Help with Gerber file?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Nicholas, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Nicholas

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 24, 2005
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    Hi guys

    I want to have a small run(30-50) of very, very simple(and small) pcbs made, but I need
    to make a gerber file since this is the standard...as I understand it.

    The pcb will be a couple of centimeters on both x and y, will be 1-layer and only need a couple of LEDs,
    some resistors and a hole for a screw :)

    If I made a drawing, could someone offer help with the gerber-file?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  2. ericgibbs

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 29, 2010
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  3. Nicholas

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Mar 24, 2005
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    Awesome, thanks!!
     
  4. Tornado Bones

    New Member

    Nov 8, 2014
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    upload_2015-3-15_2-37-10.png I have the same problem. I have an invention that requires a 1.5 x 2.5 inch board. It's on side copper and pretty simple. I've made a few boards using laser prints, hot irons, laminators, etc. A few times I got it to work pretty well but I think I made a total of 8 good boards and a LOT of scrap. I am meticulously following the instructions I've found on the blogs and websites. In some cases, I believe the materials have changed (like the "ideal" paper seems to now be totally waterproof) and what used to work well may no longer work at all. I know this can be made to work but right now I don't have time to experiment. I need boards.

    I'm done prototyping and now I'm getting an explosion of orders for my product. I'm doing this because I'm completely broke and I need a way to make an honest buck. I had to learn patent law to write my own patent, I learned the basics of LT spice so I could design my own circuit, I had to lean how to do CAD designs for the mechanical components... but the software for making PCBs has been the worst. I've spent around 50 hours now, trying to draw up a schematic in designspark. Even though every single component I'm using is bare bones common stuff, I can't find files for the components so I can just plug em in. For example, an SPDT relay with the same standard pin placement or a 1N4148 diode. I have a BOM and all the sources and prices already. I'm afraid I'll waste another week or more trying to redo my board in a new software environment with designspark components that may not be the equivalent of what I need (with different pin placement).

    Here's the pcb and the silkscreen. Anyone know how to convert this directly from the graphic? It's all drawn to scale. I need 100 or 200 of these.

    View attachment 82138
     
  5. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Have you looked at Kicad very powerful and FREE.
    I have used Orcad in the past and it compares well with this.
    Max.
     
  6. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I am not aware of any program that will import an image file to make all of the required Gerber files. Kicad is liked by many users. I use Eagle. In either case, you will probably need to enter your schematic and then re-route your PCB.

    Unless you purchase Eagle, it cannot be used for a commercial product according to its TOS. I do not know whether Kicad has that restriction.

    John
     
  7. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    Kicad is open source, so no restrictions.
    BTW, there are many tutorials on Utube and others for all phases from the schematic to the board and including drawing your own schematic symbol or physical shape outline.
    Max.
     
  8. Tornado Bones

    New Member

    Nov 8, 2014
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    Thanks for the responses. My problem is that I keep having to learn very specialized software just to find out if I need it. As soon as I started to get my bearings with LTspice, I was done. I never was able to get the relay setup right, even with the open source libraries. I could have spent a few more days learning, which would be a no brainer time investment if I was going to keep using it regularly. I probably wont use it again for a year. I just spent two solid weekends and most of my weeknights trying to learn designspark but almost all of that time was spent make or find the components I want to drop into my schematic so I get the right pin placement.

    Now, I'm hearing I should learn Kicad. I'll take the time to learn new software and I'm not afraid of a little work... I'm working 18-20hr days 7 days a week right now. I just really need to prioritize the time I'm spending trying to get a copy of my boards into the format I need to place an order. From the time I've put my mind to it, it's been over 8 weeks and I still can't place the order.

    I appreciate the advice about tutorials. I've been spending a lot of time reading the reviews of each type of software for pcb design and going through the tutorials. There are a lot of good tutorials out there. Sometimes, maybe too many. It can take a while to find one that's really relevant to the question in mind, especially if you aren't sure you are asking the right question yet... Some curves are prettier than others. The learning curve can be downright awful.

    Tonight I found a program that converted my graphic file from my CAD software into a vector graphic (using photoshop or GIMP and Inkscape). Now, I have a 2D vector PDF file. Next, I've found a way to convert that to the Gerber files using a combination of FAB 3000 with Ghostscript. There was a very detailed and amazing tutorial on the web for this. It took the narrator about 3o seconds to convert his graphic into Gerber files with layers and NC drill file. This is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYJQMZNfzIg. He just imported the image into the program and Bammo!

    I'm waiting for my 1 time license to be approved, so I can try FAB 3000. I believe the full license is $295, which I still can't afford right now. Planning to spend less than that on the first batch of boards. Once I have the first production run of my product squared away, I can spend more time learning Kicad or a more mainstream program like Eagle.

    My searches indicated that there are a lot of others out there who have the same situation. They know how to make homemade boards with a graphic file and a laser printer but now they want to make more boards from their graphic file. I'll let you know how the Gerber file conversion goes.
     
  9. sydcomebak

    Member

    Dec 13, 2011
    69
    5
    So how did it go?!
     
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