What are Footprints and Land Patterns

4. Land Patterns

4.1. Land Pattern Design Shortcuts

You need an appropriate land-pattern for your part if you want the solder to properly bond your part to your printed circuit board.  That's a problem since EDA software vendors do not always maintain their parts libraries.  Before you can design a PCB, you need a library full of the parts you will use.  And your library needs land-patterns.

Find a Ready-to-Use Land Pattern

Look in your EDA Program

Database Lookup

The EDA library for your software likely has every IPC-compliant land pattern already programmed into its database.  Once you figure out where to look and how the parts are named, you should be able to find your part quickly.

Copypasta approach

Your specific part and pattern might not be present, but there's a good bet that the land-pattern for it is.  You might be able to find a similar part and copy the land pattern into your library where you can edit the pins and link it with your new schematic component.

Pattern Wizard Approach

Many EDA programs now offer "pattern-wizards" that generate IPC-7351 compliant land patterns.  If your EDA software offers a wizard, it might be worth spending a few minutes learning how to use it.

Look at your Manufacturer/Distributor Website

Manufacturers

Manufacturers will occasionally offer a land-pattern as part of the digital downloads for the part on their website.  It's not too common, but it does occasionally happen.

Distributors & 3rd Part Vendors

Manufacturers should absolutely release a land pattern and a 3D model with every part they produce, but they don't.  So services such as Octopart, SnapEDA, PCBLayout, etc... pick up where they left off.  The 3rd party vendors make the patterns available either as a service or at a fee.  Distributors such as Digi-Key then link to the pattern on their product page.