ExpressPCB and Gerber Files

Discussion in 'Electronics Resources' started by gmcmurry, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. gmcmurry

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 29, 2010
    11
    0
    OK- This is sort of a "newbie" question but I figure this is a good place for me to start.

    I have been using ExpressPCB now for over 10 years. They are terrific and make nice short order PCBs for a good price. I have about 20 different designs already in my inventory.

    Over the years, I have gotten so good at their layout software that it scares me to think of changing.

    I have several circuits that I will need to have made elsewhere. Therefore, I will need a classical set of gerber files. ExpressPCB will make me those files for $60 and I like that.

    HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

    CAN I MAKE ANY MODIFICATIONS TO EXISTING GERBER FILES?
    If I have ExpressPCB make me a set of Gerber Files of some of my existing boards, will I be able to start working on them with some other software package if I need to make modifications? Can you import a set of ExpressPCB generated "Gerber Files" into some other layout application?

    WHAT PCB LAYOUT SOFTWARE SHOULD I BUY?
    I need to start learning another PCB Application. Where should I start there? Inexpensive and 4 layer.. I don't need much more than I already have in the ExpressPCB application.

    Greg
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    ExpressPCB lets you do 4 layer work.

    If you feel you need to go to a full CAD package, you could look at Circad. It says it can import Gerber files, which are photoplots of the various traces and PCB layers.

    The full expression, Gerber 247X, also includes all the information needed to actually make the PCB. Beside the photoplots, there is the drill file that specifies how big the holes should be.

    "Should I buy" - that is really up to you and your needs. CAD packages get expensive in a hurry. Eagle is one I keep seeing. I think it may have a graduated cost that depends on the projected complexity of the PCB.

    I'm still using a 30 year old CAD program. It won't give a Gerber 247X output (247D), but handles up to 32 X 32" and 8 layers.
     
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