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'[EE]: Using GerbMerge'
2005\12\04@211007 by Vitaliy

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Hi List,

I would like to use GerbMerge to panelize three different designs,
unfortunately it's not something I would call intuitive. :-)

Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
GerbMerge? I'm using Eagle 4.13 to produce the gerbers, if that makes any
difference.

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@015549 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I would like to use GerbMerge to panelize three different designs,
> unfortunately it's not something I would call intuitive. :-)

I found it reasonably intuitive

> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
> GerbMerge?

yes, I did it a few times.

what's the problem?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\12\05@030659 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
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Vitaliy wrote:
> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format
> using  GerbMerge? I'm using Eagle 4.13 to produce the gerbers,
> if  that makes any  difference.

I do not know much about PCB layout in general. But can
the board house do the panelizing for you? Our PCB designer
tells me it is error-prone (missing lines due to software
bug or other issues) to do the panelizing by our PCB
layout software (P-CAD here). That is why we only provide the
step-repeat value and the PCB board house will take care of
panelizing following our panel requirement. We have the same
step-repeat value in the coordinate list (krd file) for our
in-house SMT machines.

Regards,
Xiaofan

2005\12\05@074919 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Chen Xiao Fan wrote:

> Vitaliy wrote:
>> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
>> GerbMerge? I'm using Eagle 4.13 to produce the gerbers, if  that makes
>> any  difference.
>
> I do not know much about PCB layout in general. But can the board house
> do the panelizing for you?

I think Vitaly wants to merge three different boards (possibly to take
advantage of the fact that making four of one small board or four of a
slightly bigger Gerber comprised of three boards is often the same price)
rather than actually do the panelizing the PCB houses do.

> Our PCB designer tells me it is error-prone (missing lines due to
> software bug or other issues) to do the panelizing by our PCB layout
> software (P-CAD here).

Wow... "missing lines due to software bugs" sounds to me as if a different
layout program would be recommended :)

Gerhard

2005\12\05@075220 by Gerhard Fiedler
picon face
Vitaliy wrote:

> I would like to use GerbMerge to panelize three different designs,
> unfortunately it's not something I would call intuitive. :-)
>
> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
> GerbMerge? I'm using Eagle 4.13 to produce the gerbers, if that makes
> any difference.

Any reason why you don't do it in Eagle, with the PCB designs, then create
a Gerber from the result? The advantage I see is that you (assumedly)
already know Eagle and how to work with it, so the probability of an error
seems lower.

Gerhard

2005\12\05@121310 by gacrowell

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu
> [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On Behalf Of Gerhard Fiedler
> Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 5:46 AM
> To: piclistspamKILLspammit.edu
> Subject: Re: [EE]: Using GerbMerge
>
> Chen Xiao Fan wrote:
>
> > Our PCB designer tells me it is error-prone (missing lines due to
> > software bug or other issues) to do the panelizing by our PCB layout
> > software (P-CAD here).
>
> Wow... "missing lines due to software bugs" sounds to me as
> if a different
> layout program would be recommended :)
>
> Gerhard


I'd wager that most CAD programs will have issues with merging different
board designs.  Conflicts with net names and reference designators,
mostly.  P-CAD doesn't pretend to be a CAM program.  

I've merged boards easily (albeit tediously; 12+ layer boards) in
CAM350.

Gary Crowell, CID+
Micron Technology

2005\12\05@125731 by Vitaliy

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face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>> I would like to use GerbMerge to panelize three different designs,
>> unfortunately it's not something I would call intuitive. :-)
>
> I found it reasonably intuitive

Some people think vi is intuitive. :) I wasn't able to find an alternative
to GerbMerge, so I am willing to learn.

>> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
>> GerbMerge?
>
> yes, I did it a few times.
>
> what's the problem?

Two gerbers and the layout2.cfg file are sitting in the c:\temp\gerbers
directory.

C:\temp\gerbers>gerbmerge layout2.cfg

<welcome message / warning>

Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "c:\python23\lib\site-packages\gerbmerge\gerbmerge.py", line 300, in
?
   config.parseConfigFile(args[0])
 File "C:\Python23\Lib\site-packages\gerbmerge\config.py", line 275, in
parseCo
nfigFile
   aptable.constructApertureTable(apfiles)
 File "C:\Python23\Lib\site-packages\gerbmerge\aptable.py", line 203, in
constr
uctApertureTable
   fid = file(fname,'rt')
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: './proj1.pls'

Am I missing an argument? Any help is appreciated!

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@130020 by Vitaliy

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face
"Chen Xiao Fan" wrote:
> I do not know much about PCB layout in general. But can
> the board house do the panelizing for you?

