Mail Archives: geda-user/2012/12/16/18:09:01

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Subject: Re: [geda-user] pcb fundamentals
From: John Doty <jpd AT noqsi DOT com>
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Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2012 16:06:21 -0700
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On Dec 15, 2012, at 10:52 AM, Peter Clifton wrote:

> On Sat, 2012-12-15 at 10:17 -0700, John Doty wrote:
>> Consider blind vias, buried vias, and buried components. These are not
>> any more complex geometrically than other things pcb can draw, but
>> because they are not specifically implemented in the code, and pcb
>> cannot generally construct aggregates from simple primitive objects,
>> they cannot be drawn.
> It sounds like your ideal PCB package is in fact a generic 3D modeller
> like Solidworks, Solidedge, Spaceclaim or something of that ilk.
> You can model anything with that (including material properties). I
> won't expect you can make everything you model, nor that it will help
> you match up the netlist - but whatever... it is flexible.

We understand engineering in physical terms. We understand physics in mathematical terms (especially geometry). Generic 3D modeling packages get the geometric part right, but they lack the physics and engineering abstractions to relate to a schematic. Classical printed circuit design is mostly planar, so the geometry can be somewhat simplified (but not too much). Support for construction of circuits via 3D printing probably needs something completely new.

Unfortunately, while pcb has some of the high level engineering abstractions needed, they appear to lack consistent physical and mathematical foundations. It's all special cases with no clear fundamentals.

Again, it reminds me of the difference between the road net in downtown Boston versus Manhattan. The Boston road net started as pcb-like special cases (need a road from the warf to the tavern, etc.). It has been repeatedly "patched" to accommodate new "use cases". The result is difficult to navigate. Contrast that with Manhattan, which is mostly regular grid. Even though there are some irregular blockages, it is relatively easy to find a route from any point to any other point (and Manhattan is *much* bigger than downtown Boston). There are also a few "short cuts". Fundamental regularity does not need perfect implementation to be navigable.

John Doty              Noqsi Aerospace, Ltd.
jpd AT noqsi DOT com

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