There are a few in the list that I posted a while back about PCB tools that allow for commercial usage of their free/low cost versions. I can think of at least two that can be had for free or under $50 that are without limitation of layers or pins. I am currently reviewing one of them, and the other, I will be playing with here soon.
I just received an email from Mike Kraynak, who spake as follows (he said I could post his comments here):
Hi Max, this prototype board reminds me of the early days of PCB CAD. We often had to create PCB layouts larger than the capabilities of our CAD system ('Racal-Redac PCB Mini' in my case).
Back then we would create 2 PCB databases as you have shown with a vertical split along which we placed what we referred to as a 'pseudo. We would create the 1st database with the pseudo part on the right edge. The 2nd database would have the pseudo part on the right edge. Traces that cross the split between the 2 databases would be routed to a pin on the pseudo part in the 1st layout and to the corresponding pin on the pseudo part on the 2nd layout. We would then output gerber files for both databases.
When creating the gerber files for the 2nd database we would shift the "X" position on the film by the distance necessary to align the phantom parts on top of each other. We would then append the 1st gerber for each layer with the 2nd gerber for that layer in a dumb text editor. This can more easily be done today with a free gerber editor. Thinking back, we created some amazing designs back then with this method. In some cases we split layouts both vertically and horizontally. Regards, Mike Kraynak
I have never seen any less than 0.2". Very handy.....
You should check out the Phoenix Contact MPT 0.5 range from 2 to 12 pole 0.1" spacing- for example a 4 way block would be MPT 0.5/4-2.54. Phoenix is definitely in Oz. Actually they cliam some at 2.5mm which would be just that much closer together.
By the way watch for my blog on PCB screw terminals. Should be with Max next week.
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