Welcome to the CADSTARguys Blog - Information, hints, tips and my waffle on the CADSTAR Printed Circuit Board design suite.

Please note that all names used are completely fictitious and any thing written is my own personal opinion or knowledge and not related in any way to either my employers or their customers (or Zuken).
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Friday, 6 May 2011

Creating a zoned document symbol set.

When adding a border to your designs, in order to not be redrawing it every design it should be created as a document symbol. This can be added to both Schematic or PCB designs and easily scaled to fit around the design so it can fit another paper size. Let me explain how to make one that you can use for your drawings.

The sheet size that is used mostly in Europe is A3, I think that the advent of the networked photocopier that is able to print at A3 has something to do with this.

The sheet border I have made is ISO A3 size and split into a 10x10 zoned area to give me a pretty accurate idea of each zone on even the busiest drawing. The lines are all drawn in a document symbol line code with the text in a document symbol text code so that they can be changed in your design without affecting any other design items.

Start with File\New and choose the Document Symbol tab and the "Defaults" template.
Let me assume that your standard drawing size is A3 so we need to draw a figure that is suitable for printing on an A3 printer. A3 is 420mm x 297mm so I figure coming in from the edges by 10mm gives an ample printer margin - this makes it that our border symbol is actually 400mm x 277mm in size.

Draw a closed rectangular figure/box that is going to print out 1:1 on an A3 sheet
(A3 minus the printer margins) and then draw another smaller figure box 5mm or so from each edge of the first box. (I find this easiest if I draw a 5mm box, snap it to the corners and drag/snap the inside box to the corner of this, then move it to the opposing corner -snap to that then delete the 5mm box - I like using boxes when drawing).

Take the outside box edges and divide those by the number of zones you will use I.E. 10.

Add partition lines between the outer and inner to subdivide your outer lines into 10.

To do this - yet another drawn box can be used, 6mm x 27.7mm.
Snap this to the bottom left corner of the outer figure.
27.7x6mm box

Draw an open horizontal line 5mm long, select/move that and snap it to the left junction of the outside box and the top of the 6x27.7mm box (The point arrowed in image on the right)..

Select the 6x27.7mm box, copy and paste snapping to the top of the previous box until you have 9 of them on the left side.
Select/copy the 5mm horizontal line and paste, snapping onto the junctions above it until you have divided the left edge into 10 zones.

Now - because the 6x27.7mm box is 1mm wider than the outer to inner borders you can easily shift +select them all and move them to the right side. If selecting them does not put the origin for moving them on the bottom 6x40mm box then control+shift deselect it then control+shift reselect it - this should make it the origin for the group you are moving. Perhaps make them a group, move and mirror while moving then ungroup in order to get the r/h corner as the snap origin.

Drag a thin selection window up between the left edge inner/outer borders to select all the horizontal dividers, copy and paste - snapping them on the right side of the borders.

Do a similar exercise for the top using 40mm x 6mm boxes.
Draw inner to outer diagonal lines in the corners, or 5mm boxes - whatever you prefer, to separate horizontal/vertical sections - or if you prefer - leave them as is.

Whatever line code you used for these drawn figures - select them all, select the properties and make the line code one called "Document Symbol Line 0.254mm" with a line width of 0.254mm (or 10 thou) - if this line code does not exist then make a new assignment.

This ensure that it is not altered when changing anything else in the design, also the width at 0.254mm/10 thou is about as low as I like to go down given that the aforementioned photocopier does not make such a good job on thinner lines, especially if its a poorly maintained copier :)

Add text (I suggest you make a doc text assignment and call it something like "Document Symbol Sheet Zone Text") for each zone with A to J in the horizontal zones and 1 to 10 in the vertical zones. (Unfortunately, at present it is not possible to miss out any numbers/letters).

Add a symbol origin in the corner (or centre - your preference), it should then look something like this:

Save this as a document symbol, perhaps call it "Sheet Border A3 Zoned"
 add it to a schematic - print it out and check that everything is correct.

I have created a set of doc symbols for you to modify to use yourself Here as an archive file, in your document library choose "Add File", set "Files of Type" to "Archive files" browse, select and click OK.

Within this document set I have also created document symbols for a "Project Details" box for the bottom RH corner, a "Company Details" (Your name & logo etc) to snap next to it (Join them both if you wish) and a "Modification Details" for the top.

Start a new schematic to see how these look, first place your A3 Sheet Border, then place a "Project Details" and then a "Company Details" symbol, you can add a "Mod Box" symbol at a later date when modifications are called for.

You may note from the mod box symbol that I have created several alternatives with additional rows so it can grow as the design does, also the additional symbols origins are in corners that will snap to the main sheet border.
Adding the whole set together should look like the picture below - however because it is modular then it can be arranged to suit any particular project.

If you are a bureau then using a modular setup also means that you only have to change the company name/address/logo section and can keep the main borders the same on all jobs.

Modify this document symbol set to suit your own needs.


Jeremy said...

Hi CadstarGuy,

I was wondering how could I manage to add my company logo on the shematic sheet. Is it possible to add it as a ".png" or in any image format ?

Thanks a lot for what you did in that blog, it is very helpful !


MattyLad said...

To add your logo, the best method is to use a DXF, most raster image formats are incompatible with CADSTAR.

Use unfilled outline shapes in the DXF and fill them when in CADSTAR. Import into a documentation symbol for best reuse.

Jeremy said...

Thank you for your answer, I'll try that!

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