John Lyons wrote:but now I have a few boards I want to have fabricated.
John Lyons wrote:I read something once about someone doing conversion by converting each layer to pdf and then going PDF => Vector => gerber... Requires manual drills, and sounds pretty sketchy to me.
What do you mean by "manual drills"? pdf >vector>gerber seems simple enough although I don't know anything about how gerber works.
ExpressPCB holds your hand a bit in a way eagle doesn't, but in the end it becomes pretty necessary.
Yes, it seems like this will have to be the way to go.
Generation of Design Files
Once you have finished your design, how do you send the design to a fabrication house? If you are going to build you own circuit boards using the procedure outlined in this book, you can skip this section. If you are going to send your circuit boards to a professional fabrication house, you need to generate design
files that the fabrication house can understand. Since there are dozens of schematic capture and layout tools on the market, there must be a standard file format that any fabrication house can utilize. This standard file format is known as Gerber. Any decent layout tool must be able to produce Gerber files. If yours doesn’t, get one that does!
Once you generate Gerber files for your design, it is a good idea to check them with a viewer other than the software that generated them. This helps to catch most of the silly problems. If you don’t have a decent Gerber file viewer, you can download a free version of GCPrevue from GraphiCode, Inc. (http:\\www.graphicode.com)
As with any standard, there are always different flavors. Currently there are really only two main flavors: “standard Gerber” and “extended Gerber.” RS- 274-D is standard Gerber and requires an external aperture list to define all the apertures in the design (more on that in a moment). RS-274-X is extended Gerber and contains all the aperture definitions needed by the design. In other words it is a self-contained file. The preferred flavor is extended Gerber. This really is all you need to know about Gerber files, but if you are a stickler for details read on.
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