Electronics > Open Source Hardware

Consistent panel placement techniques wanted.

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asgard:
[I have moved this discussion here, as it seems more appropriate]

I have been playing panellize dominoes with the four components of the current project.  Each component is a board with different dimensions. With a bit of fiddling around I can get 5 complete kits of boards on a single 7.8 x 10 panel. That is by only using Eagle and Gerbmerge. All well and good, but Gerbmerge doesn't automagicallty do anything with breakoff tabs, so I probably have to do it with v-scoring, followed by hand-edits of the score Gerber file. I do not have the capability to graphically edit Gerber files, so that process of eliminating unnecessary score liknes is probably going to be funky and slow. In addition, there is a nifty ULP for Eagle that prepares a centroid placement file in .csv form. One problem is that there needs to be some way of expanding the centroids to accommodate multiple placements on a panel, in varying rotations. I have developed a manual process using the placement list from Gerbmerge, combined with the centroid ULP output, within a spreadsheet, to do that, but it takes multiple days just to do the 20-board panel of the current project. Just imagine the brain pain that would result from doing a 273-board panel for just the .5x.5 Powah's That sounds like a job for a computer, eh? That results in just a list of component ID's, X and Y offsets, and rotation angles for the pick-and-place machine. I have started to look around at various assembly house web sites for technical requirements, but they do not seem to be consistent whether they can take individual board centroids and BOM's and do the placement themselves, or if I have to do the placement myself, with an expanded BOM to take in the entire panel.

On another note, I have adapted a project from last year's Elektor project issue into a much better packaging and layout, while keeping the previous circuit. I wanted to build a few of these to give away as Christmas and birthday gifts this year, but it seems like a pretty nifty thing that other people can use. My boggle is that would it be legal for me to commercialize the design, because I got the original circuit schematic from a magazine article, but everything else (board, BOM, packaging) was designed by me? Probably can't get a definitive answer except from the publisher (which is dicey), but I was curious if anybody else (Dave, DP, Seeed, Sparkfun) have previously been through that particular mill.  FYI the project is a gimmick you can put on the table near at hand in your living room, which can toggle the mute or power for the TV by simply rapping on the table.

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