Altium Designer Documentation

Dielectric Shapes Generator

Created: July 26, 2021 | Updated: July 26, 2021

The Dielectric Shapes Generator dialog
The Dielectric Shapes Generator dialog

Summary

The Dielectric Shapes Generator dialog is used to automatically create dielectric shapes. Dielectric shapes are defined on non-conductive layers. 

When the Dielectric Shapes Generator is run, it will remove all shapes on the target layer(s), then recreate them. If shapes have been defined manually, lock them before running the Dielectric Shapes Generator.
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Access

The dialog can be accessed from the PCB editor by choosing Tools » Printed Electronics » Generate Dielectric Patterns from the main menus.

The Printed Electronics Crossover Generator extension must be installed in order to access this dialog. The extension icon can be found on the Purchased tab of the Extensions & Updates page, which is located by clicking the  drop-down then choosing Extensions and Updates.

Hover over the icon then click  to download the extension. Altium Designer must be restarted to complete the installation.

Options/Controls

  • Mode - select the desired mode:
    • Generate - select to generate new dielectric patches for all enabled layers specified in the Layers region. 
    • Remove - select to remove any existing shapes the generator detects on the layers specified in the Layers region before it adds its own.
  • Layers - the generator will identify all crossovers and add dielectric patches in accordance with the settings in this region of the dialog.
    • Select Dielectric Layer - use the drop-down to select the dielectric layer. If All is selected, the generator looks for cross-overs on any pair of conductive layers and puts a patch on a dielectric layer that is between those two conductive layers. If no dielectric layer is selected, dielectric shapes will be created for all crossovers between all layers on appropriate dielectric layers. Use the Layer(s) Above and Layer(s) Below to choose which two conductive layers you want the generator to look between when it is searching for cross-overs. If it finds an object on Layer(s) Above that crosses over an object on Layer(s) Below, it generates a patch to place between them and places it on the layer that is specified in the Select Dielectric Layer region. The Layer(s) Above and Layer(s) Below options are not available if Remove is selected in the Mode region.
  • Dielectric Shape Expansion 
    • Auto - in this mode, the dielectric shape is automatically expanded to satisfy the requirement of the applicable Clearance Constraint design rule.
    • Manual - in this mode, the generator builds a shape to match the shape formed by the crossed-over objects, then expands that shape out by the distance entered. For example, using this mode, if there are two tracks on different layers that are too close for the clearance violation, a patch will not be placed.
  • Fill Gaps between dielectrics less than <xx> - specify a measurement if you want gaps filled between dielectrics that are less than a number you specify. This can be used to merge adjacent dielectric patches into larger patches.
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