Visualizing PCB revisions using a Gerber viewer

gerber_schematic_highlighting

We all know that Eagle has its share of shortcomings. Instructables user [westfw] was particularly annoyed by the fact that while Eagle keeps copies of up to 10 revisions of your board, it cannot open those files without resorting to manually renaming each one. Even more frustrating to him is the fact that you can’t use Eagle to view two files simultaneously in order to compare layouts. This made hunting down changes quite tedious, so he started looking for a better way to do things.

While using his favorite open-source gerber viewer gerbv, he noticed that the application let him load multiple copies of the same layer, XORing the PCBs’ colors together. Realizing that with some clever color selection, he could use gerbv to automatically highlight layout differences, he set off to automate the process.

The resulting script works on any flavor of *nix, and should play nice in Windows under cygwin as well. The script reads through Eagle backup files, renaming them and tweaking the colors so that when XORed, they show up as bright red areas in gerbv. It’s a simple yet handy tool to have on hand if you happen to do a lot of PCB design.

Look at Your Gerber Files with Gerbv

gerbv_with_loaded_gerber_files

Tired of making kindergarten macaroni art PCBs? Check your Gerber files before you send them off to a fab house with a Gerber file viewer. Viewplot , GerbTool’s Viewer , and FAB 3000 Free DFM are all free versions of for-pay software to view your Gerber files. If you use Windows and demo software, these are nice options. If not, you can use gerbv. Allied with gEDA, Gerbv is free, open source software that you can use to view all of your RS-274X Gerber files and Excellon-type drill files. Still being worked on with an active development group, gerbv does not have all the bells and whistles, it does have the ability to delete objects. Check it out after the break. [Read more...]