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I'm new to PCB designing and to reduce board size I have used 0402 without actually realizing they're almost impossible to solder by hand and I don't have easy access to reflow oven . Is there any tool in kicad or eagle that would allow me to change the size of the footprints without having to route the connections again ?

Thanks a lot

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I started on 0402, you do have to have some way to optically magnify the board, some tweezers, and a steady hand but its not impossible. The other thing is having the right flux and solder. Another way is to get a solder paste dispenser and a skillet \$\endgroup\$ – Voltage Spike Mar 10 '17 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is (ab)using a kitchen oven as a reflow oven feasible for this? I know it was popular as a DIY fix for PCBs with cracked lead free soldier joints some years back, but that was a simpler case since it just needed remelting what was already there. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan Neely Mar 10 '17 at 17:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which PCB design software is your design in currently? \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Richter Mar 10 '17 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can solder 0402 with a hot air gun e.g. an 858D) by either holding the component in place with very fine tweezers, or using solder paste or flux, which should be sticky enough if you use a low flow setting. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Richter Mar 10 '17 at 17:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanNeely Not recommended if you want the oven to be usable for food afterwards. \$\endgroup\$ – duskwuff Mar 10 '17 at 21:14
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This is really simple to do in eagle

On your board, select the component you wish to change and right click it. The option you're looking for is 'Replace'

enter image description here

This will bring up a whole load of selections, in my case I'm changing a resistor so I go to the resistor section and find the package size I want, this example I've changed from an 0402 to and 0603.

The part should have automatically updated without ripping up the tracks.

As you can see in my board though I'm now covering one of my thru holes pads so the odds are you will have to physically move the components also.
Also your track's wont be nice and neatly mitred anymore, but maybe it's just me that's bothered by that.

enter image description here

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If your design is in KiCad, you can just exchange the footprints in cvpcb.

For the 4.0 series, you still need to export the netlist from eeschema and import it in pcbnew, selecting "Exchange footprints" in the import dialog.

In the unreleased branch of KiCad, pressing F8 should be sufficient.

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In Eagle you can do a CHANGE PACKAGE. You can change your 0402 packages to 0805, which are easy to solder by hand.

However, with these packages being physically bigger, they may very well overlap things on the board that you currently have placed near a 0402 part.

After changing all the packages, run the DRC check and see what it coughs up. After the first run, you'll get a sense for whether there is any point trying to preserve the layout and existing routing, or whether it's better to just rip up everything and try again.

You're in this mess because you did something stupid. Don't compound the problem by trying to slide by instead of fixing it right.

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