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Addressing the Challenges of PCB Design for Manufacturing FAQ

Here are some comprehensive answers to all the questions asked in our recent webinar.

Live DOC | Manufacturing | DesignTrue Portal | General

Live DOC

Does Live DOC only export to PDF in black and white or am I missing some setting to have a colored PDF?

Currently, Live DOC only supports black and white with plans to support full color PDF in the future.

Can Live DOC create 3D board representations?

Not yet, however full 3D views are coming in an upcoming release.

Can Live DOC open Altium saved designs and modify?

Unfortunately, no it cannot. The Altium Draftsman format is not compatible with Live DOC.

What exported report/documentation formats does Live DOC support?

Currently Live DOC supports intelligent PDF generation, so for example you can search for certain numbers or words within the document.

Do I have to build Live DOC from scratch for each design?

No, you do not. Live DOC supports templates, so once you come up with a good format that you want to use, you can save it as a template and open any design with it as the saved template will auto generate the latest data within your current design.

Can Live DOC be version managed?

The Live DOC document can be versioned, but remember the document is “live” linked to the PCB database. The placed drawing objects are dynamically linked to the PCB making the drawing object version always match the current version of the PCB. In short, the revision control is done at the board level.


Regarding manufacturing copper spacing: I see CU_INT and CU_EXT in your demo. But it should (also) be constrained depending on the used foil thickness. Ideally, I would like to see the values changing if the foil thickness is changed in the stack up. Is that possible?

Yes, you can control the thickness and the materials within the stackup, as well as the constraint rules for all the stackups.

Regarding annular ring checks: For plated holes we define finished hole size with a tolerance. This ends up in the drill legend. But a manufacturer determines the annular ring by subtracting the actual drill hole size (before plating) from the pad size. Example: For ENIG the actual drill is 100um bigger than FHS, for HASL perhaps 150um. How is this handled by the DFM DRC checks?

OrCAD X PCB layout does not take tolerances into account – either manufacturing or material choices. The DFM checks are based solely on the values entered into Constraint Manager. Below is an example of a 2 mil annular check in DFM.

In 23.1, the Padstack Editor was updated to support both Finished and Actual Drill Sizes for Padstacks and we added an option in 23.1 ISR2 to use the Actual Drill for Hole Checks in DesignTrue. This is only a DesignTrue DFF Check change, standard Spacing Domain Hole Checks are still using Finished Hole Size.

Soldermask on pads and legend/silkscreen on pads is a repeating defect that many designs have when the file is sent to the fabricator. Is there a way to setup your tool to not allow those defects to be saved and sent?

The best thing to do is to set up your manufacturing rules within the constraint manager to flag the error. Just like the DRC, it’s up to the designer to determine what are "stop" errors verse what can be waived - the tool just flags the problem.

DesignTrue Portal

How do I use the DesignTrue DFM Customer Portal?

To access the DesignTrue DFM Customer Portal, you can sign up here. If you’re having any issues with access or requesting rule sets, feel free to contact the Cadence support team for help.

Do you have any constraints template for download and start with?

The best place to start is working with your fabricator or request an initial rule set from one of our participating DesignTrue DFM fabricators via the DFM portal. Here is a walk-though demo you can refer to that shows you how to request rules from a fabricator.

Where do I get my rule values from if I want to use DesignTrue? And have these rules been vetted out with fabricators?

Yes, the rules have been vetted out with fabricators. DesignTrue DFM has been in the market for almost 10 years and numerous companies have manufactured designs using DesignTrue with positive feedback. In terms of setting up the rules, it’s best to work with your fabricator as they can guide you with what criteria they will be checking your designs against. Some fabricators may have the capabilities to create rule decks for you and share them, however if you’re creating from scratch, and defining for a certain fabricator, certain processes and stackups, you can always reuse your rules where possible for any design.


The constraint presets that are saved with export, can they be reused from board to board? Example: Export from one board and import in another board.

Yes, all constraint rules can be exported and imported for reuse between designs.

Where do all my files go when I run export to manufacturing?

Your files are saved within your working directory.

What’s an easy way to save your design constraints?

Once you’ve entered in your constraints within the constraint manager, simply select File > Save or Ctrl+S and the rules are automatically saved.

Is there a way to automatically document the controlled impedance traces (single ended and differential pair) per layers to the PCB manufacturer?

There are plans to add an impedance table object to Live DOC.

Can we lock the rules that we don't want to change by the engineer who is working on the design in future?

Our higher end Allegro X products support constraint locking.

Do you support importing DFx rules from other solutions like Valor?

Unfortunately, we do not support the import of Valor rules. This is because the rule sets between the systems do not match.

ODB++ and IPC-2581 are referred to as intelligent manufacturing formats, yet the leading format used to this day is still Gerber – why and given your experience what format would you recommend?

IPC-2581 is the latest and greatest XML format, it has the ability to embed XML attributes. ODB++ can do that too, but with IPC-2581, the capability of XML allows you to eliminate fab notes and allows you to include attribute within your XML file. One of the advantages that it provides is that it allows us to transfer smart intelligent information versus transferring information from one piece of paper for someone to read and manually enter into another software application. The other advantage is that customers have requested stackup data in 2581 format so that they don’t have to manually input information from a PDF file for a stackup update. Moreover, I’d like to see IPC-2581 expanded and really utilize the intelligent capabilities associated with it.

As a fabricator are you able to provide stack up and/or impedance support – even if routing is not complete on my design?

Yes, we at Summit can certainly provide preliminary information for you to start with. However, keep in mind that we still need all the design data. We need to look at the copper weights, the design itself to finalize any impedance.