PCB

Add photos to your PCB with Eurocircuits' PCB PIXture:

Free online PCB testing and editing tools made available by Eurocircuits are usable and functional and have an exciting side. In this article, we will look at the speciality of Eurocircuits: "picture", a picture printed on a PCB, similar to a black and white image printed in a newspaper.

By printing small dots of different sizes (dithering), comparisons allow images to be printed on a PCB. Although you may not use this function very well, it is good to add it to the board to make it stand out. Pictures can be printed in black and white and gold-and-black on the most stylish boards.

Open the PCB PIXture editor.

To get started with pictures, you should, of course, first download the board's design in the normal way by clicking the 'Analyze your data' button as described in the previous articles. When the PCB Visualizer is finished (hopefully, it has a green icon), open it, and scroll down to the 'PCB Description' section. You will find a button labelled 'PCB PIXture' in the header. Click to start the wizard. You will first be asked which picture to place (top, bottom or both) and select the solder mask for the other side of the board (black or non-black). Now the PCB PIXture editor opens.

 

Three types of pictures:

To the right of the screen, three types of pictures are proposed:

imaskiPIXture
gold picture
gold logo

The first two will produce a picture with two different sounds, similar to a black and white picture in a newspaper. The mask picture is printed in black and white as a layer of solder mask and will not affect the electrical / damping properties of the board.

GoldPIXture is applied to the gold surface of the board, and the image is darkened with a layer of solder mask. The board is finished with a light solder mask.
Lastly, the gold logo is an unmodified, two-colour non-display image intended for vector graphics and text and is done in the same way as the gold picture.

Any image can be PIXture

You must first upload one image before placing something new on the board. Click on one of the three types, and a box will open asking you to select an image file (supported formats are JPEG, PNG, TIFF, GIF and BMP). When an image is uploaded, it is stored in a place you can call a temporary library, where it is repeatedly accessed until you complete the project.
To use the image, click again the PIXture type you selected to open the features of the item you are going to set. Length and width can be adjusted (note that aspect ratio is adjusted), and the object can be rotated in steps of 90 degrees. Move the mouse cursor over the board to drop the object. After setting the object, its size can be easily adjusted by dragging a corner or side, and re-setting it is also possible.

According to the warning message printed under the object's properties, the objects must fit perfectly within the board's frame. Otherwise, they will not be placed. However, the demo video shows two things that are not compatible with the board, so the outcome may not be uncertain. If in doubt, ask Eurocircuits.

 

Changing pictures:

PIX objects can be placed on both sides of the board (use the 'Change view on ... side' button), and all types can be mixed. There does not seem to be any limit to the number of items you can put, so eat your heart out.

Pictures can also be removed, of course. To do so, first select an item by clicking on it and then click on 'Remove selected item'. The selected item will have a red frame; the unselected object is golden in colour.
Upgrade PCB with PIXtures
If you are happy with the way PIXtures looks on your board, you can save your work by clicking the 'Apply' button. This will take you back to the main Visualizer window, which will display a board made of PIXture.

Note to finish more

While I was following the procedure described above for adding goldPIXture to the bottom of my board, the top area (in the 'PCB definition' section) had changed from 'Any incoming lead' (default) to 'Che Ni / Au before solder mask. 'as expected. However, in the mask picture, it turned out to be 'Che Ni / Au selective', which means that maskPIXture affects onboard assets instead of what was previously stated.
Click 'Save Changes to update your order. Don't forget to proceed to checkout if you want to order abroad.

Conclusion:

PCB PIXtures are exciting to develop a printed circuit board with graphics. Whether it is for promotional activities, improving board usage, visual user interface, or just for fun hanging on the wall, it is not a service you will easily find elsewhere. The online editor allows the client to set PIX (s) exactly the way they want and preview the result.

Of course, PCB PIXtures will increase the price of the board, the gold-and-black version over black-and-white, but the effect is truly unique. Give it a try!

By hqt001