chipKIT® Development Platform

Inspired by Arduino™

PCB Layout Cheat Sheet Recommendations

Created Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:14:40 +0000 by jmlynesjr


Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:14:40 +0000

Hi: To those that are doing their own PCB layout and fabrication, can you suggest a set of standards/starting-points for the objects that must be defined? Such as: trace widths and spacing, through-hole/via hole sizes, through-hole/SMD pad sizes and spacing, ring sizes, drill sizes, layer usage, etc.

What works for your designs?

What design tools/fabs do you like?

Thanks, James

Jacob Christ

Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:36:26 +0000

Most board houses we use can do 6mil/6mil tracks and spacing. Some cannot do smaller via's so you could end up with big fat holes where you put a tiny via if your not careful. Try to keep via's away from where solder paste will go, or make sure your vias have mask over them.

We are using Eagle because we have a license, but if I was just starting out I would checkout KICAD.

Before you send a board out turn off all traces and just leave silk on. This will show you what the board will look like. Try to put notes in the silk to remind you what pin does what. (It sucks to have to pull up a schematic to remember where the + side of the power supply goes, ect).

Try to maximize ground planes, especially under high speed signals.


Sat, 31 Jan 2015 11:43:14 +0000


I use eagle in the free license version as I am non-profit and can live with the 100mmx160mm max pcb size.

I use for prototypes and they provide you with a board definition file that has pretty common settings. I personally tend to use 10mil width and spacing settings as this prevents the autorouter to pass wires between solder pads too close to each other. This can be a problem if you are soldering with children or newbees on soldering.

OSH also provides you a good gerber output cam file for gerber file-sets to be used with other pcb fabs

Ciao, Mathias


Sat, 31 Jan 2015 17:46:50 +0000

Thanks for the feedback.

I have the Eagle 7 free version also and I'm reading the "Learning to Fly with Eagle" book. I have also played around with Fritzing some.

I found a few suggestions in the ARRL Handbook. They like 10mil spacing for similar reasons. I'll check out



Tue, 24 Feb 2015 22:41:37 +0000

I have now read "Eagle V6 Getting Started Guide, Learning to fly with Eagle" by Mitchell Duncan(twice) and "Make Your Own PCBs with Eagle, From Schematic Designs to Finished Boards" by Simon Monk. From $15USD to $20USD on Amazon.

Both are very good. The Monk book is about 50 pages longer and as such covers topics in greater detail and includes more example projects in through-hole and SMD formats. Also the screen shots are bigger and easier to read for my old eyes. It also uses part libraries from Sparkfun and Adafruit which may be of assistance to beginners.

Time to try to make something! Thanks for the OSHPark reference, it looks like a pretty economical service.