Set Profile

The Profile, also known as contour or outline, represents the outer edges of a printed circuit board as well as its inner recesses like drill holes. Among other things, it is prerequisite for indicating the shape of a PCB and thus being able to string several boards together on a panel. Moreover, PCB-Investigator uses it for a variety of calculations, tests, and features. These include:

  • measuring from components to outer edges
  • calculation of areas such as the amount of areas covered with copper
  • verification if PCB fits into its case
  • for displaying 3D

The contour function which can be reached through view > contour reflects the importance of the Profile and offers an overview over the entire outline network by placing the contour of the PCB in the middle of the screen with the highest zoom possible.

Given the importance of the Profile, it is no surprise that it is a fixed part of many data formats like ODB++, IPC2581 and GenCAD, but not Gerber. This is why PCB-Investigator automatically creates the Profile when importing Gerber files, but only at the first time meaning the initially created profile is not changed. Its dimensions will most likely diverge from the ones needed thus making an editing possibility vital, which is provided by the Set Profile function available at Edit > Profile.

The Set Profile function allows to clear all previously defined outlines as well as define new ones. You can either let PCB-Investigator set outlines around all elements of an active layer automatically using “Set by all Objects” or draw them freely. The easiest way to draw freely is using the rectangle selection, but you can also draw the outlines using several connected lines.

The “Add active Layer to Outline” adds the contours of all elements of the currently active layer to Profile. If there is more than one layer active the first layer of the layer stack up is used.

“Add Selection to Outline” allows you to add the outline of the currently active selection to the Profile, while “Create Layer from Outline” adds a new layer named “Outline” to the layer stack up which contains the Profile as ODB++ objects. If there is already a layer named “Outline”, all Profile objects will be added to this layer.

“Add/Set from Selection Middle” is similar to “Add Selection Outline”, but it emanates from the middle of the selection. Therefore, it is essential that the selection comprises of several objects with a closed contour. The difference between “Add” and “Set” consists in Add adding the selection to the Profile and Set replacing it.

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