Any tricks to replicate a board?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by strantor, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    My first job as a self employed individual is to make a few copies of a board for my previous employer that I designed while working for the same previous employer. I was sure that I brought all my old eagle files with me but to my dismay, I am missing all the files for this project from my thumb drive. I have one of the incomplete boards here - the one I was assembling when I left. I was thinking, if there were a way to replicate it, I could just desolder it and make copies. But how?

    FYI It's a double sided board.

    If I have to go back into Eagle and redraw the whole thing, OMG I don't even want to think about it. Countless hours were spent on it, and will have to be spent again.
     
  2. strantor

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    Oh yeah, and there were a couple of components I need to move. I'm pretty sure there's not way around doing it all over again. I've already started. But holding out hope if anybody knows how to do it.
     
  3. absf

    Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2010
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    I dont think there is any short-cut besides laying out the board again. Since you have a semi completed board, the component placement is already there and you should be able to auto-route it, so it looks similar to the original board.

    I did it a couple of times on proteus. Though the board was single sided but there are 20 jumpers to take care of. So it turn out to be fun and I only spent 3 nights for one of the boards.

    Are your PCB components through-hole devices or SMD parts.

    Allen
     
  4. KJ6EAD

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    Apr 30, 2011
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    Was there a PCB manufacturer that you sent the files to for quote or production that might still have a copy? Is there a sent email attachment sitting on a hard drive somewhere?
     
  5. strantor

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    Its mostly through hole. I printed/toner transfer/etched it myself, so it never left the HDD on my work PC, which has since been reformatted and assigned to someone else. The great re-work of 2012 is going 10X faster than I expected though. I got the schematic done already, mostly from memory, and all my oddball components made - something that took > 1 week the first time. If I keep this pace, I should have the layout done tomorrow, and hopefully assembled and delivered by friday. Fingers crossed.
     
  6. absf

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    Good luck with your PCB and dont forget to make at least 3 copies and keep them in CD, pen drive and harddisk. Just in case you might need it again.

    Allen
     
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  7. THE_RB

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    Feb 11, 2008
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    You should also be aware that the design you developed while employed by your last firm will most likely be their intellectual property, and producing and especially selling that design will be stealing and illegal.

    It's possible youmight be alright if it is just a couple units for your own use but if you are planning to sell these (or use them in any way that impacts on your previous employers income) it would be wise to get some legal advice, the cheap way, ie; BEFORE it lands you in a courtroom, not after. :)
     
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  8. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Yes, it's their intellectual property. And I'm making it for them. I would say selling, but I'm actually doing it for free, to ensure future work with them. See, I was supposed to have these boards done before I left. I didn't make the deadline so I offered to take all the components with me and assemble them at home and bring them back. Charging them for work and parts that they've already paid for isn't a good way to start a business relationship.

    I'm not making/selling this to anyone else - nobody would want it. It's a one-off thing that wouldn't be useful outside of this very specific scenario.
     
  9. THE_RB

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    Ouch! I feel for you. And I guess telling them you lost the plans won't be good for the relationship either! ;)
     
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  10. GetDeviceInfo

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    I use CorelDraw for most of my layout work. On several occasions, when I had to match card edge connectors, I've taken a photo of the card, scaled it in Corel, adjusted the image to black/white, then incorporated that image into the rest of the layout. No reason one couldn't do that with an entire board layout.
     
  11. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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    If you were using eagle cad, you may be able to scan an unpopulated PCB as a bitmap, and import it into the PCB editor, then just "trace" over it to get the layout quickly, if you get it scanned in close to scale (doesn't have to be exact since you will be running the actual traces anyway in the editor, but it will aide in the component layout) it should make it easy to place the components and route the traces..... never tried this before, but it may work....

    forgot to mention that you will have to use the import_bmp.ulp to import the bitmap into the editor.....
     
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  12. strantor

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    Thanks BMorse, I'll bookmark this page and give that a try if the need ever arises again. As for this project, I just finished the new layout this morning around 6am. hopefully I can get the boards etched and assembled before nightfall. Lots of homework to do today....
     
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