, we found that setting "Segments/360 deg:" to 32 actually created more facets in round objects, and in turn, caused clearance issues.
The following settings in the Pcbnew Design Rules Editor express PCB:NG's board constraints:
The same values may be used with the Net Classes Editor if you'd prefer to create these settings on a per-design basis.
We strongly recommend keeping all origins absolute - i.e., not using an Auxiliary axis as the origin. This will always ensure that Drill files and Gerber outputs are lined up.
Suggested settings for Gerber output. The most important settings are highlighted. Do not use "Subtract soldermask from silkscreen", unless you want your entire board filled with silkscreen (this appears to be bug in 4.04).
Drill Files Generation
The highlighted sections and settings are essential for best results with PCB:NG. Using these settings will always work (assuming that you didn't check "Use auxiliary axis as origin" when you plotted your Gerbers).