I am creating my first assembly drawing and have noticed that my ECAD tool generates a footprint with a top/bottom overlay and courtyard top/bottom.

Top Overlay is the silkscreen, but what is the courtyard top used for? (I tried looking it up but I did not find a good answer).

Is the courtyard top necessary or can I delete it and keep it simple with Top/bottom Overlay and Top/Bottom Assembly Drawing layer setup.

I mainly want to create a footprint format that is professional and follows good industry standards.

This is what I have right now.
No courtyard top/bottom with Top Overlay and Assembly Top line thickness of 0.2mm. The dark blue below pads is a 3D Top generated by ECAD tool.

enter image description here


The purpose of the Courtyard layer is to indicate the bounding box (in two dimensions) of the component. The courtyard can often be used in conjunction with clearance rules to ensure two components are not placed too close to one another.

I generally ignore the bounding box and rely on my electrical (copper-to-copper) clearance rules to determine if the parts are too close.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Courtyards can be helpful, for example if you have a rule that part-to-part distance must be greater than (X% of) the part height (to allow for re-work). Then you can put bigger courtyards around tall parts and smaller ones around short parts. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Oct 24 '19 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ So they used to confine components... Interesting. Is the courtyard layer useful for manufacturers or assembly? \$\endgroup\$ – circuit_noob533 Oct 24 '19 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @circuit_noob533 Honestly I think they're mostly useful for the designer. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 Oct 24 '19 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or repair-person. There is nothing worse than trying to work on a board where the components are too close together. \$\endgroup\$ – rdtsc Oct 24 '19 at 17:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @rdtsc Very true, speaking from experience! Most of the boards I design nowadays are not intended to be reworked. Repair would cost more than the device itself, so I generally only have to be concerned about assembly issues - solder bridges and whatnot. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 Oct 24 '19 at 18:18

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