How to use PADS with MacroFab

Creating PCB Assemblies from your PADS PCB Project

Creating PCB Assemblies from your PADS PCB Project

If you use the EDA Tool PADS to design your PCB Assemblies, the best method to upload your design files to MacroFab is to create the following manufacturing package to upload to the MacroFab platform.

  • ODB++ Manufacturing Packet
  • Bill of Materials from a .XLSX spreadsheet

Once you have created these items you will be able to easily upload your PCB Assembly to the MacroFab platform.


In the PCB tab, simply drag-and-drop your manufacturing package into the file upload target. Alternatively, you can click the Upload Files button on the right side of the screen. More information about uploading files to the platform can be found on the knowledge base article Creating a PCB and Uploading Design Files. The Bill of Materials .XLSX format upload procedure can be found here.

PADS ODB++ File Generation

ODB++ files are exported directly from your PCB and include all of the necessary manufacturing data needed to manufacture your design.

Before exporting the files, the correct layers must be defined in the PADS CAM processor. You can access the CAM processor from File -> CAM.


The CAM window allows you to see the active layers that will be output in the ODB++ file format.


In order to properly export all of the pcb layers we will need to add them to the CAM output. To do this, begin by pressing the Add... button on the right. From this window we can add the appropriate layers that are to be exported.


Select the layers that you wish to export from the fabrication layer pull down list. In the image below we will select the power plane layer. Your design may contain some or more of the layers shown in this list.


After selecting the layer, give the layer an appropriate document name. In this case the name Power Plane was used, you may want to use another name.

Under the Document Type pull down list select the option that represents the layer that you are going to add. In the case of the Power Plane layer we will select custom.


Press OK to add the document to the CAM processor. In the image below you can now see that the Power Plane layer has been added to the list of layers that will be output when generating the ODB++ files.


Now you must repeat the steps of adding and defining the layers for your design until all of the necessary manufacturing layers are included in the CAM processor. The image below shows the CAM documents window with all of the layers to be exported.


Now that the layers have been added to the CAM processor we can export the ODB++ manufacturing files. On the Define CAM Documents window, press Save and Close out of the window. Then in the main PCB view window, select File -> Export.


In the following window select ODB++ from the file format pull down list.


Navigate to the directory that you wish to save the ODB++ file to and press Save. The ODB++ files will be saved as a compressed archive file with extension .tgz.

Bill of Materials Generation

For the Bill of Materials Auto Fill to work on the MacroFab Platform, Manufacture Part Numbers (MPNs) must be supplied for the components. MacroFab currently does not support MPNs in the ODB++ file so a .XLSX spreadsheet will have to be made to associate MPNs with component designators. The spreadsheet only needs to contain designators and the corresponding MPN. For more information on making a .XLSX formated spreadsheet and uploading it see the knowledge base article, Importing a Bill of Materials Spreadsheet.

Generating this Bill of Materials .XLSX file is optional for PADS PCBs. You will be able to fill out the Bill of Materials without MPNs. The platform will use the footprint and value provided by the ODB++ file to suggest parts for you to select in the Bill of Materials interface of the platform. See the Bill of Materials Management article for more information.

Additional PADS Questions?

If you have any other questions about creating a PCB Assembly with a PADS PCB Project please contact our support team.