Gerber files to ExpressPCB?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by tracecom, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    I have the opposite problem from most.

    My question is whether anyone here has sent Gerber files to ExpressPCB to have boards made. It has been so long since I worked with ExpressSch and ExpressPCB that I have forgotten how. I have the project completed with DipTrace and would like to get MiniBoard Pro boards from ExpressPCB (due to quick turnaround.)

    I will call them in the morning, but I am impatient and would like to know tonight. :)
     
  2. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
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    Tracecom,

    I just found this thread which may shed some light.
     
  3. tracecom

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    I resent my e-mail inquiry to ExpressPCB. I cannot find a telephone number.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  4. spinnaker

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    ExpressPCB has not been updated in years. I would not hold my breath.

    DipTrace imports gerber. It is very easy to use IMHO.

    But you are still not going to have the schematic.
     
  5. tracecom

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    Here's the response from ExpressPCB.

    "Charles,

    Thank you for your interest in ExpressPCB.

    Our manufacturing service is only available to the users of our software. We have optimized this automated service around the ExpressPCB layout program. I'm sorry but we do not accept Gerber or other file formats, and importing is not possible.

    If you choose to use our software, I'm sure you will find it very easy to learn and intuitive to use.

    Please feel free to write if you have any more questions.

    Regards,

    - Jessica -
    "
     
  6. tracecom

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    Thanks, but it's the other way around. I have the schematic and the PCB layout done in DipTrace, but I don't know of an economical, quick source except for ExpressPCB.
     
  7. spinnaker

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    Sorry but I don't understand. Source for what? You have it in DipTrace. What is wrong with DipTrace?
     
  8. tracecom

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    Nothing is wrong with DipTrace; I like it a lot. The problem is that ExpresssPCB will not accept DipTrace files or Gerber files. They insist that I must use their proprietary software to order PCBs from them. The only reason I am using them is that they have the best combination of speed and price for the boards that I need.

    Thanks.
     
  9. spinnaker

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    Well if you are willing to buy services from them then it would be in their best interest to accept gerber files. I imagine there are others in your situation too. Really curious why they would not want to cooperate.
     
  10. ErnieM

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    @tracecom: There are some very good board houses I use in China, good, cheap, but not fast. If you want good and fast it ain't cheap, but you might try houses such as Sunstone for a quote.


    Asked and answered:

    The ExpressPCB simply does not allow you to use features not in their system. That means drill sizes, conductor sizes, edge shapes, the works, are all part of their system in a file format they well understand. Not to mention they get standard (their standard) size boards to produce using part of a panel combined with other orders.

    They are a quick and dirty (used in the best sense, I like this company) prototype house. That's it.
     
  11. tracecom

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    My PCB comprised 24 copies of a custom breakout board for a six-pin SMD component. I used DipTrace to lay it out to conform to ExpressPCB's 2.5" by 3.8" size, and a fellow member here entered it into ExpressPCB software and e-mailed the file to me. I placed the order with ExpressPCB about an hour ago.

    Each of the 72 breakout boards will cost about $1.20 delivered, and I will have them by Friday or Saturday. I could have ordered them from China for less money, but it would have taken three to four weeks to get them.

    Either way, I have to saw them apart, which is a dusty, risky process. I am considering soldering the SOT23-6 devices in place before I separate the individual breakout boards. Opinions?
     
  12. ErnieM

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    OK
    Noooooooooooooooooooooooo !!!!!

    Segment first, then attach if you are using a saw.

    Segment last only if the board is scored for segmentation.

    BTW, what kind of adapters are you making? I keep a stock of adapters such as this on hand:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/5Pcs-SOT-23...356?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cd8753794

    I actually don't keep this exact size, I use 8 pin devices when I need that. SOT-23-3's I just put down sideways on my breadboard. -6 yeah needs an adapter.
     
  13. tracecom

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    I need a custom breakout board because the PCB that it is being attached to already exists, and was laid out for a different component. So, my little boards are not just breakout boards; they are adapters as well.

    The reason that I was considering soldering the SOT23-6 devices is because it's the only component on the breakout board, and I thought it would be easier to place all the SOT23-6 devices and solder them first, rather than deal with 24 breakout boards. (I am planning to use the hotplate method for soldering.) But I am new to this, so I will take your advice.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  14. ErnieM

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    I know it is messy but I can show you pile after pile of bad PCBs all due to parts cracking when snapping them apart, and those boards were all scored to snap on the lines.

    True, it is mostly caps that snap apart but any part is vulnerable, but best be safe and sure.
     
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