Electronics > Altium Designer

"IT'S TOO BIG!" says everyone, including my PCB assembler...

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Add your connectors, breaking the nets that cross your intended division.  Put a massive slot/cutout in at the division.  Generate your gerbers.  Edit the artwork in CAM to have 2 sets, or ask your chosen manufacturer to do it for you. Once the nets are broken and slot is there, these are easy operations in CAM.

Thanks to all who replied (even the guy who called "B.S.").  Just to keep yous all up to date: 

I kept it as one big single project.   I generated one set of gerbers, gave a dimensioned drawing showing my cut line to the boardshop, and their Gerber Jockeys split the gerber into two.    My home-brew .net code takes the one pick&place, and splits it into two, and then splits the bom into two.
The boards are currently being fabbed, and the smt shop has their feeders fully cocked and loaded; both are reporting no issues.

Boardshop gerberJockeys spend all day cutting/pasting/rotating gerbers, squeezing all kinds of designs to maximize panellization... so I think this was trivial for them.  I could've done it with viewmate or something... but better to let them do it.

Keeping it as a single project in Altium was the way to go.   The big drawback is the monstrously large (300MB?) single boardfile, which takes altium 10 friggin minutes to even open the dang thing.   But it is convenient to have the whole board, schematic and layout, all in one design.

As an aside:  For fun, we fabbed the original 33x17", at full size, no cuts.  I have a raw card in hand; it is big... in a pinch, you could use it as a ping-pong table, or perhaps foozball.  They haven't gone through SMT yet...  we had to find a smtShop  that could handle this size.   It is heavy and sags and bends just by picking it up.  Not sure if it'll be better or worse once ~10 kilograms of components and connectors are plopped on it. 

Pictures or it didn't happen :D

Seriously I'd love to see how this boards looks like.

New versions of Altium do support multi board designs that allow you to import in multiple PcbDocs into a single file. But yeah i can see why you would want to keep it as one.

You can do it perfectly fine by simply cutting the board down the middle, inserting connectors and just drawing a board outline around both, then place a "board cutout" between them to split it up completely. The schematic will be the most work for this since net names on both sides of the connector need to be different. I typically do this by adding a ' to the end of the netname on the other side. It is easy to spot if you missed a have a duplicate net name on both sides because on the PCB you can see Altium drawing a rats nest line between the boards.

I am also curious what this board actually does since it is a HUGE board by any stretch of the imagination! Not many products even need such a massive amount of electronics (especially given how much more compact modern electronics have gotten) while devices that do need such a huge amount of electronics will typically split a design this big into about 10 boards. Not only does this make the boards much easier to manufacture, but it also makes the product easier to develop (no need to respin the whole huge expensive board for a revision) and much easier to repair (boards can be swapped around to quickly locate a fault). Id imagine such a large board in modern times would contain in the order of >10 000 components.


--- Quote from: frogblender on January 20, 2022, 05:16:55 am ---   It is heavy and sags and bends just by picking it up.

--- End quote ---
i hope you design in busbars or stiffners or are going to support this thing properly. you will have to deal with cracked parts and fractured solder joints...
if that board cannot be kept supported during reflow it will crack parts just picking it off the conveyor... I've seen that happen.
Your other issues is going to be finding a reflow oven that has a long enough hot zone and the right speed to guarantee the correct dwell time. one part of the board will be in reflow while the other is still burning off the flux. this is going to give tremendous stress on the board.

not a good idea ...


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