In order to identify the best maximum fit for a printed circuit board (PCB) in array form, Bay Area Circuits offers and recommends using the Array Calculator tool.
Once you fill in your board dimensions, this tool generates a drawing (.PDF) that not only give you an accurate visualization of your array options, but also includes additional notes such as Tooling Holes, Fiducials, Perforated Tabs and Scoring. It is recommended that this drawing be provided along with project data to a PCB Manufacturer and/or Assembler to help ensure project requirements are met.
The Array Calculator works great for all types of rigid PCBs, including high current / voltage design PCBs, or heavy copper designs.
Some Useful Things to Know About This Tool
The default values displayed in the Array Calculator are provided for demonstrations purposes only. Adjust as desired and select Update for new results.
The Array Calculator is designed to auto-rotate the input dimensions to find the best fit. This can also be modified by adjusting the desired overall dimensions of the array.
For the best pricing options, the maximum size of an array should be 7.8” x 10.8”. Of course, certain projects may require a larger array, but that will be reflected in the price.
If a project requires Tab Routing, the spacing for the route on the outer edge of the boards should be deducted from the rails. For example, if the rail is .500 in width from the edge of the board the .100 spacing required for the route will make the actual rail size .400 so that there will still be .500 spacing from the edge of the individual boards.