Few things are as frustrating as believing that you have designed a quality circuit only to find out it does not work once you have it manufactured. It could mean a lot of wasted time and energy, and it could mean that you spent money to have a prototype made. Instead of spending that time wishing that you had double and triple-checked the design, you could instead make use of a Gerber file viewer.
These viewers can help to eliminate issues with the manufacturing of the board, as you can get the data and feedback you need. This will ensure that you are not sending out work that is incorrect to the manufacturer. Everyone who is designing a circuit board, regardless of how simple or complicated it might be, will benefit from a Gerber file viewer.
What Are They and How Do They Work?
To understand the benefits of a Gerber file viewer, it is important to understand more about printed circuit boards. PCBs are boards that contain electronic components. These might include capacitors and resistors, for example. The circuits are mounted to the board, and elements of the board are connected through thin strips of conducting material. This is often copper.
The Gerber file format is considered standard in PCB design. This means that most people in the field will know and understand what a Gerber file is and how to read it. It helps to have a standard that can be used throughout the industry rather than having multiple proprietary files.
The Gerber file describes and communicates the components of the PCB image, such as copper layers and other attributes. Gerber files can also be input files for PCB printing devices that can make or compare circuit board images. They are essentially “sketches” that provide information about the makeup of the circuit boards. They help to guide the production of the PCB from the design. There have been three generations of Gerber files.
The Standard Gerber, RS-274-D, was the first generation. Extended Gerber, RS0274X, was the second generation, and Gerber X2 is the latest generation. Modern Gerber files will also often include metadata.
Each of the Gerber files will equal, or correspond to, a single layer in the physical board. This could be the bottom signal layer, the top signal layer, inner layers, etc. In the past, it would often be necessary to provide the manufacturer with the Gerber files, which they would use to manufacture the PCB. This meant that it was not always possible to catch issues in the design until it was too late.
The Introduction of the Gerber File Viewer
To make the process faster and easier, the Gerber file viewer was created. This is a software that will allow you to check the contents in a Gerber file. It is a fast and easy way to get a better understanding of the design and how it will translate to the actual PCB. There are many tools on the market, including software that can be downloaded and installed on a computer.
However, we’ve opted to make the process even easier for our clients. We at Advanced Circuits provide a free to use tool that is right on our website. You can upload your Gerber files for viewing on your own time. The tool is available around the clock, and it works easily. Anyone who has a Gerber file can use the tool to upload and view. They do not have to be an active customer to use the software.
Our Gerber file viewer, called FreeDFM, can look at the inner plane layers for spacing, trace width, annular ring, inner clearance, and thermal reduction. It can check the outer layers for spacing, trace width, and annular ring. It can check drilling for double hits and missing hits. It also checks the solder mask for undersized clearances and missing clearances. It checks the silkscreen for line width. The inner signal layers can be checked for spacing, trace width, annular ring, and inner clearance.
Our system will provide you with an easy to read graphical report. This can make it much easier to understand the findings from the Gerber file viewer, so you can easily see if there are problems you will need to address. We can ensure that the files contain all the needed data, and one of the most significant benefits of our viewer is that it can automatically correct some design issues. This means that if you have some small issues, they could be fixed for you automatically, which can help to reduce your workload.
Besides the information that can be gleaned from the Gerber file viewer, we can also provide you with a detailed PCB quote.
We make the system as easy to use as possible. You will first want to export your Gerber files from the design software and then upload a zip folder to the online tool. You can then provide your email address, where the results will be sent in a matter of minutes.
Why Choose Advanced Circuits?
In addition to our free Gerber file viewer, we can provide you with a wealth of other benefits when you work with us. We’re known for our speedy turnaround time and rapid shipping, which ensures that you get your PCBs quickly. We are one of the largest companies in this field, and we can provide you with reliable service, manufacturing, and assembly. If you have custom orders in mind, we can help with those. Also, there are no minimum order requirements for PCB orders.
Those who need a company that can reliably manufacture their PCBs will want to check out everything that Advanced Circuits has to offer. We can provide you with the services you need and using the Gerber file viewer helps to ensure that you are getting a great board that works the way it should.