CAD2CAM4PCB seminar well appreciated

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Attendees praise comprehensive PCB design workshop

The recent CAD2CAM4PCB seminar held in San Jose was met with enthusiasm and appreciation from the over 200 attendees. The 3-day workshop covered all aspects of printed circuit board (PCB) design, from initial schematic capture using computer-aided design (CAD) tools to generating files for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) systems to produce the final boards.

Seminar agenda

The seminar was divided into several key topics spread across the three days:

Day Morning (9am-12pm) Afternoon (1pm-5pm)
1 Introduction to PCB design flow Schematic capture best practices
2 PCB layout techniques Design for manufacturing (DFM) guidelines
3 Generating CAM files Future trends in PCB design

Schematic capture best practices

The first day started with an overview of the typical PCB design process, from initial concept and requirements gathering to final manufacturing and assembly. Attendees then dove into best practices for schematic capture using modern CAD tools.

Key topics included:

  • Creating a logical, hierarchical design
  • Proper use of buses, ports, and off-page connectors
  • Checking schematics for errors
  • Documenting designs for others

“The schematic is the foundation of the entire PCB design,” said speaker John Smith. “Taking the time to properly capture the design intent at this stage pays dividends throughout the rest of the process.”

PCB layout techniques

Day two focused on the intricacies of PCB layout. Speakers covered essential topics such as:

  • Placing and routing components
  • Proper grounding, power distribution, and signal integrity
  • Creepage and clearance rules
  • Length and phase matching

Attendees participated in hands-on labs, using CAD tools to layout example PCB designs while receiving guidance from the instructors.

“Routing a complex PCB can seem intimidating at first,” said attendee Sarah Johnson. “But the speakers broke down the process into clear steps that made it much more approachable.”

Design for manufacturing

The seminar also emphasized the importance of designing PCBs not just for functionality, but for manufacturability as well. Topics included:

  • Choosing the right PCB material and copper weights
  • Optimizing pad and via sizes
  • Minimizing Acid Traps and conductor necking
  • Panelization techniques to maximize yield

“Many designers focus solely on the electrical aspects and neglect the mechanical DFM rules,” said speaker Mike Williams. “But adhering to manufacturing guidelines is essential to producing reliable, cost-effective boards.”

Generating CAM files

Once a PCB is designed, the CAD data must be translated into a format that the fabrication and assembly vendors can use. The seminar covered the key CAM files and how to generate them:

File type Purpose
Gerber Copper layers, solder mask, silk screen, drill data
Excellon NC drill file
IPC-D-356 Netlist for bare board testing
ODB++ intelligent CAD/CAM exchange format

Speakers stressed the importance of carefully reviewing the generated CAM files before releasing them to the manufacturer. “A simple mistake in the Gerber data can result in scrap boards that cost time and money,” warned Smith.

Future trends

The seminar concluded with a look at emerging trends in PCB design, such as:

  • HDI (high density interconnect) and microvias
  • Embedded components
  • Rigid-flex and multi-board modules
  • 3D printed electronics
  • Photonic integrated circuits

“The electronics industry never stays still for long,” said Williams. “Designers need to continually update their skills and adapt to new technologies to stay competitive.”


In summary, the CAD2CAM4PCB seminar provided a comprehensive overview of the PCB design process. Attendees left with a deeper understanding of CAD schematic capture, PCB layout techniques, DFM principles, and generating manufacturing data.

Participant Robert Brown summed it up: “As someone new to PCB design, this seminar was incredibly valuable. The speakers were knowledgeable, the content was well organized, and the hands-on labs reinforced the learning. I feel much more confident tackling PCB projects now. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone involved in electronics design.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often is the CAD2CAM4PCB seminar held?

A: The seminar is typically offered twice per year, in the spring and fall. Check the CAD2CAM4PCB website for upcoming dates and locations.

Q: Are there any prerequisites for attending?

A: The seminar is designed for both new and experienced PCB designers. A basic understanding of electronics and CAD tools is helpful but not required. The speakers start with the fundamentals and build from there.

Q: What CAD tools are used in the hands-on labs?

A: The labs primarily use Cadence OrCAD and Allegro PCB Software, but the techniques apply to other PCB CAD tools as well. Many of the labs use demo versions of the software that attendees can take home for further practice.

Q: Can I get a copy of the seminar slides and materials?

A: Yes, attendees receive a USB drive with all of the presentation materials in PDF format, as well as the lab files. The slides are also available to download from the CAD2CAM4PCB website after the seminar ends.

Q: How can I register for an upcoming seminar?

A: Visit the CAD2CAM4PCB website and click on the “Upcoming Events” link. Select the seminar you wish to attend and fill out the online registration form. Early bird discounts are typically available up to one month before the seminar date.