DesignSpark PCB is a very intuitive program and easy to return to after a break in use, however as with any advanced program there is a learning curve and the following 'Tips and Tricks' are aimed at allowing you to get the best from the program with the shortest learning time.
This resource provides all of our online documentation, plus the community forum is a good place to ask general questions, but don't forget the "Help" documentation within DesignSpark PCB.
If you do not find the answer to your question using the above or have a technical issue and require further assistance please contact our support team using the button next to your login name at the top of DesignSpark web pages.
Note: Please ignore any reference to ModelSource which is replaced by our new PCB Part Library and use this. (All documentation is being updated to reflect this.
Here you will find a record of any event that may affect the use of DesignSpark PCB, refer to this first if you have any technical issue.
For anyone new to PCB design or require a basic introduction to DesignSpark PCB please read our introductory book available here. The second link is the English translation of the DesignSpark PCB chapter.
This video shows the basic steps from creating your schematic to producing a PCB. This will help you understand the process and see the functions of the menus helping you to navigate around the program.
Using the library resource.
How to locate and download RS components using a parametric search tool. This will significantly speed up the process of selecting a component direct to your schematic design.
Designing your schematic.
We present a number of tutorials with the section Creating Schematic, however to get started quickly the "First Steps" video is recommended. Note this is being recreated to reflect our change of online component resource to PCB Part Library
Designing your PCB
The seven videos "DesignSpark PCB Basic Course:..." provides a quick overview of the whole process. The category Creating your PCB design provides information on placing tracks, power planes, copper pours, layers and much more, so explore this category as you advance in your skills and requirements.
Manufacturing your PCB.
Before considering sending your Gerber files for manufacture do check in detail your final design with these minimum checks and steps.
If you have used power planes please perform a visual check in the design and of your Gerber files. Power planes should not have any tracks present, however if you have placed anything on the power plane a visual check will confirm you have not accidentally created any isolated areas not connected to the net.
As DesignSpark PCB produces Gerber files you are not restricted to any specific manufacturer, but do check they meet your requirements and you conform to theirs to avoid any unexpected cost penalties. Our preferred supplier is Mint Tek who will also provide you with guidance and select the best manufacturer for your design. A link is provided at the top right of the DesignSpark PCB application.
As well as board manufacture you may also require assembly, for this a placement (or Pick & Place) file is required for the automatic assembly machine this can be generated from the Reports feature.
Ordering your components.
Having completed your PCB design there is normally the long task of creating an order, this is speeded up considerably by the automated process within Design Spark PCB using
the BOM Quote feature.
DesignSpark PCB allows you to add any document to your project to build a detailed reference of datasheets, design notes, images etc.
The above will assist you to quickly get familiar with the features and processes, should you require additional assistance please see our expanding list of documents and videos and also use "Help" within DesignSpark PCB.