EE Bookshelf: PCB Panelization

If you order a single PCB from one of the many pooling services out there (shout out to Laen’s OSH Park, for example, which I recently tested  myself) … you usually get back individually cut out boards that follow the dimension layer of your submitted PCB or gerber files.  That’s great if you’re assembly them by hand … but if that amazing prototype turns out to be a gold-mine you’re going to need to deal with machine assembly using a pick a place, and those tiny little one-off boards aren’t going to get you very far.

Pick and place machines place multiple boards in one go via something called panelization (panelisation for some of us) … essentially, taking one design and laying out multiple copies of it in rows and columns, then putting a frame around the panel and inserting some drill holes or V-scoring (or both) to later break the individual boards out from the support frame.  Sounds easy … but it’s a lot more challenging than you might expect to take that one board and design a panel properly, and there’s a but of inside knowledge required to do it properly.

Enter today’s EE Bookshelf entry, courtesy Tom Hausherr (who’s amazing blog we highlighted not too long ago).  There’s precious little information out there on proper panelization — what size for the inner cutouts between the frame and the boards, what drill holes for the breakaway tabs, and don’t forget the fiducials and mounting holes on the frame, etc..  This blog entry is definitely the best I’ve come across on the subject (and I’ve picked up a lot of books over the years): PCB Design Perfection Starts in the CAD Library Part 19:  PCB Breakaway Panels.  The information is SW neutral, and it gives you all the key measurements you need for your first panel to be a success!

Have some tips on doing this the right way yourself?  Post them up in the comments below!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.