Working with the Design Viewer

Last Updated: September 5, 2019
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The Design tab of the PCB interface allows you to review your design files for correct alignment and check for mistakes before your order is processed. It also shows a render of your PCB of how it will look when manufactured. Changing the PCB’s soldermask color and silkscreen color will be reflected in the viewer in real-time.


Navigating in the PCB Tab

PCB Specification Controls

On the right-hand panel, you will see the PCB Specifications controls and the PCB Layer Files. For more information about customizing your PCB Specifications check out this article.

PCB Layer List

The PCB Layer Files list below the PCB Specifications section shows all the layers for the PCB. These are generated from the PCB gerbers or generated from the EDA file you uploaded. Hovering over a file with your mouse will show that file in the viewer if it is a PCB layer.

Hovering over the gear icon on the file will bring up a context menu for the layer. The menu will show the name of the layer and functions that allow deleting the file, pinning the file to be visible all the time, and moving the file to another layer. You can pin multiple layers at a time. Pinning layers turns the PCB viewer from a “realistic” render of the PCB to a gerber representation of the layer. You can also drag the layer to another section if you need to swap layers around!

PCB Viewer Controls

The rotation, zoom, and flip icons are at the bottom-left side of the PCB viewer. Clicking and dragging in the PCB display panel will move the PCB within the display, this is especially useful when zoomed in to review details on larger, more complex boards.

PCB Errors

If the PCB you uploaded has problems with the layer files or processing issues you will see a yellow triangle in the upper right of the Design Viewer. This is where issues with your design files will be if there are any. Think of this as the DRC for your manufacturing files.

Hovering over the triangle will show all the issues. These should be carefully gone through as they can impact the success of your PCB Assembly. You can dismiss the error once you have resolved the problem or if the problem is fine.

Before the PCB Assembly can be ordered all these PCB Errors should be resolved. The PCB ready check in the platform will block you from ordering till you have acknowledged the PCB Errors. Further reading on PCB Errors can be found in our knowledge base.

Unassigned Files

If your manufacturing files uploaded to the MacroFab platform contain files that the platform does not recognize they will be placed in the Unassigned Files section of the PCB Layer List.

Unassigned files will need to be either deleted/removed from the PCB Layer Files list or assigned to a layer before ordering.

More information about what Unassigned Files are can be found in the knowledge base.

Rendering Issues and Other Concerns?

The PCB is shown using processed SVG files from the PCB data you upload, there may be artifacts displayed on the screen that show gaps in large pours that disappear when resizing or moving. These artifacts are caused by the SVG renderer in the browser and will not be present in your PCBs. Check our PCB Render Issues article to see if it is a common problem. If you have any questions or concerns with your PCB files or with how the PCB Viewer works in the platform contact our support team.