Engraver module (future feature)

The engraver module will allow you to easily specify text and/or bar codes (containing serial numbers and/or date codes) to be engraved onto individual boards with a laser engraving machine. The module will support virtually any date code format. Serial numbers may be specified to properly number the individual boards within a panel.

A separate application will be available from Macaos Software for transmitting the engraving information to the laser engraving machine. (Note: This application is still under development. It is planned for availability late this year or early next year.)

The module will be a new feature in Macaos Enterprise version 5.0, planned for release later this year.

Creating text regions

Typically a text region corresponds to a rectangle on the legend layer. 

  1. Click on the Region button, so that it is down.
  2. If desired, click on the Flip button to flip the board upside-down.
  3. Select an Active layer (the layer containing the rectangle).
  4. Draw a selection rectangle around the rectangle on the active layer. Note: If multiple objects are selected, the region will be the rectangle surrounding all objects. If no objects are selected, the region will be the size of the selection rectangle.
  5. When you release the mouse button, the Define text dialog box opens. Here you can specify the text to be engraved in the region.

The regions are listed to the left of the product viewer. Right-click on a region to edit or delete the region. Double-click to zoom in to the region.

Use the Publish button to save the engraving information with the PCB product. Use the Export button to export an engraving plot in DXF or HPGL format.

Specifying text

Enter the text to be engraved in the region. The text is made up of text elements: bits of free text, serial number(s) and/or date code(s). Once a text element has been specified, click on the Add text element button to add it to the list of text elements. Line shifts may be added with the Add new line of text button.

Serial numbers are engraved with a given number of digits. They may be numeric, alphanumeric or hexadecimal. A serial number will automatically increase each time it is engraved. The amount to increase does not need to be one. (It may even be negative!) For example, a panel with four boards would have four regions to be engraved. The first board might have a starting serial number of 1001 and increase by 4. The next board would start with 1002 and increase by 4. And so on.

Date codes may be made up of the various parts of a date, such as wwyy (for week number followed by 2-digit year). The date may also be offset from the time of engraving, in order to compensate for the difference between the engraving time and the time to be represented.

The text is shown both as a block of text and as a list of text elements. Right-click on a text element to delete it. The order of the text elements may be changed by dragging elements within the list.

Text may be engraved as plain text or as a bar code -- use the radio buttons to choose. A preview frame shows how the text will fit into the region.

For plain text, you may specify a cell height (text height plus margins) and a rotation. For bar codes, you may specify the minimum bar width or pixel size for the bar code. Note: We recommend minimum 1.5mm for text and 0.2 mm for bar codes.