Making Gerber Files

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Wendy, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    I have been using PCB express with good results for quite some time now. Problem is, it doesn't generate Gerber files. I have been using .gif files for quite some time to make home made PCBs. It is simple and it works.

    However, there will come a time when I need to make boards professionally, which suggests Gerber files or some other standard. I will have to learn Eagle Express probably, which I'm not looking forward to.

    This is a one time offer to PCB board houses to advertise on this thread only. Do it anywhere else on another thread and you will receive the standard life time ban, either from myself or my compatriots. Our regulars know about how seriously we take spam.

    If you take standards other than Gerber files I would be very much interested in hearing about it.
     
  2. Robin Mitchell

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    734
    200
    Hi Bill,

    I will accept many types of files including PCB files from eagle, KiCad and express PCB. I should beable to read gerber and have the designs outputted but I have never tried it (but I have viewed gerbers). My process is all chemical and no automation ;). I even plate holes and solder masks now so in my honest opinion my boards are as close as home pcbs will get to a professional board.
     
  3. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,699
    907
    Eagle has the ability to create Gerber files (see: CAM), but I have never done that separately from submitting my work. The house I have used just accepts the Eagle files and does it. I will play with Eagle a little later and see whether the Gerber files it creates can be viewed, or maybe someone knows.

    John
     
  4. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    2,691
    2,756
  5. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    <carried over from a PM conversation>

    M/S Paint prints at 98 DPI, no choice. I use GIMP because it is settable, and 600 DPI is the usual minimum standard for laser printers (ink jets usually use 300). Since the laser printer set the resolution, that is what I draw at.

    I am attaching a sample file, one I will not want made, by way of example. It was converted to a PDF file, I can convert it back if you like. I would be interested in how you price something like this, and minimum quantities.

    This circuit was discussed at ETO, it is against AAC policies.

    Edit: I found the other files associated with this project and merged them with the zip file. The original file has been replaced.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  6. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Understand, while not against learning new material I am lazy. A simple convertor would work much better for me. If I could convert a .gif to a Gerber that would be most excellent.

    I am trying to help a owner of a business, and would like to offer him some kits and PCB sources for the kits. I would step out of the loop at that point. :)

    Having said that, thank you for the sources/links. I'll check them out.

    I have my own ideas what a board should look like, so I tend to redo the Express PCB output to something I like better using M/S Paint.

    I am not really familiar with the Gerber standard, though I worked on equipment that used in a in house PCB shop for Alcatel.
     
  7. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
    2,691
    2,756
    Understood. In fact, that is the same reason why I still use Protel 99SE (yes, 16 year old software!) for my PCB work. Luckily, I don't do anything that my old Protel is incapable of. And, I have no issues with reading/maintaining legacy designs.
     
  8. Robin Mitchell

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    734
    200
    Hi bill,

    That PCB would cost between £3 to £8 depending on options like soldermasks.
    Minimum quantity is 1. Maximum quantity would depend but most likely less than 50 in one go because I would have to order more material. Also, could you supply the dimensions in inches and I could give you an actual estimate :)

    All the best,
    Robin
     
  9. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,574
    2,544
    What you're asking for is a raster to vector converter. You could probably get freeware that does .gif to .dxf, and then go to gerber from there... I'll try and check and then get back to you.
     
  10. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 12, 2008
    3,292
    1,255
    Take a look at Copper Connection. It is almost the same as Express PCB. If you used standard holes with Express I think it will also convert them. $45 as I recall.
     
  11. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
  12. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    The dimensions are in inches, or 600 DPI (dots per inch). If you print them using Gimp set at 600 DPI it comes out real sized. I don't know if Gimp has changed or if it is me, but there are a different set of menus that are a lot simpler to use when it is time..
     
  13. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,648
    2,348
    Hello,

    The extention .gbr can cause confusion.
    It is used for the gerber files, but also for the GIMP brush files.
    If you do a search on gif to gbr, you will end up with the conversion of the gif files to the gbr gimp brush files.

    Bertus
     
  14. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Good to know. Thanks.

    Which leaves me with the basic problem, how to make Gerber files.

    After this is said and done I might look for some cheap PCB board houses, but that is low priority.
     
  15. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
    15,648
    2,348
    Hello,

    The biggest problem is that gif is a bitmap structure and gerber files are vector based.
    It will not be easy to convert tem.

    Bertus
     
  16. Robin Mitchell

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2009
    734
    200
    Tomorrow I will have ago at printing the gif and see how it turns out when applied to copper. From my guess it should work fine!
     
  17. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,766
    2,536
    Maybe a new standard is needed, or maybe a lot of board houses can use them like Robin.
     
  18. nerdegutta

    Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    2,517
    785
    Wendy likes this.
  19. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,699
    907
    Here are fe few more. The asterisks are duplicates I caught. There may be others:

    http://www.customcircuitboards.com/
    http://dirtypcbs.com/
    *http://dorkbotpdx.org/wiki/pcb_order
    http://www.elecrow.com/special-offer-for-2-layer-1010cm-max-green-pcb-510pcs-p-761.html
    *http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping.html
    *https://oshpark.com/
    http://**********.com/
    *http://www.seeedstudio.com/service/index.php?r=site/pcbService
    http://smart-prototyping.com/PCB-Prototyping.html

    Bottom line is, there are a lot of houses. I suspect for anything with acceptable quality , the sorting will be by price, turnaround time, and quality in that order, as it is for any commodity.

    John
     
    Wendy likes this.
  20. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,699
    907
    I went to a pdftodxf site yesterday, and it returned the following dxf file of that board. I tried playing with it in Eagle and got nowhere, because the nets aren't labeled. That is no surprise at all. However, the squiggles could be used as a skeleton on which to build a real board from a schematic. The schematic doesn't look that complex. The worst part in building an Eagle (or other CAD) schematic/board pair probably would be finding the exact connectors, but I suspect for the purpose of making a board, simple 0.1" pinheaders would suffice. If no better option comes up, I'd be happy to translate your project into Eagle. John

    NB: The dxf file is in the zipped folder
     
Loading...