RTM_Layout Application

Created: Sep 5, 2018   Updated: Oct 31, 2020   DISCLAIMER
Image of the RTM Layout application screen.

Do your completed projects look different from what you wanted? Are you frustrated with hand drawn designs? Grab a free copy of RTM_Layout and put those days behind you!

This Windows app creates accurate layout diagrams. It helps you design and document physical aspects of your build!

See Your Projects Before Building

As shown above, this lightweight CAD provides a 2D display consisting of;

  • a container space (called the Platform)
  • components (called Blocks).

Its easy to set your container size, add components, arrange (and re-arrange) to suit your idea. In minutes, you'll know dimensions, locations and platform size to .01 inch accuracy! 

Now you can visualize your build in 2D space. When you're ready, take a few snapshots -- or print a hard copy. Documenting or sharing your project just became easier.

Realistic Component Display

Blocks are graphic objects used to represent major project components such as; MCU, breadboards, power supply, terminal strips, keypad, etc. Blocks can be blank or carry an image!

  • Choose prebuilt Blocks already having image and set dimensions.
  • Or add an empty Block and use your own image and dimensions.

Blocks have readouts to reveal their size or location. A context menu lets you select the readout mode. You can hide readouts when not needed.

Image shows RTM_Layout context menu for changing Block display mode.

Aside from knowing size or location, you can also measure distance between any two Blocks or distance to Platform edges for any one.

Image of RTM_Layout Measure dropdown.

Convenient Alignment Tools

Easily move individual or groups of Blocks with keyboard or mouse. Align groups relative to a particular edge. Center them horizontally or vertically. And space groups of Blocks equal distances apart.

Image shows menu of Block alignment choices.

Plan Your Signals and Circuit Space

RTM_Layout helps you plan Bus Signals (SPI, I2C, Digital, Analog, Power, etc). By adding Signal indicators to your component, its easy to see connector point locations (solid rectangles) and used Breadboard circuit space (dashed rectangles).

This helps to evaluate wire routing paths. Plus you can determine if adequate Breadboard circuit-lane space exists for Project needs!

Snapshot shows RTM_Layout display of Connector and Used signal space.

See Project Build Sequence

Another aspect of project planning is build-order sequence. RTM_Layout lets you quickly set up (and see) how a project looks after each assembly step! It supplies a Build-Order property (numbered 1-9) for each Block. Once each Blocks BO property is assigned, Function-keys (F1-thru-F9) will display your Project as it appears after each assembly step!

This animation depicts using keys F1 thru F4 to illustrate.

Animation of Build-Order Steps in a Layout Diagram

Hard Copy and Snapshot Documentation

A variety of Display modes and Print options help with project documentation. And a versatile Snapshot facility lets you create jpeg Images. Use these images in your documents or web pages.

Image shows Snapshot Menu.

Generate a Parts Report

Also available is a Report to summarize components (parts list). You can print or export to PDF, XL or Word Format.

Image of Project Report shows Export Menu.

RTM_Layout Feature Summary

Pre-Built Components: Blocks are already preset with dimensions, depiction Image (if applicable) and Signals. This includes a wide selection of Breadboards, and several MCU cards.

User-Defined Types: RTM_Layout comes with a predefined set of Component Types (Breadboard, MCU, Barrier Strip, etc). Users can add their own custom Types on a per-project basis. These types appear in the Blocks list at right.

Alignment: One or more selected Blocks can be moved incrementally and centered Vertically or Horizontally. Align Block sides (Top, Bottom, Left, or Right) along an imaginary line. Quickly space selected Blocks equally apart.

Measurements: Distance is measured between any two selected Blocks or from any one Block to Platform edges. Resolution is .01 inch.

Layering: Overlapping Blocks can be arranged above or below each other. There is no formal assignment of Layers.

Build-Order: You can assign each Component a Build-Order step value (1-9). Later you can quickly show Project appearance after each step.

Rotation: A Block can rotate in 90 degree steps. Its associated Image and Signals display accordingly.

Zoom: The Layout-Diagram zooms from 5% to 300%. A Fit-to-Window toolbar button brings the Diagram into full view. In large Zoom situations, you can pan the Diagram by dragging with the middle-mouse button.

3 View Modes: Help you analyze (and Print) your diagram using different color schemes. X-ray provides a different perspective. Print-mode saves ink or toner.

Customizable UI: A wide range of User Interface settings includes Fonts, Colors and Sizes.

Snapshot Facility: Take snapshots of the Platform, Backdrop or entire Application. Images are saved to a local Folder available via Toolbar. Use the Images in your public or private documents (please see License for important caveats).

Print-Preview: Use with Zoom to create varied size hard copies for documenting your Project.

Report Dialog: Use to Print or export your Project parts list.

HELP: A built in Help display is accessible via Tab. Use the slider at top to zoom text to a comfortable size.

RTM_Layout Installation

Just navigate to the Download section. Click the RTM Layout link. Run the installer. A wizard takes you step-by-step through the process. When finished, a shortcut is placed on your Desktop.

Known Issues

Does Not Auto-Save: or Warn of need to Save on close or load of new Project. This may change in a later version. You must click Toolbar->Save button when you want changes saved. This is by design.

Size Limitations: RTM_Layout is intended for small Hobby Projects (especially Solderless). It works best at 20w x 15h inches (or less) Platform size. Going beyond these limits can lead to memory errors generating Bitmaps. This may result in failed Print or Zoom operations.

Zoom Fit to Window: After initial installation, RTM_Layout uses a default Zoom-Calculation-Factor to fit the entire Layout Diagram on the Backdrop area.You may notice that the 'fit' is too small or too large. Left-click the Backdrop region and adjust Property ZoomCalcFactor to improve fit for your screen.

Menu Font: Currently you cannot change the application's menu-bar font. It will be the size and face defined in your Windows theme. A later version of the Program may allow for Menu font-size customization.

User Signal Colors: Currently, you cannot change the 4 colors for User-Signals (User1, User2, User3, User4). This may change in a later version.

Limited Undo: The Program only offers an UNDO-MANY function which restores (selected Blocks using CTRL-Z, or all Blocks using menu) to their state when the Project was loaded. This does not include; restoring deleted items, changes to Signals, changes to Platform! This is by design.

MORE: No doubt there are more limitations and bugs. Please post your findings or concerns to the Forum.

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Created: Sep 5, 2018   Updated: Oct 31, 2020   DISCLAIMER