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How to generate Assembly drawing with designators inside the boxes like this in Altium? Is it by placing designators (silkscreens) inside manually? I guess not.

enter image description here

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Altium 16.1 includes "Draftsman" documents, and there is a view that does this automatically. Before this version, I used Photon's answer to create a similar drawing, and while it did take a while, the results were very useful.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just note the "Draftsman" is lovely. But has almost no adjustments or opportunities to affect the output.... it either works, or is unfixable. \$\endgroup\$ – Bryce Mar 30 '17 at 6:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed. It is a good start, and hopefully it becomes more flexible as time goes on. \$\endgroup\$ – hashbang Jun 20 '17 at 4:01
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It can be somewhat automated, but it is tedious to do the first time, because you have to modify all your footprints

What I do is

  • Rename two mechanical layers as "Top Assembly Dwg" and "Bottom Assembly Dwg".
  • Desginate these two layers as a mechanical layer pair.
    • Now anything on "Top Assembly Dwg" will get flipped to "Bottom Assembly Dwg" when you move the part to the bottom side of the board.
  • On each footprint, add the text ".Designator" on the Top Assembly Dwg layer.
    • Place this text centered on the part, and sized so that your maximum length designator (maybe 4 characters) will fit within the boundaries of the part.
    • You might also want to copy some silkscreen features onto this layer because you won't want to make prints that contain both the Assembly Dwg layer and the silkscreen layer.
  • Make a PDF output that prints each of the Assemlby Dwg layers, along with whatever other layers are appropriate to make your assembly drawings.

Altium will automatically replace the ".Designator" text with the actual designator when you generate output.

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There are some helpful Altium scripts for centering and sizing ref designators that can be used for your purposes.

Lots of useful scripts live in here (this used to be a project on google code):

https://github.com/Altium-Designer-addons/scripts-libraries

These two can center and resize ref designators according to the component outline size:

AdjustDesignators

AdjustDesignators2

And this one can move ref designators onto designated mechanical layer pairs:

CopyDesignatorsToMechLayerPair

These are also a good starting point to write your own script if you want to customize the behavior further.

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