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Old 27th January 2003, 08:58 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont
Question zen v4 gerber file edit?

newbie question:

recently on another forum i ran across this offer for free PCB's from advanced circuits.

having become previously interested in pass's zen amp v4, the wheels started turning. so, i downloaded the amp's gerber files, and i could just go ahead and send them to the company and get 3 boards made. fine enough.

however, since the offer allows for 150 square inches, i'd love to tile the amp PCB 6 to a board, or at least 4, and use the extras for experimentation and/or practice. i would most definitely not resell them. i'm not sure if advanced circuits will accept tiled boards, but i don't see why not.

i've researched several PCB editing softwares, and nothing i've come across (in terms of free demos anyway) allows me to import gerber files and edit/copy them.

does anyone see a solution for me? is this a difficult problem i'm trying to solve? any suggestions are appreciated.



ps - i couldn't see anything in the forum guidelines to suggest this was inappropriate, but if anyone feels this line of inquiry is not kosher, please feel free to take action. to my knowledge the zen gerber files are offered to the public, i.e. i can reproduce as many as i want for personal use...?
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Old 27th January 2003, 11:06 PM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: CA
Even if you have them make only 3 they're still going to put
at least 6 or 8 on a panel before they run it through the shop,
depending on what size panel they use. They will just keep
the extras. They call it overage. The only thing is they will
no doubt charge you for any extras, but the price may be negotiable.
If you step and repeat your own array then you
will have to at least have them scored to get them apart, as
they will only fab out the array and ship it as one board.
The scoring would certainly be extra, not to mention using
breakaway holes or something.
Besides they will know what's up as soon as they see what
your trying to do.
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Old 28th January 2003, 06:05 PM   #3
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont
good news--i talked to the rep from Advanced Circuits, and they can do what i'm asking as part of their promo! basically, their offer is for $150 worth of work...the prototype board is $33 each, and the step-and-repeat is $50, so that's the $150 right there.

basically all i'll be paying for is the shipping.

pretty cool deal, i think.

HOWEVER, the one condition they had is, i need to provide the gerbers already arrayed the way i want. which brings me back to my original question - who knows where i can find a tool to edit gerbers to panelize the original?

or even better (for me anyway ), would anyone here be able to do this easily, and post or email the new gerber files? my appreciation would be extreme.

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Old 28th January 2003, 07:03 PM   #4
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: CA
That is not easily done with layout software.
The fab shop usually does it with Valor Genesis or Lavenir
CAM software. To do a simple six up array to be scored
apart takes about 30 seconds to do with Genesis.
Maybe another 30 seconds to create a score program.

If you can get the fab shop to do it for you,
you will have to supply them with an array drawing
sent in along with the standard fab drawing.
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Old 29th January 2003, 12:56 AM   #5
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont
I may be getting really close to a solution.

and Gerbtool might be it.

Once I get a 7-day evaluation license, I'll know for sure. It certainly looks like Gerbtool will do the panelization for me - either as an array copy, or as a 'virtual' step-and-repeat. And it will let me export Gerber files. SWEET.

Feels good when the sweaty research pays off...

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Old 29th January 2003, 10:45 PM   #6
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont


I just placed my order for 3 boards, each containing 6 panels of the pcb.

I most heartily recommend GERBTOOL for your Gerber file wrangling pleasure. They have a FREE fully-functional 7-day evaluation demo.

The promo value at Advanced Circuits is $150. I ordered 3 boards at $33ea, and the step-repeat charge was $50. So, all I will be paying is $15 shipping.

That's less than $1 per pcb.

weu heu!
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Old 1st March 2003, 07:23 PM   #7
SlouGan is offline SlouGan  Canada
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Toronto

Did u finally get your promo pcbs? How do they look like? I saw the site that there promo is still going on until the end of march...don't know if you can attach your zenv4 gerber file or not because i am also interested in making one, thanks
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Old 1st March 2003, 07:51 PM   #8
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: piedmont
hi slougan -

yes, got 'em a few weeks ago. they look great, to my untrained eyes. haven't had a chance to stuff them - i'm looking for heatsinks right now. i'm gonna make the Ultimate Frugalphile Penultimate Zen Amp. (anyone with leads on really cheap heatsinks of appropriate size, let me know.)

they even credited the shipping for me, so my order was totally free. ...i'm already ahead of the game.

anyway, as for the gerber files - gerbtool is really pretty simple to use - but you have to use the fully functional eval copy in order to save or export, which means you install the download and then email in a request for an evaluation code to enter in. not a big deal, just takes a little patience.

then you open the gerber files from PassLabs using the import wizard. figure out how to do a 'virtual step-and-repeat' using the correct board size (which is written in the txt file included from PassLabs). then, save/export out as gerber files. you have to do a second save/export to make the drill file.

easy! i did all the figuring out, all you gotta do is a little legwork.

best regards,
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