Expedite PCB Production with a Live Drill Table

Charles Browne
|  Created: February 21, 2017  |  Updated: November 12, 2020
Having visibility over the number, size and symbols that represent each hole in a PCB design can reassure that no hiccups will delay production and increase costs down the road. Now you can expedite the production of your PCBs with access to the live drill table in Altium Designer®. Read on to learn more.

One of the most important elements involved with manufacturing printed boards is the PCB drill table, also called the drill legend. This table typically contains the number of drill holes, the symbols that represent each hole, the hole sizes, and the hole tolerances. Often, this data is not presented or available until Gerbers are generated, or other fabrication outputs have been generated. However, the ability to see this information while designing the board can be a reassuring and valuable asset for the design engineer.

The Fabrication Dilemma & Drill Tables

In a PCB design, there are typically many holes which require drilling in the fabrication process. The size of these holes as well as the number of the holes can attribute to variable costs for the board fabrication. After completion of the design, specific requirements and limitations can be identified by the fabricator, thus requiring the to make changes to the design and resubmit the drill data. Hiccups such as this will only delay the production of the printed board and add more steps. More steps equate to more lost time, which ultimately means a greater cost for the project. But what if you had access to all the information you need in real-time regardless of changes made to the design? What if you could identify problems before designs are sent to the fabricator?

Easily Obtain Dynamically Updated Drill Information

In Altium ®, a live drill table can be placed directly in the PCB editor to give you the necessary insight to prevent issues during fabrication. The live drill table offers advanced features to facilitate the transition into fabrication, including:

  • Dynamic updates with newly added drill information available in the PCB editor as you work on your designs.

  • Direct access to drill drawing symbols and their respective locations available within the design.

  • Full customization of drill drawing symbols as well as the columns and data displayed in the drill table before or after the table is placed.

View of a Placed Drill Table in the PCB Editor.

The drill drawing layer provides the details such as the location of the holes to be drilled, the hole sizes, the hole tolerances, and other available pertinent information. The ability to see a live drill table while designing a printed board can help speed up the process by eliminating any extra steps.

Interested in learning more about the live drill table in Altium? Download the free white paper Using the Live Drill Table Improves PCB Production today.

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