I need to solder a through hole ZigBee as though it were an SMD part.

The other side of the board is a touch pad so there should not be any solder or components on it.

I think it is better if I can make plated half-drilled (one side drilled) holes.

Is there a way to create such holes in Eagle?

As in this photo:

Enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ why even go through the pain of half drill. Just make SMD pads and solder zigbee legs to those smd pads. Solder joints should be strong enough to hold it in place if you are handling it with care. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 24, 2017 at 7:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ For a one-off situation in a small shop with limited facilities you could use a drill press with an accurate depth stop. You would want to carefully choose the drill bit, though, to have as blunt a tip as possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 24, 2017 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes you can make deep drill... with sideplating @one side... Regards, Vishwa \$\endgroup\$ Jun 25, 2017 at 16:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Telling us how would be helpful to others reading your answer. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 25, 2017 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


There is no way to directly do this in Eagle. You would have to simply annotate the design on some reference layer (most manufacturing data for production PCBs has some form of reference information).

However, this would be a highly customised PCB step and you would have to negotiate with various vendors until you can find one who has the capability to do this which would be exceedingly expensive ($500 or more probably). None of the pooling services (OSHPark, ITead, Ragworm, etc.) will do this as standard.

Fortunately there is a much simpler and bog standard way to do this. Surface mount PCB sockets:

2mm Surface Mount Header

image source

These are soldered on pads on the PCB and would allow you to plug in your module. Because they are surface mount there are no holes at all meaning you don't need some non-standard process, and you can place whatever you like on the other side of the board.


As Tom Carpenter already wrote, the easiest solution is to use such sockets, if you have a two-layer board.

If you have a multilayer board, there might be a solution for your "half depth holes", if you absolutely want them. Remember that multilayer PCBs are typically made of thin two-layer boards which are glued together. Pads and vias are drilled and plated after that step, but it is also possible to drill and plate some of the PCBs before. The result are vias between inner layers without visible holes, called buried vias, and vias with a hole visible on one side only, called blind vias.
In the DRC, you could specifiy a layer setup of((1*2)+(3*16)) which means that there is a multi-layer board with layers 1,2,3,16 (16 is always bottom), and vias can be created through all layers or between layer 1 and 2 or 3 and 16. Also make sure EAGLE will handle the stop mask correctly. It has to cover them in the stop mask layer, so there will be no coating.

When placing a via, you just choose which layers to connect.


  • You don't have to ask the manufacturer for a special job, since this is a standard technology


  • Not every manufacturer supports blind/buried vias, e.g. all this pooling services typically don't. The reason is that this is some extra work and so cost, and most customers don't need blind/buried vias.
  • As said: Extra costs.
  • For EAGLE, PADs make the connection between parts and routed signals, not Vias. This makes routing difficult. I would recommend to design the board as usual, and as last step, place the blind vias where the pads of the Zigbee are, and then remove the Zigbee.
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are special NC drill machines for PCBs that could drill depth controlled blind holes in laminated multilayer PCB. There are even specials drill for blind holes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Uwe
    Jun 24, 2017 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also worth noting that blind/buried vias are a no-bid item for many board houses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Jun 25, 2017 at 21:18

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