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Creating proper assembly and courtyard

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  • Creating proper assembly and courtyard

    I am getting conflicting information regarding this, one reason is that it is down to the choice and no hard rules exist. However, I need to know how to do this properly.

    What outline must be present in assembly layer of Altium PCB footprint? I think this would be a box representing component and then a special string that shows the designator assigned to that component. Do we require a dot for the pin 1 location?

    Now, talking about outline, must this be outline of the physical component itself OR a box that contains everything of the component on the PCB, including the edge of the pad and further than that, the edge of solder mask? This is not clear.

    Now, what size line does one use for the outline, 0.15mm?

    Now lets move to the courtyard layer. From what I know, this must be 0.05mm line. The line must be 0.25mm away from the component physical boundary i.e 0.25mm from pads AND the physical component body. Is this correct?

    I am really confused what to do here. I want to settle on a sound approach and then create all the foot prints accordingly.

  • #2
    Neither the courtyard nor the assembly layers are required.

    In my opinion the assembly layer if from before 3D. Now that we have 3D, we do not need to add an additional layer that depicts the same.

    A bit the same goes for the courtyard. Altium can check collisions with the 3D bodies. However, there is still the DfA - Design For Assembly. To assemble the board, components cannot be to close to each other.

    For both of these layers the question is: what do you want to do with them?
    - Do you use them during layout?
    - To check the layout?
    - In production documentation?

    I do not have an assembly layer, just 3D of all components.
    I use courtyard a bit to check the layout, but mostly to show the EMS company where the components are located.


    • #3
      I am just trying to learn the proper method, if 3D body can be used for both then fair enough, but what if we can't find the 3D body?

      What about the "component center" layer?


      • #4
        I almost never use courtyard and I only use assembly layers. These are used by assembly house to clearly mark component position (designator is usually in the middle of the component) and clearly mark pin 1 position (this is very important, it's always good to clearly mark pin 1 position in assembly drawing, I have seen many mistakes in assembly houses if there was confusion about pin 1 position).

        Also, assembly layer can show what components are not fitted for specific variants.

        PS: There is no standard, just do it the way you think is right.

        Some time ago I made couple of posts on this topics:

        This video demonstrates how to create TOP and BOTTOM assembly drawing layers in Altium Designer PCB layout.

        How to print assembly drawing or selected layers only? I believe, you will find this video useful.


        • #5
          I thought that assembly and courtyard are as important as 3D body since all of these are created when we use the two footprint wizards found in Altium designer. I also found layers called component center and component outline in the layer adding list which adds more confusion. I do not know how these two layers are really going to be used. I have decided to create component center layer into my footprints since the IPIC footprint wizard always likes to add them. Then again, I don't know if we should use the IPIC wizard or the "normal" footprint wizard.

          The videos from Robert that discuss topic of assembly drawings show drawing where the font size is not consistent across the different symbols. The reason is simply that some components are very small while others are very big area wise. When I saw it the first time, it looked odd. Is this really the only way to do this?


          • #6
            robertferanec we really need some video or conference on what do we need on the various layers. Lets see if we can eliminate the mentioned confusion.
            The picture shown here: to me shows a courtyard and the designator layers.

            gyuunyuu1989 if you cannot find a 3D model, you can create one yourself with FreeCad.
            Last edited by qdrives; 06-13-2023, 12:25 PM.


            • #7
              FreeCAD the CAD program? Yes. But we need to learn the program first, I have downloaded the FreeCAD a few weeks ago but not yet started learning it.


              • #8
                There are plenty of video's on how to use FreeCad.
                If I have enough time I might create a video myself on creating components using FreeCad.

                Below is the first 3D model I created with FreeCad.
                Click image for larger version

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