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8688 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Aug 22, 2014 1:44 AM by MidnightArrakis RSS
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May 12, 2014 4:06 PM

Gerber file, pcb building, component mounting

Can anyone recommend a company or companies to create a Gerber file, make pcb's for surface mount, and mount components?

  • LanceLK Novice 42 posts since
    Apr 4, 2014
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 14, 2014 9:16 AM (in response to TedOlsen)
    Gerber file, pcb building, component mounting

    Hey Ted,


    It sounds like you're looking at some sort of turnkey operation.  So, you have the schematic and layout done and you want someone to take that file and give you back a populated board?


    Most PCB manufacturing and assembly shops that I've dealt with still require you to generate the gerbers but that's a pretty simple process once you've done it once and I know that there are shops out there that accept your design file as is. 


    A quick search for turnkey popped up Screaming Circuits and CapTron, you could start looking there.


    Hope this helps.  -Lance

  • MidnightArrakis Novice 2 posts since
    Aug 22, 2014

    Ted: Since you asked your question over 3-months ago, I am assuming that you have everything under control by now, right??? But, if not, here's my 2-cents:


    First, you will need at least two different sets of data files. The first set will be the GERBER files used to create the films necessary for the fabrication of the PCB. The second set is called "Excellon N/C Drill Data" files. This file tells the fabricator not only where to drill all of the holes in the PCB, but also "what size" the holes need to be. Both the GERBER and the N/C Drill files are generated from CAD PCB design software. While on the one hand, generating these files is not difficult.....on the other hand, you need to have the PCB design software configured correctly so your output files come out like you were hoping they would. As an example, imagine that you have a pad for a "Thru-Hole" resistor set at 0.080" in diameter (i.e. 80-mils). Then you have the drill size for this pad set to 0.105" in diameter (i.e. 105-mils). Well, just ended up drilling away your pad and now there is nothing left to solder to!!! other words, you have to know what you are doing and you need to have your PCB design program setup correctly in order to get the correct output files.


    Your PCB CAD software will also need to generate different types of "Report" files, in some cases, a different "report" file for both the TOPSIDE and BACKSIDE of the PCB, should there be surface-mount components on both sides of the PCB. These "report" files gives the PCB assembly company the machine-readable X / Y coordinates of where all of the parts are located. One item that usually needs to be setup here is whether you want the component coordinates to be read at "Pin-1" or at the "Centroid" of the part. Your choice.


    Personally, I have used a company called "Advanced Circuits" located in Colorado for lots of my prototype and small production run PCB fabrication AND assembly. You can reach them at: www ** 4pcb ** D0T c0m (remove the ** and just make it read right, OK???).


    If you still are unsure on how to go all about this, contact me and let me know which PCB design software program you are using and I will try and help you out. If you are lucky, you just might have one of the programs I have and I could generate what you need for you. If all that you have are the GERBER and N/C Drill data files, then send me those files, as I have a special program which can read in both of those files together and it "makes sense" out of these files. It really does work!!!


    Good Luck!!!






    midnight_blue_designs (AT) YaH00 D0T c0m



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