Importing Gerber and drill files

To create a product, you need to do the following:

  1. Using the CAD system of your choice, generate Gerber and Drill files for your product. See Gerber file generation tips for info on generating files from some commonly used CAD systems.
  2. Prepare for a new product. Open the Import Module, or choose File|New product if you have previously been working with a different product.
  3. Open the data files. Choose File|Open files to open files and add them to the files listed in the Files tab. If a single zip file is added, then this will be unpacked and its contents added to the Files tab. You may select multiple files from the same folder. You can also choose File|Open files again to add additional files to the Files tab.
  4. Link files to their corresponding board layers. If Autolinking is on, and the Import Module recognizes the filenames as matching one of the defined filters, then recognized files will be linked automatically to their corresponding layers. Files which are not autolinked must be linked manually. This is done by clicking on the blue text in the Layer column of the Files tab and selecting the desired layer from the layer menu. The file image is displayed, in order to help select the correct layer. Right-click on a file to view the file as text or change the file type.
  5. Review drill holes. In the Layer overview, set check marks by the drill layers and a copper layer, then go to the Drill tools tab. This tab lists the drill files and drill tools which have been linked. Ideally, the drill holes will be displayed centered on their corresponding copper pads. If not, see the user manual for information on how to make offset or scaling adjustments. Drill tool sizes are listed, rounded to the nearest actual tool size at the manufacturer. If tool sizes could not be extracted from the drill file, these must be entered manually by clicking in the Manuf. size column and typing in the correct size. Be sure to also check/correct plating for each tool, and drill depth for each file.
  6. Define the board contour. Go to the Contour tab. The Active layer (by default, the Board layer) is shown in blue and other layers are shown in gray. Ideally, selecting a segment of the outer contour, causes the entire contour to be highlighted. If necessary, use the + and – icon buttons to select/deselect the remainder of the contour (and no other segments). If the selected segments form a closed loop, then the Outer button in the Contour tab will be enabled. Click on the Outer button to define the outer contour. Select and define any additional cutouts, routed tracks, or scoring lines.
  7. Enter product specifications. Go to the board specs tab. You must specify a product name and select or define a stackup. In addition, you may choose non-standard surface finish, solder mask color and notation color. If the product is to have electrolytic (hard) gold applied to connector surfaces, then the gold area (in cm²) must also be specified. Then go to the board stats tab. Here you must specify minimum track width, clearance and annular ring for the product.
  8. Place the manufacturer's identifier. The manufacturer adds a product/batch number to the board as part of the production process. You may select the position of the identifier by clicking on the No. toolbar button and placing the rectangle at the desired position on the board. The identifier will appear on the Notation Top layer. If you do not place the identifier, then the manufacturer will choose an appropriate location prior to production.
  9. Add symbols (optional). Click on the Symbols toolbar button. Choose the desired symbol by clicking on the appropriate toolbar button. Select the desired layer and then draw a bounding rectangle for the symbol.
  10. Publish the product. Choose File|Publish to Product Browser to publish the new product:
    • Go through each item in the approval checklist to insure that you haven't forgotten anything. Click the OK button to continue.
    • Once the product has been published to the server, the new product number will be displayed. You'll find the product in the Never Ordered folder of the product browser.