Welcome! You have made it to the PCB panelizer & Gerber tool suite page!
BEFORE YOU SEND ME A MAIL ABOUT MISALIGNED DRILLHOLES: ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU ARE USING CAM FILES SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR VERSION OF EAGLE. ALMOST ALL DRILL ERRORS ARE CAUSED BY USING EAGLE 6.X CAM FILES WITH EAGLE 7.X – see here for more information.
There are some odd edgecases left in the interpretation of advanced macro constructs in the gerber loading code which make it not entirely safe to just “fire and forget” the merger yet – ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OUTPUT.
Some notes on using the beta:
- There is a doc included with some workflow explanation
- Lots of commandline tools are included if you need any of the functionality outside of the GUI. (each tool SHOULD give a small explanation when started without arguments – if not, please tell me where I left stuff out)
- All the commandline things seem to work on mono (so linux/mac are covered)
- The panelizer GUI and 3d viewer tools are currently mostly windows unless you replace the openTK dll with the mono version.. then it might just work as well.
- The process of building a panel mostly boils down to:
- 1 board per folder (all gerbers) – things are merged by file extension later, so you can for instance add a logo silk layer AND your general silk layer in the same folder, this will be merged. (this is how the procedural art gets merged in too)
- Only export the board outline in the GKO layer.. make sure the other gerbers do NOT have the outline, this might mess up the paneling!
- Make sure your boards dont actually overlap your own outline. the merger does not cut-to-outline, so if you have something sticking out significantly, it might end up on a neighbouring board. (I sometimes use this to do panelwide artwork or fiducials or frame decoration or other panel tricks)
- After the beta + some refactoring, I’ll open up the source and let the community take a shot at everything.
- Some notes on adding tabs:
- Press T to drop a tab under the cursor.
- For 1.6mm thick boards, 3 or 4mm radius tabs are sufficient.
- 1 tab might be too fragile.
- More than 2 for a small board will make it hard to separate boards.
- Try to keep break-axis aligned for easy breaking if you have more than 2 tabs.
- For larger boards, try adding about 1 tab for each 3cm of edge.
- Some extras are included:
- Rightclick on a board instance to get art-generation options. These build an extra silkscreen gerber that will be merged in to your original silkscreen layer during the merging stage.
If you enjoy this tool and make something pretty/functional with it – please send pictures (or actual pcbs! even nicer!) for on the not-rocket-science hall of fame 🙂
Witte de Withstraat 20hs
The source code for all these tools can be found on our Github page, here.