Similar to the connector issue, it’s vital that you clearly define any “keep out” zones intended for aspects such as mounting holes or sensitive circuitry. While you are defining those zones, remember that solder mask isn’t considered a reliable insulator, so take care that there is proper distance between copper and any mounting hardware.

The pictures above are a small sample of what we did for a customer. It is impossible to show every layer at one time, but you can see the “keep outs” and masking areas defined in the CAD data. There were also several pages of mechanical constraints to make sure that we did not place a part where a wall was planned. It took a lot of coordination between our PCB designer and the customer’s mechanical engineer in order to get a PCB that matched up perfectly to the housing.

Failing to properly design and define your “keep out” zones will lead to major issues such as creating a shock hazard on your board, causing electromagnetic interference, or winding up with an un-mountable part.

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