What’s PCB Gerber?
PCB Gerber is an ASCII format, describes binary images. It was originally developed by the Gerber Systems Corp in the 1980s, used for vector photoplotters. With the development of photoplotters, the ease of use and compatibility of Gerber format has been continuously developed and is now the fab standard format used in PCB manufacturing. The PCB Gerber format we talking here refers to the RS274X standard or called Gerber X.
Development of Gerber format
- RS274D, standard Gerber, the last generation of Gerber format, which is basically no longer in use,
- RS274X, or extended Gerber, the one that is in widely use now,
- Gerber X1/X2, the newest Gerber formats, in which X2 possesses attributes, while X1 does not.
What does an RS274X PCB Gerber contain?
- Embedded format, unit and data information
- Embedded apertures
- Custom aperture definitions
- Film control statements
- Multiple layers embedded in a single file
- Special polygon definitions
The standard file extension of RS274X Gerber is .gbr, the files look like as below,
*The files that will be generated to be RS274X Gerber depend on the designs, except outline file (GML), which is necessary for PCB manufacturing and assembly.
How to generate PCB Gerber file from EDA/CAD?
EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is a German PCB design tool. It is used by many design enthusiasts beacuase of low price and easy use.
But it’s just entry level, and not friendly to structure design, so not as mainstream as AD, PADS, etc.
Let’s see how to get PCB gerber from Eagle (Brd to Gerber).
1. Open you brd file in eagle,
File > Open > brd
2. Display all the layers, for avoiding layer-missing in the next steps,
View > Layers
3. Click CAM button to enter CAM process,
4.Select the right file in your “cam” folder (Just contact us for this if you’ve not got them),
File > Open > Job > Select the file > Open
5. Click process to generate the PCB Gerber in the folder where brd file is located,
6. Check the PCB Gerber you got by CAM350 or other software, to ensure no error.
B. Altium designer 1X
Formerly known as Protel, AD is a very popular PCB design software with powerful features for high-speed layout, the first choice for many senior engineers.
The method to get PCB Gerber from AD is pretty simple.
1.Open your .pcbdoc file in Altium designer software,
2. File > Fabrication Outputs > Gerber Files,
3.In Gerber Setup and aggregated pages, the following options are recommended, click OK after you go through all these options,
the PCB Gerber will be generated in the folder where .pcbdoc is in,
4.File > Fabrication Outputs > NC drill files
Marked options are recommended, click OK to finish it.
*Note that software version used to design the PCB should be informed, what will help to avoid discrepancies.