9-27-2013 - Revision 3.4
- Discovered a situation where the
aperture files were in mills and the Gerber files were in
mm. This caused problems with the RS274D
--> RS274X function. Added a selection for aperture
file units to take care of this problem.
- Rewrote the function which parsed
lines from the aperture file. Should be more generic and
able to handle a broader range of formats.
UPDATED 7-19-2013 -
- Fixed bug related to measuring the outside dimensions of
the board. If the board did not have a square outline
the dimensions on the drill drawing could be wrong.
- Fixed bug related to multi layer pads with a 0 hole size.
- Fixed a bug where text was not always rendered with the
correct D code.
- Added code to limit the length of lines in the gerber file
when drawing text.
UPDATED 4-12-2013 - Revision 3.2
- Added option to print a board layer plot. This was
in response to request from a user.
UPDATED 2-25-2013 -
- Fixed a bug with power and ground plane layers. If
you draw any tracks on the power or ground planes, if you
wanted to create a split ground plane or multiple planes,
the tracks were not put in the Gerber files. All of
the normal power/ground plane elements were working
correctly. Plane files have a negative image flag.
UPDATED 9-15-2012 - Revision 3.0
This is a major re-write.
- Major improvement of how copper pours are handled.
- Minor cosmetic improvements.
UPDATED 8-29-2012 - Revision 2.9
I discovered two bugs, which have been fixed
in rev 2.9.
- When the pads are written to the Gerber file using D03,
GCPrevue was issuing a warning. Adding a D02 before
each XxxYxxD03 solves this issue. It did not cause any
issues with boards, it just caused GCPrevue to issue a
- When a track changed width the Gerber file could be
incorrect, causing a missing track on the board. This
would normally only happen if you layed down a track with
several segments, then went back and edited the width of a
UPDATED 1-31-2012 - Revision 2.8
Peter Wells from New Zealand discovered a bug in version
2.7. The solder mask was only enlarged on the top of the
board. This has been remedied in 2.8. In addition
there were issues in the poured fill function. The gerber
file could have been created with intersecting cut ins.
This error did not show up in any of the gerber viewers I tried,
but when I had boards fabricated at Advanced Circuits a large
area was covered in copper pour, which was not supposed the be
poured. The fill function has been corrected to prevent
intersecting cut ins, but I have not fabricated any more boards
using that function. This only occurred when using the
pours created by drawing a one mill line around the perimeter of
an area containing pads.
Cadcentric (Make RS274X
gerbers, external poured fills, and other utilities)
I also highly
recommend this online gerber viewer http://www.gerber-viewer.com/default.aspx
as it does the best job showing the poured fill errors.
Create RS274X gerbers
directly from Protel Autotrax .PCB file.
Cadcentric now completly replaces Traxplot and generates
RS274X gerbers, .GDD with dimentions, .TXT NC drill
files with embedded tool sizes AND external poured
fills! Also Creates .CSV BOM files.
- Rotate an entire PCB
PAD Array -
Create an array of pads
Cadcentric updated to
identify DRC errors in the PCB file.
I Recomend Tinycad as a great free open source
schematic capture program to use with Autotrax.
PADS to Protel Netlist converter
Cadcentric (Make rs274x gerbers from rs274d
gerbers, and other utilities)
This is a collection of utilites which I have created
as needed over the last 15 years.
- Cadcentric - creates a list of component positions, board
side, and rotation. I created this to generate
programming files for an assembly houses auto placement
equipment. All of the selections on cadcentrics main
form are for this function.
- PCB --> APT - This reads a PCB file, and generates a
list of apertures which TRAXPLOT can use to generate
gerbers. Be sure to set the soldermask oversize
setting before creating the apertures.
- MAT --> APT - This reads the .MAT file created by
TRAXPLOT and creates a neat, sorted aperture file (each
entry only listed once).
- GERBER --> XGERBER - This is the most usefull utility
in this program. This combines an aperture file, and
RS274D gerber file/s into one / many RS274X embedded
aperture gerber files.
- DRC --> PCB - Highlights DRC violations on the PCB.
- PCB --> XGERBER - Replaces Traxplot. Directly
generates RS274X gerbers from .PCB. Adds dimentions to
.GDD file. Embeds tool sizes in .TXT file.
Creates external poured fills by outlining the area to be
filled with a .001 trace.
NEW Added for version 3.0
This is a major re-write of the
x-Gerber generation code. I re-wrote the routine
which writes each Gerber element to the output file.
This greatly simplified the function, and seems to have
corrected some issues.
I also re-wrote how copper pours are created. The
old version used x-Gerber polygons, with cut outs for
pads. It did not support tracks inside of copper
pour areas. The new method writes all the the copper
pours as x-Gerber polygons, then creates a negative layer
in the same file to create room for pads and tracks.
Finally a third positive layer is added to the file with
the pads and tracks. You still define a copper pour
by drawing a border around it with a .001 track. Any
multilayer pad will be attached to the pours on both sides
of the board if either direct or relief is selected.
Thermals (reliefs) are handled as they should be.
Any surface mount pad "tagged to power" or "tagged to
ground" will be attached to the pour on that side of the
board with a thermal/relief. There is a new setting
in the choose PCB file screen to define the spacing
between pads/tracks and the surrounding copper pour.
In addition, the select PCB form popups now appear over
the form, instead of in the middle of the screen, and the
select PCB form remembers where it was last positioned.
This looks good in GC_Prevue, but I have not fabricated a
NEW Added for version 2.5
PCB --> XGERBER -
Directly generates RS274X gerbers from
Adds dimentions to .GDD file.
Embeds tool sizes in .TXT file.
Creates .CSV BOM reports.
Creates external poured fills by outlining
the area to be filled with a .001 trace.
Sample showing poured fill and
NEW Added for version 2.4
There is now a feature to read the DRC file generated by
Autotrax, and highlight the prblem areas in the PCB file.
Much easier than creating printouts and going to each XY
location to find the clearence violations.
This can be placed in a new pcb file, or added to the keepout
layer for the acutual design:
Here is an image showing a clearance violation:
I let autotrax generate a DRC file, then run the DRC --> PCB
Here is an image showing the highlights created on the keepout
And here is the combined
I will be adding online help for this program eventually.
This program has been
abandoned as there are better free options avalable
download PCB Rotator
This program will rotate an entire PCB.
The Sample shown here is the "bigdemo.pcb" sample supplied
with autotrax rotated 25 degrees.
This program is great if you need a rotated component.
1) Place the component you need by itself in a new pcb.
2) Rotate the new PCB with this program.
3) Block read the rotated PCB into your design and you have
a rotated component.
Of course, you can also rotate sections of your final
design, or the entire PCB.
1) Text strings are still horizontal or vertcle.
2) Square pads are still horizontal or verticle.
download PAD Array
This program generates an array of pads at any angle..
download Protel Arc Maker
download PADS to Autotrax Netlist