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When Gerber File Output We Need to Pay Attention to the 9 Questions

Printed circuit board manufacturing is one of the most complex processes. The precision of manufactured PCBs does hinge on several things. However, none is more important than accurate and complete manufacturing data.

More than often, accurate Gerber output files are necessary. If the manufacturing data is not correct, the boards may not bring about the intended results. It generally leads to board failures, increased costs, and manufacturing delays.

In this article, we attempt to point out nine problems with Gerber output files. We also look at how to go about avoiding them. Today, we are focusing on Gerber files because they are prevalent when it comes to PCB production.

 

A beautiful crafted PCB from an excellent Gerber file

(A beautiful crafted PCB from an excellent Gerber file)

 

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1.Missing Board Outline

 

Among other Gerber file pieces, the board outline is arguably one of the simplest ones. However, besides its simplicity, it is still essential to describe the board edge's real bounds to your manufacturer.

By issuing out such specifications, you ensure that there is excellent routing from the panel. The board outline should not be missing at all and must be present all the time. So, you need to ensure that you double-check for board outline. By doing this, you will be ensuring that you save a lot of communication time.

Of importance to note is that you may have to instruct the software you use to do so when generating Gerber files. The reason for this is because some CAD software will not do that.

 

The board outline is very crucial in your Gerber file information

(The board outline is very crucial in your Gerber file information)

 

2.Empty or Corrupted Gerber Data

 

Empty or some erroneous Gerber data is noticeable from a careful examination of the Gerber output file. For the best results, it is advisable to use a Gerber Viewer. With a Gerber Viewer, you will get the assurance that your generated Gerbers does match with your design.

It also eases the process before package submission for manufacturing. Empty or corrupted Gerber data might arise due to instances of poor settings with your CAD software. So, to ensure that everything runs well, you may have to confirm the correct specification of Gerber generation.

There are several manufacturing firms out there who can assist you with the best guides on how to go about generating Gerber output files. For some of the best results, you may have to ensure that the software you rely on is up-to-date. With up-to-date software, expect some of the best results.

 

Gerber viewer enables you to see any empty or corrupt data

(Gerber viewer enables you to see any empty or corrupt data)

 

3.Gerber file Missing NC Drill file

 

Related to the first point, most PCB software packages consist of separate options for the generation of Gerbers and drill files. With a different option for generating Gerbers, it becomes easier for designers to miss drill files.

Drill files are necessary for coming up with through-hole footprints. These footprints are usually present in a board is design. Missing excellence or drill file is disastrous in the production of a printed circuit board. Sometimes, designers submit drill maps as opposed to the drill file. Much worse, others provide drill files that some fabrication machines fail to translate.

To avoid such a problem, you need to ensure that you include your Gerber file archive's drill files. Providing such essential information does eliminate manual entry, guesswork, or manufacturing delays.

 

You should ensure you identify all the missing NC drill files within the output of the Gerber file

(You should ensure you identify all the missing NC drill files within the output of the Gerber file)

 

4.Gerber file Incorrect File Format

 

RS-27 4X is the industry-standard Gerber format. RS-27 4X is, in fact, the required and ideal FILE format for the PCB fabrication process. Manufacturing companies can also accept ODB++ Design Files in printed circuit board fabrication.

From time to time, we have seen clients who prefer to export to some older formats. Others also send their designs to manufacturers using file formats of their preferred CAD software. Unfortunately, there are several cases where manufacturing companies get the wrong file format. With an incorrect file format, then do not expect to get what you wanted.

The naming of every Gerber file must reflect the board layer and easy for interpretation. To ensure that your PCB fabrication goes well, you need to double-check your Gerber files. With double-checking, you will be sure to submit Gerber files in the correct format.

 

When naming out Gerber files, ensure that it is a correct name that manufacturers can understand

(When naming out Gerber files, ensure that it is a correct name that manufacturers can understand)

 

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5.Gerber file Ambiguous File Names

 

When it comes to PCBs' manufacture –especially HDI PCBs and Multi-layer boards-, designers must ensure that they avoid using ambiguous file names. Orders of copper layers in HDI and Multi-layer PCBs appear a little bit unclear from the file names.

