Design Rule Setup

KiCad requires that you manually set the design rules in PCBNew when you start a new board layout. We also provide a template that you can use when starting a new project.

Generating Manufacturing Files

We accept .kicad_pcb board layout files directly. For most users, this is the best way to order boards designed with KiCad. We currently support uploaded Kicad files from the current stable version, 5.0.0.

We also support uploading gerbers generated with Kicad. For additional details, see our guide on generating and submitting gerbers. We detect KiCad’s output filenames automatically, so it’s not necessary to rename them.

Common Issues

Make sure to run ‘Fill Zones’

KiCad doesn’t automatically redraw the fill zones for certain changes, which can leave the fill zones out of sync with your other signals. This can result in the gerbers not matching the intended design, and ruining your circuit board. Kicad 5.0 includes a plot option to warn about this, but Kicad 4.0 and older do not.

To redraw these, simply use the hotkey b. Kicad will also refresh the fill zones when you run a DRC Check (under Tools > DRC).

When uploading .kicad_pcb files, we’ll handle this step for you.

Setting Mask Expansion

By default, KiCad sets a very large mask expansion, which can allow solder shorts to be added during board assembly. See our Stop Mask Expansion page for a more detailed explanation of the problem.

The mask expansion setting can be adjusted under the menu option Dimensions > Mask Pads Clearance, and then setting the Solder Mask Clearance box. We typically recommend a value of 0.002in (0.0508mm), although the optimal value depends slightly on the design itself.