Difference between Foundations vs. SOLIDWORKS PCB Courses

We get the following question quite often from students who want to know the difference between PCB Foundations vs. SOLIDWORKS PCB courses in order to determine which course is best suited for them:

         Is there overlap between the PCB Foundations class and the SOLIDWORKS PCB training classes?

Answer: Generally speaking, the answer is "No." The PCB Foundations is looking at the whole process. Granted, a major part of this process involves an EDA tool for schematic capture, library maintenance, and PCB layout. Whereas our SOLIDWORKS PCB classes teach you how to use SOLIDWORKS PCB, the PCB Foundations class looks at the process itself. For example:

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB Boot Camp: Learn the tools to draw a footprint and symbol
  • PCB Foundations: Learn what key elements are necessary for consistent libraries that assist in the creation of robust documentation

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB Boot Camp: Learn how to use the EMC command (Edit >> Move >> Component)
  • PCB Foundations: Learn what steps should be taken to ensure good component placement

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB Boot Camp: How to create a .SchDot template
  • PCB Foundations: What needs to be part of the template and why

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB Boot Camp: Explain how to add layers to the stack-up
  • PCB Foundations: What comprises the stack up and why it needs to be known before the start of the layout

  • SOLIDWORKS PCB Boot Camp: How to create and batch manufacturing files
  • PCB Foundations: Understanding what files need to be created, wherein the process they are created, and what work needs to be done in certain editors to ensure robust documentation

Also, the PCB Foundations will cover topics that go beyond the EDA tool itself. This includes specification writing and the major manufacturing aspects of PCBs - fabrication, assembly, and test. In fact, we may be so bold to say when you really understand the PCB design process, you will use SOLIDWORKS PCB (or any EDA tool) in a very different way.