The Align tool is used primarily during component placement to align parts with each other. It also has functions to align vias to pins and to other vias.
There are already built-in functions in Xpedition to align parts based on their edges and origins, but none that make it easy to align parts based on the location of their pins.
The Align tool uses an approach based on the following ideas :
This is not to say that other rules regarding component placement on roughly rectangular grids, and aligning components on a grid has no place. It’s just that grid-based placement is not the only way to do it. It makes sense to use a grid in many situations, but not all of them.
How does it work?
The Align tool does not have a graphical interface. There is no window. It is made to be run with a hotkey. Depending on what is selected when it runs, it figures out what to do and does it. If a set of objects is selected that it can’t work with, an error message will be displayed alerting the user as to what needs to be done so it can work. If objects are selected that it can’t work with at all, it ignores them and quits without any user intervention.
Here’s a short video that demonstrates the use of Align.
The ExactCAD Move With Basepoint tool makes it easy to align a group of many parts (and other design objects) with a pin on another part, if you need to align more than one part at a time.
For part-to-part alignment there is a set of rules that determine which part will move and which part will remain in its original location:
– Parts with more pins win over parts with fewer pins. The part with fewer pins will move to align with the part that has more pins.
– If both parts have the same number of pins, the one selected first will remain stationary, and the other one will move into alignment with it.
– Any locked part will remain stationary, and unlocked parts will move into alignment with them.
– The parts that move will remain separated by same amount as they were before the move.
– When parts are on opposite sides of the board (top / bottom), they will be aligned with the selected pins directly over/under each other. The first part selected does not move; the second part selected moves.
These rules may seem complicated at first, but they were designed to be intuitive and become second nature after some practice.