Submitting Panels and Panelized Designs

We support panelized designs, provided they meet our guidelines below. However, care should be taken to ensure successful fabrication, so careful reading of this document is encouraged. Typically, panelized designs are used to reduce part count for pick and place assembly, or for simplicity in providing multi-board kits such as SparkFun’s ProtoSnap line. It can also be used to utilize otherwise lost space in large, oddly shaped designs.

Panelizing for the board upload service through

This image shows the critical dimensions for the board outline layer of a panelized and framed design. You can have as few or many boards in a panel as you’d like, but at sizes exceeding roughly 8x10, the board may fail to upload correctly. For panels of that size, please contact for assistance in placing the order. Note, that the dimensions are for reference, and should not be included on the gerbers.

Good example of a panel frame. Leave the red text out of your submitted gerbers.

Panelizing for Medium Run Service

Our medium run service has full routing options available, so panel frames are not required for manufacturing. We can also generate a panel for you for manufacturing, so unless you have specific needs, generating a panel before ordering typically isn’t necessary.

Considerations for Pick and Place Assembly houses

If you’re considering getting your boards professionally assembled, we highly encourage you to talk to your assembler before laying out your panel. They may have important notes that add further constraints on panel layout. Among the more common considerations and surprises we see:

Adding support tabs manually (Optional)

This is an optional step, as our fab will always add support tabs to connect panels together. However, In some cases it’s advantageous to add support tabs to avoid certain critical areas on a panel. Adding tabs manually also allows you to run copper connections between the boards, which may be desirable.

The tabs utilized by our fab are a 100mil by 100 mil square, perforated with 20-25mil drill hits, as shown in the following image. If the fab considers the tabs insufficient for safely manufacturing the boards, they will add in additional support as needed. In most cases, the fab well as one on each side of the board, with additional tabs every 2-3 inches on long edges.

How to add support tabs.