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PCB Fabrication Notes

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PCB fabrication notes are enclosed within the fabrication drawing by a designer. Fabrication drawing is a blueprint for circuit board manufacturing that includes graphical representations. It comprises the board shape with dimensions, location of the drilled holes (drill chart), details of cut-outs, layer stack-up, title block, and the fab notes.

PCB fab drawing in KiCad

What are fab notes in PCB design and manufacturing?

PCB fabrication notes include manufacturing instructions, assembly details, industry specifications, and standards along with the locations of special features. It also includes manufacturing standards, details of impedance traces, solder mask color, silkscreen information, and manufacturing tolerances. Sometimes, a list of components is also added upon the fabricator’s request.

PCB fabrication notes in KiCad fab drawing

To manufacture the desired board perfectly, fabricators need to understand the designer/customer’s specifications and requirements. Hence, fab notes are a standard requirement in the industry.

Fab notes include board data files such as Gerber and drill files in the form of text or pdf. They are used to clearly communicate the designer’s requirements to the vendor.

Details to be included in your PCB fabrication notes

Fab notes should contain the following details:

Guidelines for fab notes

Some basic guidelines for creating PCB fabrication notes are mentioned below:

  • Notes are required to be clear and concise.
  • Repetitive notes or values that may contradict each other are not permitted.
  • Values defined in the notes should be within the manufacturer’s capabilities.
  • The provided notes should be in the order in which the manufacturing processes are carried out. This will serve as a checklist for the fabricator.
  • Notes should be comprehensive so that the cost and turnaround time is minimal.

Fab notes serve as a communication channel between the PCB designer and the manufacturer, relaying important information about production processes and board features.

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