The free online PCB checking and editing tools made available by Eurocircuits are not just useful and practical, they also have a fun side. In this article we will look at a Eurocircuits’ special: the “PIXture”, an image printed on a PCB, much like a black-and-white photograph is printed in a newspaper.

By printing small dots of different sizes (dithering) contrasts are obtained allowing photographs to be printed on a PCB. Even though you won’t use this function a lot, it is a nice feature to add to a board to make it stand out. PIXtures can be printed in black-and-white and in gold-and-black for very stylish boards.

access to the wizard is in the PCB Definition header
Click the PCB PIXture button to open the wizard.

Open the PCB PIXture editor

To start working with PIXtures you must, of course, first upload a board design the standard way by clicking the ‘Analyse your data’ button as described in previous articles. When the PCB Visualizer has finished working (hopefully with a green checkmark), open it, and scroll down to the section ‘PCB definition’. In the header you will find a button labelled ‘PCB PIXture’. Click it to start the wizard. You will first be asked on which side you are going to place the PIXture(s) (top, bottom or both) and then choose the solder mask for the other side of the board (black or none). Now the PCB PIXture editor opens.

eurocircuits pcb pixture editor
The PCB PIXture editor is ready for you to get creative.

Three kinds of PIXtures

On the right side of the screen three PIXture types are proposed:
  1. maskPIXture
  2. goldPIXture
  3. goldLogo
The first two will produce a two-tone dithered representation of the image, much like a black-and-white photograph in a newspaper. The maskPIXture is printed in black and white as a solder mask layer and will have no effect on the electrical/soldering properties of the board.

For a goldPIXture a gold surface finish is applied to the board and then the image is dithered in black on a solder mask layer. The board is finalized with a transparent solder mask.

A goldPIXture on the bottom side.

Finally, a goldLogo is a non-dithered, bi-color image without transparency intended for vector drawings and text and is manufactured in the same way as the goldPIXture.