Marco Lurati

SVG silkscreen on EasyEDA

- file://mt6Nk5NEcT9Xy00h

The following procedure uses Inkscape (and also Adobe Illustrator for practicality) for the graphic part and EasyEDA for the PCB design. The "SVG Import" extension is used to import the silkscreen graphic in EasyEDA. Here are all the necessary links:

- Inkscape (open source alternative to Illustrator)

- SVG import extension by xsrf

1) Export the PCB layout in PDF

The first step consists of exporting the vectorial layout of the PCB to later precisely draw the silkscreen in Illustrator (or Inkscape if preferred).

With the PCB opened, select from the menu File > Export > PDF ...

You can just select the layers that you want to export. It's important to export the " Multi-Layer " layer because it contains the location of the holes and vias; it's a good practice to avoid placing text on vias and holes because it obviously will be only partially readable.

The "BorderOutLine" and "Hole" layers are also necessary to design the silkscreen.

2) Create the silkscreen design

NOTE: I'm more familiar with Illustrator rater than Inkscape, so I'll show the process in Illustrator, but the same applies to Inkscape.

Open the PDF in Illustrator, and create a new layer to add all your graphic elements. Check that the text and essential parts are not overlapping with holes and vias to ensure readability.

Once done with the design, export just the silkscreen graphics by selecting it and clicking on File > Export Selection ...

Change the format to SVG. Click on the small "wheel" icon to open the "Format Settings" window.

Select "Convert To Outlines" in the SVG settings for the Font option. This will transform your fonts into simple paths, ensuring that the text will be imported appropriately later.

3) Convert the SVG in simple "paths" with Inkscape

The SVG standard uses modern tags that are only sometimes supported (like <circle> <rect> and so on). The universal and basic tag is the "<path>".

To convert the SVG generated by Illustrator, open it with Inkscape, select everything, and click on Path > Object to Path.

Save the file exporting it in "Plain SVG (*.svg)".

Convert everything in as simple path in Inkscape.

4) Install the SVG importer extension in EasyEDA

Download and install by following the well-documented instructions on the SVG importer extension on GitHub.

5) Import and scale the silkscreen in EasyEDA

From the menu bar, select the extension menu SVG Import > Import file...

Click on "Load file..." to choose your SVG graphic and select the importing option you want to use (SVG Node for the silkscreen).

The import scale option remains obscure; by exporting the initial PDF in "mm" and following the procedure described here, the correct import scale value should be:

Import scale value: 1.38725280510677503208

Choose the correct Layer to place the silkscreen on (TopSilkLayer or BottomSilkLayer).

The extension can handle more advanced features (solid region, track). Have a look at the documentation to find out more.

6) Position and mirror the silkscreen

To move all the silkscreen together, hide all the layers but the one with the imported silkscreen. Select all the silkscreen elements and activate the other layers.

Drag the selected elements to the correct position.

If you add the silkscreen to the bottom layer, you have to flip it to match the correct orientation; select all the imported silkscreen and use the horizontal or vertical flip command (according to the current PCB orientation).

You are done!