This page is aimed at providing assistance to the Pcb Buyer/Designer in all aspect of Printed Circuits. If there is something you would like to see then please let us know, and likewise, if you have some information that you think could be of use to this page, then again please let us know.
The Ideal Manufacturing Package
The ideal manufacturing package for making a Pcb should include the following:
- Gerber files preferably in extended format i.e with embedded apertures or alternatively with a separate aperture list.
- An NC Drill file together with a drill size file.
- A readme file describing all of the filenames and associated file descriptions. The readme file should also state the technical specification for the Pcb, i.e. material thickness and type, copper weight, and surface finish.
When you've processed your cad data into gerber format you might find it useful to view the gerber data, in order to see what you've actually produced. Occasions do occur when the data gerber does not necessarily match your Cad output. There is a useful free shareware programmes for viewing gerber data, available on the Internet from Grahicode:
Zip Those Files
When sending data, it is always a good idea to zip all the files into one archive file. The advantages of doing this are that the overall size of the file collection is compressed and so will transmit faster, and if there is any corruption of data during transmission it will become obvious when the recipient is unable to open the email.
Winzip is available at www.winzip.com
Putting Circuits into Panels
Panelising of Pcbs can be a bit of a contentious issue. When assembling a PCB it is sensible to panelise in order to reduce handling. However, having a PCB in a panel will in most cases increase the PCB cost. After all, you are paying for the whole area of supplied material, not just the PCB itself.
It is likely that the savings made by having the PCB assembled in the panel, will outweigh the extra cost of having the PCB supplied in a panel, but it is always good practice when looking at the costing’s for the PCB to understand how the panelisation can increase the bare board cost.
We have a simple area calculator that shows the percentage of material area increase by taking a single circuit and then putting it into a panel. There are also some handy hints and tips for panelising your PCBs. Click here to use or Circuits in Singles or Panels Area Comparator
Viewing Auotcad, Drg or Dxf Files
If you ever need to view AutoCad .drg or .dxf files, there is a freeviewer program available on the Internet from a company called Autodesk and is available at www.autodesk.com
Track Width Calculator
For designers and engineers wishing to calculate the required track width for a board layout there is a simple Track Width Calculator that you can use here.