Painting Pads: The Scourge of CAD-to-CAM Communication


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Over decades, Gerber has evolved into the bare board industry's CAD-to-CAM data transfer standard, capable of describing a PCB image to within an astoundingly accurate 0.1 nm, in a clear-cut language that is fast and easy to use. Designs described in the RS-274X Gerber format are hassle-free, reliable and accurate, and can be implemented quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

This article will help the PCB design community get the very best out of this clean but sometimes poorly used format. We will show how old, outdated habits are creating problems for their manufacturing partners as well as compromising the quality of the final products.

The CAM Process Before going on to discuss the problems, it is worth taking a little time to explore what happens, and what does not happen, to Gerber data once it enters the PCB manufacturer's systems.

Many users of PCB CAD systems believe that the data files they send to their PCB manufacturers will drive the fabricators' production machines; they think that their Gerber image files are production tools that will be used directly on the PCB manufacturers' photoplotter, the Excellon drill files will go straight onto the manufacturers' drilling machines, and their IPC-356 electrical test netlist information will go right into electrical test machines. They don't.Read the full article here.Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.

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