Creating PCB Projects with PADS

Creating a PCB Project from PADS files

To build a PCB Project using PADS, you will need to export ODB++ files, which can then be uploaded into your PCB Project in MacroFab.

PADS ODB++ File Generation

ODB++ files are exported directly from your PCB and include all of the necessary manufacturing data needed to manufacture your design.

Before exporting the files, the correct layers must be defined in the PADS CAM processor. You can access the CAM processor from File->CAM




The CAM window allows you to see the active layers that will be output in the ODB++ file format.




In order to properly export all of the pcb layers we will need to add them to the CAM output. To do this, begin by pressing the ADD button on the right.




From this window we can add the appropriate layers that are to be exported.




Select the layers that you wish to export from the fabrication layer pull down list. In the image below we will select the power plane layer. Your design may contain some or more of the layers shown in this list.




After selecting the layer, give the layer an appropriate document name. In this case the name Power Plane was used, you may want to use another name.

Under the Document Type pull down list select the option that represents the layer that you are going to add. In the case of the Power Plane layer we will select custom.




Press OK to add the document to the CAM processor. In the image below you can now see that the Power Plane layer has been added to the list of layers that will be output when generating the ODB++ files.




Now you must repeat the steps of adding and defining the layers for your design until all of the necessary manufacturing layers are included in the CAM processor. The image below shows the CAM documents window with all of the layers to be exported.




Now that the layers have been added to the CAM processor we can export the ODB++ manufacturing files. On the Define CAM Documents window, press Save and close out of the window.


Exporting ODB++ Files

In the main PCB view window, select File -> Export.




In the following window select ODB++ from the file format pull down list.




Navigate to the directory that you wish to save the ODB++ file to and press save. The ODB++ files will be saved as a compressed archive file with extension .tgz.


Uploading PADS ODB++ files to MacroFab

To upload ODB++ files to MacroFab, create a new PCB Project in MacroFab, click on the “Design Files” tab, and then drag or upload your .tgz file over to your project.