Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a little Q & A we’ve put together to answer some of the more common questions we receive about InstantDFM. We hope you find it helpful!
Q: What does InstantDFM check for?

A: Here is a detailed list of what InstantDFM is checking in your files:

Smallest Trace
Smallest Annular Ring
Minimum Clearance of Copper to Copper
Minimum Clearance of Copper Pad to Pad
Minimum Clearance Copper Pad to Track
Minimum Clearance Trace to Trace
Minimum Clearance of Copper to Plated Hole
Minimum Clearance of Copper to Non-Plated Hole
Minimum Clearance Hole to Hole
Minimum Clearance of Copper to Outline
Minimum Clearance Between Same Net Features
Minimum Ring Mask to Pad
Minimum Clearance Mask to Mask
Minimum Clearance Mask to Mask SMD (web)
Minimum Clearance Mask to Copper
Drill Tool Smaller or Equal to 8mil
Drill Density Equal or Bigger than 60

Q: What is the purpose of the images that are displayed on the DFM tab?

A: The DFM tab visually displays the smallest feature the check found related to trace width, spacing and other key copper features. InstantDFM displays one location though there could be more areas on the board that have similar spacing.  Additionally, the data in the “DFM Checks” box below the images displays the minimum distances that were identified.

Q: How can the ‘Remarks’ on the DFM tab be interpreted?

A: The remarks section displays *potential* issues that have been flagged for review. For instance, the data may not specify whether a hole should be un-plated and a remark may flag that for verification.  So, it’s not always critical that these warnings be resolved prior to submitting your design for manufacturing but we recommend that they are each reviewed prior to proceeding. In the event your design files are submitted to us at Bay Area Circuits for manufacturing, we will do a thorough review and notify you of any show-stopping issues we identify.

Q: I don’t understand some of the ‘Remarks’ that are displayed on the DFM tab. How can these be interpreted?

A: Some of the remarks that are displayed are specifically related to the design of the board while others could be considered “notes” to the fabricator. We’re working to improve our tool to filter out notes that are specific to the fabricator (not the designer) but in the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions. We’ll also be adding remarks and their respective definitions below.

Remarks / Definitions
“Please check the stackup” / This is displayed when the tool has a doubt about the stackup which could be an inability to identify a mask or a particular copper layer. An instance could also occur when a file such as “bottom silkscreen” is present but the file is empty.

Q: Why are some of the measurements on the DFM tab under “DFM Checks” red in color?

A: A value red in color would indicate that the minimum distance is either too small to manufacture or less than our recommended minimums.  For more information on recommended minimum distances please refer to the PCB Design Rule Guidelines listed on our website.  If you still have questions please contact us and we will be glad to review your data to let you know what might need to be adjusted.

Q: What type of data is displayed on the Summary tab?

A: The Summary tab provides a visual representation of the top and bottom of the project and is a great way to verify that the project looks as expected.  Additional data points include board dimensions, layer count and the colors selected for soldermask and silkscreen.  Please note that the tool assumes a board thickness of 62 mil, so please contact us regarding projects which require a different thickness.

Q: What type of data is displayed on the Layers tab?

A: The Layers tab provides a visual representation of the basic stack of layers for the project. The tool will assign the layer type based on the file name. Please confirm that the layer designations are assigned correctly in the stackup.

Q: I’m happy with my DFM results and would like a quote for my project. What should I do?

A: From within the InstantDFM tool navigate to the “Get a Quote” tab and complete and submit the form.  Since we have access to your files we just need a little basic info including desired quantity and turn time and of course, your contact information.  If there’s anything additional we should know about your project such as specific material thickness, board finish, etc. please let us know in the “Additional info” box otherwise we will provide you a quote based on our standard options.

Q: Can the DFM report be downloaded?

A: Yes, the detailed DFM report is made available for download in PDF format from within the “More” tab.

Q: Am I able to get my results from past submissions?

A: As long as you keep the email with a link to your results you will be able to access previous reports.  You can also download and save a PDF of the DFM report for future reference.  In the event you still need assistance please let us know and we may be able to retrieve your results.

Q: How is it that Bay Area Circuits is able to provide an online, instant DFM report when other PCB fabricators have to manually create the report and email it to me?

A: Well, we’re kind of awesome!

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