Sure they can, but it's going to more than double my cost.

> Our PCB designer
> tells me it is error-prone (missing lines due to software
> bug or other issues) to do the panelizing by our PCB
> layout software (P-CAD here). That is why we only provide the
> step-repeat value and the PCB board house will take care of
> panelizing following our panel requirement. We have the same
> step-repeat value in the coordinate list (krd file) for our
> in-house SMT machines.

This is for a personal project, of course at work we would not waste time on
a thing like this.

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@130238 by Vitaliy

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face
"Gerhard Fiedler" wrote:
>> I do not know much about PCB layout in general. But can the board house
>> do the panelizing for you?
>
> I think Vitaly wants to merge three different boards (possibly to take
> advantage of the fact that making four of one small board or four of a
> slightly bigger Gerber comprised of three boards is often the same price)
> rather than actually do the panelizing the PCB houses do.

That's exactly right. By the way, do you think Advanced Circuit would let me
do something like this?

https://www.33each.com/!33each1.asp

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@130449 by Vitaliy

flavicon
face
"Gerhard Fiedler" wrote:
>> Has anyone been able to panelize boards in Gerber 275X format using
>> GerbMerge? I'm using Eagle 4.13 to produce the gerbers, if that makes
>> any difference.
>
> Any reason why you don't do it in Eagle, with the PCB designs, then create
> a Gerber from the result? The advantage I see is that you (assumedly)
> already know Eagle and how to work with it, so the probability of an error
> seems lower.

Can't do it -- I've already hit the ceiling (Eagle Light). Otherwise, I
would have probably used panelize.ulp.

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@130808 by Vitaliy

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face
Gary Crowell, CID+ wrote:
> I'd wager that most CAD programs will have issues with merging different
> board designs.  Conflicts with net names and reference designators,
> mostly.  P-CAD doesn't pretend to be a CAM program.
>
> I've merged boards easily (albeit tediously; 12+ layer boards) in
> CAM350.

How much does CAM350 cost?

Are there any low-end CAM programs out there (preferably shareware), with a
price tag of <$100?

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@133612 by gacrowell

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face


{Quote hidden}

Sorry, didn't mean to imply that CAM350 was an answer to your problem,
its in the >$1000 range.  Its just what we use to merge gerbers, when
needed.

Gary Crowell, CID+
Micron Technology

2005\12\05@142752 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Vitaliy wrote:

>> I think Vitaly wants to merge three different boards (possibly to take
>> advantage of the fact that making four of one small board or four of a
>> slightly bigger Gerber comprised of three boards is often the same price)
>> rather than actually do the panelizing the PCB houses do.
>
> That's exactly right. By the way, do you think Advanced Circuit would let me
> do something like this?
>
> https://www.33each.com/!33each1.asp

Only they can tell, but if you send them the design as a single Gerber and
it fits (as a whole) their criteria, why not? After all, how you cut the
board afterwards is your business, and yours alone :)

Gerhard

2005\12\05@145029 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
part 1 813 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

> Two gerbers and the layout2.cfg file are sitting in the
> c:\temp\gerbers directory.

Says the one gerber file to the orther....

Sorry, I'll be serious.

> IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: './proj1.pls'

I don't use the extension .pls, afaik it is not the default extension
for one of the eagle-generated files. I assume that file is one of the
files for proj1? And that file is indeed in that directory? In that case
there is a problem. I use only absolute paths to find the project files,
see attached file. Maybe show your layout2.cfg file?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu



part 2 6849 bytes content-type:application/octet-stream; (decode)

part 3 571 bytes content-type:application/octet-stream; (decode)

part 4 35 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
(decoded 7bit)

2005\12\05@145205 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Only they can tell, but if you send them the design as a
> single Gerber and
> it fits (as a whole) their criteria, why not?

Some boardhouse simply refuse. One I use restricts the number of
different PCBs in a panel to 4. I talked to a rep once but could not
convince him that this limitation should be lifted.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\12\05@164511 by Vitaliy

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face
"Wouter van Ooijen" wrote:
>> Only they can tell, but if you send them the design as a
>> single Gerber and
>> it fits (as a whole) their criteria, why not?
>
> Some boardhouse simply refuse. One I use restricts the number of
> different PCBs in a panel to 4. I talked to a rep once but could not
> convince him that this limitation should be lifted.

I am afraid that Advanced Circuits are going to do the same thing:

"- 1 part number per order (extra $50 charge for multiple parts or step &
repeat applies)"

https://www.33each.com/!33each1.asp

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ask AC (which I will).

Also, when they say "maximum 60 sq. in.", what does that mean? Surely, they
won't let me do a 60" x 1"?