So, to avoid such a case, it is good to provide a simple-to-understand PCB Stackup. You must make every other information clear and use simple file names. By using confusing file names, you will also create some confusion to your potential manufacturer.

With such, they will be manufacturing delays and some faults in your boards. With detailed file naming, there is the avoidance of delays and confusion.

 

It is also essential to reduce the ambiguity of the way you save your Gerber files for future reference

(It is also essential to reduce the ambiguity of the way you save your Gerber files for future reference)

 

6.Gerber file Vectorized Pads

 

There specific design software that creates surface mount pads with vectorized data. It means that the tablet will consist of several small vectors. Their arrangement will be in a manner aimed at creating a surface mount pad.

Designers then have to ensure that they substitute the entire pads to develop a single flash pad. Such only minimizes the amount of data, while assisting in editing such files. It is advisable to use flash pads if possible. Of importance to note is that not anybody can handle issues to do with vectorized pads.

To ensure that you have a seamless PCB manufacturing process, you'll have to partner with experienced firms.

 

Vectorized pads within your Gerber files need to scrutinized well since it eases editing of such files

(Vectorized pads within your Gerber files need to scrutinized well since it eases editing of such files)

 

7.Gerber File Composite Layers

 

Specific CAD software packages can split single copper layers into several Gerber files. Such a phenomenon is prevalent, especially for layers consisting of filled areas. The software can generate a separate file for traces, one for the copper pour, and a single for clearance.

The issue comes about due to a specific option that's within the CAD software. It would help if you were sure that you double-check all your files using a Gerber Viewer. That is before making your submission. If possible, you may have to ensure that you correct the settings of your CAD software.

 

After creating the outline in CAD, make sure to divide the Gerber file into several copper layers

(After creating the outline in CAD, make sure to divide the Gerber file into several copper layers)

 

8.Miss-Match With Other Design Files

 

If you aren't aware yet, the design process of PCBs goes through several critical stages. Besides, by the time you are ready to submit your design files, they have most likely gone through several revisions. Unfortunately, many manufacturers tend to overlook the importance of reviews. Some ignore undertaking a few corrections here and there. It then puts the Gerber output files chances of encountering a few errors. The resulting discrepancies may end up confusing. It may also bring some potential delays during the PCB manufacturing stage.

Before you submit your designs, ensure that there aren't any mismatches in all the design files. Take some time to double-check everything is in order. It isn't limited to your Gerber output files, the Centroid file, or the Bill of Material. If there's a mismatch between your Gerber output file and all other files, then expect a low-quality PCB at the end of the manufacturing process.

 

Before submitting your Gerber files, ensure no instances of mismatch in your files

(Before submitting your Gerber files, ensure no instances of mismatch in your files)

 

9.Gerber File Poor Fabrication Drawing Lines

 

Often, a majority of manufacturers receive Gerber files that lack fabrication drawing with them. But what's the importance of a fab drawing? What's in a fabrication drawing? A fab drawing indicates a board's dimension, as well as special routing and any cut-outs. It may also contain notes that are related to how to go about fabricating printed circuit boards. There are also important details, such as material type, file names, and thickness.

Any data that will help manufacturers to understand essential information about your board is helpful. With such, your boards get produced error-free since every detail about them is present. But, when it comes to the submission of Gerber output files, most of them miss a fabrication drawing. If you want to ensure high-quality boards' production, you must ensure that you submit your Gerber output file plus the fabrication drawing together.

 

Ensure that your fabrication drawing lines are seamless

(Ensure that your fabrication drawing lines are seamless)

 

Summary

 

Following the above points when submitting your board requirements guarantees you a quality board. Best of all, choosing to work with OurPCB is a good decision choice.

We have in place a team of experienced experts who can catch common Gerber file output issues.

At OurPCB, we will partner with you from the beginning to the end of your project. If you have any questions to do with Gerber output files requiring some clarification, please contact us for assistance. If you want to place an order, you can still contact our responsive and professional customer care attendants today.

 

 

Special Offer: Get $100 off your order!

Claim your $100 discount by sending an inquiry today. Act now to save on your next project!
Please email [email protected] for details.