Eurocircuits Marking Editor:
When, after a lot of time and effort, you have finally finished designing your new printed circuit board (PCB) board, it is time for it to be done. Producing production data and sending it to the manufacturer is often a pressure source: Is the data good? Can the manufacturer manage it?
To remove at least part of this stress, the PCB manufacturer Eurocircuits offers a set of online tools that show the user exactly what will be produced and how and allow the user to make some last-minute changes. Use of these tools is free and does not require you to place any orders.
In previous articles, we have discussed (alphabetical order) the Panel Editor, PCB Checker, PCB Configurator, PCB Solver, PCB Visualizer. In this case, we will look at the Marking Editor.
What is marking?
If you have ever ordered a PCB somewhere, you will probably notice some text on the produced boards not in your original design. PCB manufacturers have a habit of coding and sometimes even logos on boards, which are marks.
Other QR code tags, UL tags, other logos and more. Everything printed on the sides of the board at the top and bottom can be considered a symbol.
The Tag Editor lets you control these tags. It does not allow you to modify the print of your part, you should do so in your PCB design tool, but it does allow you to add, edit and submit additional marks.
Opens the Tag Editor:
To use the Marking Editor, you should, of course, first load the PCB design. Go to the Eurocircuits website and click Analyze Data. Complete the form, select your Gerber files and verify the form. Please wait for the PCB Visualizer to do its job (when the busy moving icon is replaced by a solid object, preferably a green marker), and then open it. In the left window, scroll down until you see the 'Advanced Options' section. Next to the title of the section sits the 'Mark' button. Click to open the Tag Editor.
After opening, the editor will (should) note one sign: Eurocircuit order number. Let's find out what we can do with it. It will help us get acquainted with the editor.
Using marking Editor:
The order number is automatically set to the location where it is, hopefully, not the way it is. However, you may have wanted to keep that space intact. Normally you would not have been given a choice, but the tag editor allows you to delete it. Click on the red rectangle around the mark to make it orange and drag it to the appropriate position. But you can do more. In the 'Tools' window on the right, scroll down to 'Order Places'. Here, you can change the layout where the symbol (brass or myth) is and rotate it.
Note that a warning message is displayed at the bottom of the 'Tools' window whenever your settings create a problem. Fix the problem by fixing it or by postponing your final editing.
The order number is set, and each board must have at least one. By default, the order number is set to a higher fiction but can be subtly moved to the other side of the board:
Select the other side of the board using the 'Switch view to ...' button or click the appropriate 'Birds Eye View' window on the left.
Click the 'O / N' button to add the order number.
Arrange and rotate it the way you like, and choose a layer of copper or a fairy tale
Change the rearview:
Select an order number and 'Remove selected item.'
Now that we understand this, we understand the basic function of the editor, and we can add custom tags. To do this, you must first check the box 'PCB has a custom tag' before you do anything. Why this is necessary is still unclear to me, but hey, just one more click. Now you can add a production date. For example, a few formats are proposed, or free text. Be sure to press Enter when changing the symbol size.
Adding a custom logo or image is easy. All you have to do is select an image file (JPG, GIF, PNG, TIFF or BMP) and place it where you want. Custom-made logos can be placed on a layer of print, brass and solder masks, giving you the option to adjust the solder mask (but you have already done that in your design tool). Note that the logos are subject to the rules of the Eurocircuits printer myth, which means the holes in the solder mask will be removed.
A good option is to add a QR code. Instead of producing your QR code, the Tag Editor will do this for you based on the text provided by you (be careful of typing!). QR codes can only be made for the printing component layers.
If you need marking the Underwriters Laboratory, better known as UL marking, you should check the box 'PCB is UL certified'. This will put the UL logo in the default location, but you can, of course, move it. You can also add a flame class and a file number. UL marking is often required on boards that may end up in the USA.
Save your work:
You can check if you have added everything you want to the 'Legend' window at the bottom left of the screen when you are done. If so, click 'Apply' to return to the PCB Trimmer, where you can see your work in 'Birds Eye View'. If you add UL symbols, you will notice that the 'UL marking box' is now marked, similar to the 'Specific marking' box accompanying your custom marks. Unchecking these boxes will remove the tags. Re-checking them will make them appear again.
Click the 'Save Changes' button in the 'Summary' window on the right to make the edits save.
Eurocircuits Marking Editor is a beautiful and flexible tool that allows users to add placemarks where they want them. Adding text and production date is as easy as putting a logo or image. I like the QR code editor that makes life easier for those who do not have high-quality PCB design tools.
Although using the editor is easy and accurate, I still recommend integrating the board design files instead of adding "timely" items that will be forgotten when the next board review should be done.
Of course, Marking Editor is a good case tool where PCB design files are not accessible for some reason.