Sorry to be asking such simple questions. At work, we don't panelize our
designs, we don't even assemble the prototypes in-house anymore (more
economical to outsource).

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@170202 by Vitaliy

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face
"Wouter van Ooijen" wrote:
>> IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: './proj1.pls'
>
> I don't use the extension .pls, afaik it is not the default extension
> for one of the eagle-generated files. I assume that file is one of the
> files for proj1?

I have no idea where it gets proj1.pls. My project has a different name, and
the two gerbers both have the .gbr extention.

> And that file is indeed in that directory?

The gerbers are in the c:\temp\gerbers directory.

> In that case
> there is a problem. I use only absolute paths to find the project files,
> see attached file.

It looks like you use manual placement, too. I was trying the automatic
option.

> Maybe show your layout2.cfg file?

It's the default configuration file, fresh off the GerbMerge website.

I will take a look at your files tomorrow, to see if I can figure out what
I'm doing wrong. I think my problem at this point is that I don't understand
how the program works (the "big picture").

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\05@170807 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> Also, when they say "maximum 60 sq. in.", what does that mean?
> Surely, they won't let me do a 60" x 1"?

Maybe they will. You will have to ask.

> Sorry to be asking such simple questions. At work, we don't panelize
our
designs, we don't even assemble the prototypes in-house anymore (more
economical to outsource).

Have you considered http://www.olimex.com? You send them the .brd files, you
tell them how to arrange the PCBs within the two sizes (euro card and
quad euro card) they offer and they do the actual panelisation process
and they break the PCBs apart. I use word (!) to indicate how they must
arrange the PCBs, but you could use any tool you want, including a
pencil and a scanner. They don't give a damn how many different PCBs you
fit into a panel, and they will do very small PCBs (my other PCB house
has a 2 cm limit, but Olimex has no trouble with a panel full of 1cm x
1cm PCBs). But they do have some specific requirements in drill sizes
and silk screen line width, be sure to check that.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\12\05@173817 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I have no idea where it gets proj1.pls. My project has a
> different name, and the two gerbers both have the .gbr extention.

Two? I use 7 files for each PCB:

[DB003]
Name=/wouter/dwarf/eagle/gerber/DB003-2
*TopLayer=%(name)s.cmp
*BottomLayer=%(name)s.sol
*TopSilkscreen=%(name)s.plc
*TopSoldermask=%(name)s.stc
*BottomSoldermask=%(name)s.sts
Drills=%(name)s.drd
BoardOutline=%(name)s.bor

These lines are in your config file, and they define which files are to
be read by Gerbmerge. I had to change the various extensions, there does
not seem to be standard extensions for the various gerber and related
files.

> It's the default configuration file, fresh off the GerbMerge website.

That won't work. Eagle does not create the extensions the default config
file expects.

> I will take a look at your files tomorrow, to see if I can
> figure out what
> I'm doing wrong. I think my problem at this point is that I
> don't understand
> how the program works (the "big picture").

The config file specifies which files define a PCB and a few other rules
(like spacing between PCBs), the other file defines how the PCBs are to
be placed.

succes

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


2005\12\05@174930 by olin piclist

face picon face
Vitaliy wrote:
> That's exactly right. By the way, do you think Advanced Circuit would
> let me do something like this?

Maybe.  Many board houses that have low cost prototype deals specifically
say you're not allowed to panelize multiple designs.  Check with them first
or you may be wasting your time.  It may also be the case that a board house
that does let you panelize will charge more and you end up about the same.
Advanced Circuits does really nice work, but they also charge a lot.

I sortof remember the Olimex lets you panelize, but they are difficult to
deal with and have a lot of non-standard requirements.


******************************************************************
Embed Inc, Littleton Massachusetts, (978) 742-9014.  #1 PIC
consultant in 2004 program year.  http://www.embedinc.com/products

2005\12\05@181146 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Vitaliy wrote:

> Of course, the only way to know for sure is to ask AC (which I will).

Often there is one answer that you get when you ask, and another one that
is the average of the feedback when you try...

Gerhard

2005\12\05@182309 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Vitaliy wrote:

>> I think Vitaly wants to merge three different boards (possibly to take
>> advantage of the fact that making four of one small board or four of a
>> slightly bigger Gerber comprised of three boards is often the same price)
>> rather than actually do the panelizing the PCB houses do.
>
> That's exactly right. By the way, do you think Advanced Circuit would let me
> do something like this?
>
> https://www.33each.com/!33each1.asp

Only they can tell, but if you send them the design as a single Gerber and
it fits (as a whole) their criteria, why not? After all, how you cut the
board afterwards is your business, and yours alone :)

Gerhard

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