Adjusting the Size and Shape of the PCB in Altium Designer

The Shape of Your Card defines the limit or scope of the card in the PCB Editor. Board Shape is a PCB object, also called the card Outline, which is actually a closed polygon. When you create a new PCB document, it is the black area inside the visible grid (assuming the grid is rough enough to see at the current zoom level).

PCB

In fact, there are multiple ways to specify the shape of your card. At this point, we'll only show you a few.

The Card Shape is used by Altium Designer in the following cases:

  • Split a card into multiple card regions
  • Placing bending lines in a flexible sheet area
  • Defining the scope of power planes for the retract of the plane edge
  • Split power planes

When a new dashboard file is created, the default Clipboard Shape is 6000×4000 miles in size. The shape can be resized or redefined in a variety of ways. If you want to see the shape of your default board, you can view it more easily by pressing 3 on your keyboard.

PCB
Default PCB Shape

Note that PCB documents created using PCB templates already have the correct size of the Card Shape. Regardless of the final structure of your card (single rigid area or multi-rigid flexible sections), the overall outer shape is called a board shape.

Creating and Changing the Card Shape

As I said, the shape of your card can be redefined:

Method One

At this point, we will do it first using the Board Planning Mode section. For this, we click on Board Planning Mode from View, which has an intermediate percentage. And then we call it Redefine Board Shape. In fact, the process is as simple as that. Let's reinforce that with the visuals.

PCB
Board Planning Mode
PCB
Redefine Board Shape

In fact, our next step will only be to draw the shape we want with the mouse. We made a test shape drawing. You can edit your card shape as you wish.

PCB
Final Card

Method Two

Another method is to switch to mechanical layer and draw manually manually. In this, the first thing we have to do is switch to the mechancal layer.

PCB
Layers

Then we can draw whatever we want. Then we are ready to use the board shape define feature. The first thing we should pay attention to in this is that the drawing we have made is in a neat polygon state. If a gap is found during the drawing, you will not be able to use the treasure feature.

PCB
Determination of Boundaries
PCB
PCB
Final Card

That's the final version of our card. In fact, our process is so easy. After that, you can design your PCB as you wish. This part of the job depends entirely on your needs and imagination. Let's not forget that the Altium Designer program is a program that really requires experience. As you continue to work steadily, you will already see that anything you want will be possible in this program.