Assign net to "free floating" tracks / zones

Registered by Stephen on 2016-09-25

Sometimes, especially for highly symmetrical or repetitive designs, I find it useful to copy existing track layout patterns. Also, sometimes I create zones before connecting them with relevant pad.

Recent examples of my own include
   *Various SMD/DIL adapters
   *A design with multiple identical switch-mode sub-circuits
   *A "Stripboard" design-aid (pre-drawn tracks plus guide circles)

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Here is a specific example -
   There are a row of un-masked zones acting as solder-bridges. I'd like to create a track between the zones and an actual SMD pad. I've given the zones the correct net-id.

   * I can start a track from a F.Cu zone - so far, so good.

   * Now I connect to the desired pad ? -- < NO !! >. It is forbidden, because the *track* is on net 0. That is *despite* the pad starting from within a zone.

And - no - I cannot fill the zone UNTIL it is connected to a pad...(See "Bug #1041734 reported by Nathan Silver on 2012-08-26" for more on this aspect).

Note: I can do this fine if I start at the pad. However - this is not always so convenient. As I am sure you appreciate it is often easier to begin at a particular end (eg: start at the crowded end).
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Copied tracks/zones are "free floating" and thus have no net. This makes sense.

At present, I know of one way to "assign a net" to a "free floating" track/zone: I can assign a net to such tracks by placing a component directly onto the track, which is useful.

I'd find it useul to be able to this another way: "Assign a net" by connecting an existing net to a "free floating" track/zone.

   That is

      1) I click on an existing net
      2) I draw a track to a "free floating" (no net) track/zone
      3) The "free floating" track/zone then assumes the net name of the "incoming" track.

   So (3) above has the same effect on "free floating" track's net-name as placing a component onto it.

My work-around:
   I duplicate an existing component, then position the relevent pin of the (temporary) compononent on top of the track. This assigns the desired net name onto the track.
   Finally I delete the temporary component. After these maneuvers, I can connect to the "copied over" track.

A related feature for "no net" tracks/zones would be a right-click "assign net to this track".

Thanks,
Stephen.

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