Eagle Board Layout Assistant

board teaserCreating a circuit board to fit a specific enclosure can be a challenge even though vendors are often providing drawings with the recommended board dimensions.  Many enclosures use boards shaped like the one shown here — basically a cross shape with rounded corners.  Even with dimensions given, laying out a board this shape in Eagle or another CAD program is tedious and subject to errors because of the many calculations that must be made.

To simplify the process, I developed the Eagle Board Layout Assistant using Visual Basic 6, which will run on Windows computers.  Three x dimensions, three y dimensions, the mounting hole diameter and the inside corner radius must be entered in the simplest case and the program creates a script file that may be run in Eagle to create the board layout.  The script may be run in a new blank board or may be run inside the library editor to create a new component that can be used again in the future.

Download Eagle Board Layout Assistant, revision 1B



Program screen shot copy

The program also has the option to create pairs of holes on the x-axis centerline and y-axis centerline and to round the external corners of the board.  The Eagle board for the above drawing created using a script from Eagle Board Layout Assistant shown below.

RB33 board

This arrangement may not be complete for every possible board design but should provide an easily edited starting point for most boards.

The program will also generate rectangular boards with mounting holes if the smaller x and y dimensions are set to the same size as the largest dimension in each direction.

The program has a minimum error detection features.  Create a board from the script; if it's not what you expected, check the entered dimensions and click [Create Script] again.


Using Eagle Board Layout Assistant

Launch the exe file.  No installation is required.  VB6RUN.DLL is required to run the Visual Basic 6 program.  It's installed on most computers using Microsoft Office or other Microsoft programs.

Fill in the appropriate boxes on the screen as shown above and click [Create Script].  An Eagle script will be created in a text box on the right side of the screen.

Program screen shot 2

Copy the script from the text box and paste it into Notepad or another text editor and store it with the extension of scr.  Using Notepad, you'll have to enclose the desired name and extension in quotes to override the normal txt extension.


Open a new library in Eagle and create a PACKAGE with the appropriate name or open a new board if you don't want to create the board as a component for future use.  Under the Eagle File menu, select script and select the newly created file.  The new board outline will be created in the blink of an eye.  Note, if you're running the script to create a new board, there will be an error message about the Description Command, which is valid when creating a library part only.  Click [OK] to acknowledge the error and the script will complete properly.

Script Error

Eagle Menu

Download Eagle Board Layout Assistant, revision 1B

Posted: 6 years 4 months ago by Jon Chandler #13242
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The link to the program file is at the end of the article.

Note: Minimal error checking is included in the program. Be sure to enter the required information in the correct boxes.
Posted: 6 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #13243
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I've made a slight improvement to Eagle Board Layout Assistant - there is now an option to have plated or non-plated mounting holes. Some fab houses do not allow non-plated holes.

Eagle Board Layout Assistant, revision 1B

Posted: 6 years 3 months ago by bitfogav #13244
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A neat programme Jon
Posted: 6 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #13246
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A slight revision of the program was required to accommodate plated holes because the script format varies if the target is a library object or a board. This revision adds a option box to select the target application.

Download Eagle Board Layout Assistant, revision 1B

Please update to this version to eliminate any problems related to the target use.


Posted: 6 years 3 months ago by Jon Chandler #13272
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I developed this tool as I'm trying to squeeze a big with a four digit 7-segment display and four toggle switches into a small enclosure for a project. Treating the board layout as a library component makes it easy to try different enclosure sizes as I search for the best fit. The aspect ratios of enclosures differ so comparing a wide slim configuration to a more nearly square arrangement is valuable.

In this particular application, the outer dimensions of the enclosure are also a consideration. As I was pondering different options another good idea came to me: include an outline of the enclosure size when designing the board in the library. I included the enclosure outline in Eagle's reference layer[/]. This layer isn't included in any of the Gerber file layers so it won't confuse the board fab house. It can be displayed or not with a click.

Including the enclosure outline lets you]See the actual overall size by making a 1:1 printout
See the arrangement of any displays and controls on the enclosure
Position any connectors or switches that extend through the enclosure wall
Machine the enclosure cover using (this) template

Here's a shot of the board I'm working on. The heavier line is the outer dimensions of the enclosure (at the largest point). The board outline is just inside the enclosure dimension. Looks a little too crowded to make everything fit

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