Most hardware designers, in their unique and innovative designs, encounter the problem that the part they want to use isn’t already included in their design software’s libraries. In certain design programs, adding a new part can be tedious work. Making a mistake can be very costly during manufacturing. Furthermore, you may want to reuse the part in the future. Thus it is worthwhile to spend the time to ensure that your part creation is “perfect”.
If you need to use a component that’s not in your library, what two things do you need to consider while designing it in your CAD tool?
- How to make your part design accurate and practical for manufacturing
- How to make your part reusable in the future
There are three important aspects that require a hardware designer’s attention to ensure part perfection.
The first, introduced below, is the part attributes, which contain relevant functional and reference information to explain to the basics about that part. We’ll go into more detail later on exactly what information should be contained in there.
The second, and the focus of part 2 of our series, is the schematic symbol which is a logical representation of the part that emphasizes readability for the design engineer’s schematic.
The last aspect, is the footprint of the component, which is used to describe a specific mechanical shape of the part and is necessary for the PCB layout and manufacturing. We will split discussion of the footprint into two parts, optimizing our design first for the layout design and then for manufacturing considerations.
The attributes should contain a few obvious but important notes.
- The full part number of the product you want to use should be included as well as the name of the manufacturer of the part.
- A URL to the part’s datasheet. This can help someone quickly locate the information that was used to create the part in the part library.
- The package type (such as QFN, BGA, through-hole, etc.).
- Also to be included are any specifications necessary to understand what the part does. For example, if the part is a crystal oscillator, the attributes should indicate the frequency it operates at.
For the practical “How-To” of creating the attributes of a new component in Upverter, see our YouTube video.