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If you’ve never sent a circuit board off for manufacturing, you might not be aware of the different types of files a manufacturer requires to create your board. Manufacturers need Gerber, Excellon, and NC Drill files as these files contain all the information your fabricator needs to print conductive elements, place vias and tooling holes, and build your layer stack. With many design programs, including desktop design programs, you’ll need to work with a number of different programs just to generate these important deliverables from your design files.
When you work with the right browser-based design software, you’ll be able to generate Gerber files and other deliverables directly from your design data without importing your data into another program. Instead of working with a separate set of programs, Upverter includes the tools you need to generate deliverables for your manufacturer in standard formats, and all within an easy-to-use browser-based interface.
What are Gerber Files?
Gerber files are a standard file format that manufacturers use to define copper pours and conductive elements on each layer of your board. These files come in standard formats, with the Gerber X2 being the most recent version of these critical deliverables. This file format also contains the locations of impedance-controlled traces, definitions of different layer functions, and much more.
Other Important Manufacturer Deliverables
Aside from Gerber files, you will need to send your manufacturer a bill of materials and a pick-and-place list in order to expedite automated assembly. If your PCB contains mounting holes and vias, you will need to send your manufacturer drill files so that they can input these files as instructions into CNC machines.
- The right browser-based design package will allow you to move through the entire PCB design process and onto full-scale production.
- If you’re part of a startup company or an entrepreneur, you can keep costs down when you optimize your board and your bill of materials for your manufacturer.
Learn more about optimizing for DFM with Upverter.
- Before moving on to full-scale production, you’ll need to create prototypes of your device. You’ll go through a number of design, build, and test iterations to get your design just right.
PCB and its printed Gerber mask
Design, Build, Test, Repeat
Successfully creating a production-grade PCB from start to finish will inevitably require several iterations of designing, building, and testing your new device. Once you’ve finished your design, you’ll need to order prototypes from a short-run manufacturer and test them against your performance standards. This process of updating your design and repeating the process is much easier when you work with the right browser-based design software. You’ll have greater ability to collaborate with team members while still having the ability to generate the deliverables your manufacturer needs to create your new device.
Preparing for Manufacturing with Online Collaboration
Complex designs can be difficult to optimize for production, but working with online design software makes collaboration easy. You’ll have control over successive versions of your design and full view of all edits made to your design. Upverter’s design, prototyping, and production tools make collaboration seamless.
- Panelizing your board is just one of many aspects involved in preparing for a successful manufacturing run and maximizing board yield.
Learn more about panelization in browser-based design.
- Browser-based software does more than just improve collaboration. Your team will have access to the online Gerber viewer and generator you need to create deliverables for your manufacturer.
- Once you receive your prototype, you’ll need to thoroughly check your board before running your first live tests in the field.
Editing a bill of materials in Upverter
The Value of Browser-Based Design Software
Not all online design software is created equal. The right browser-based design software will include a full suite of tools to take your idea from schematic to finished product in a single interface. The online tools you need should be present in a single window without the need to incorporate external tools. Online access to a full suite of design tools improves collaboration and productivity.
Upverter: The Only Fully Browser-based Design Platform
When you use Upverter, you’ll have access to all the design features you need to create a complete design in a single browser-based application. Other design tools only offer limited functionality, forcing you to choose multiple tools just to create a new design, and you won’t have access to an online Gerber viewer or generator. With Upverter, you can take a single design all the way to production with a single program.
- Upverter’s online PCB design editor includes schematic design tools, a huge component database, 3D design tools, and tools to prepare your design for production. Learn more about Upverter’s online PCB editor.
- Upverter’s comprehensive suite of tools takes you through the entire design process. You’ll be able to easily design and modify prototypes, source components, and generate deliverables for your manufacturer. Learn more about the design process in Upverter.
- Members of the Upverter community can easily share their designs as open-source projects under a Creative Commons license. You’ll have access to these projects at any time. Take a look at the open source projects on Upverter.
Upverter has taken the time to nurture a vibrant community of designers and wants you to interact with the community on their forum. The easy-to-use design tools, huge number of open source projects, and vibrant community of experienced designers make Upverter the ideal choice for hobbyists, startups, and entrepreneurs to produce their next great electronic product.