Gerber PCB Import
What is Gerber PCB Import?
Gerber data describes PCB artworks, including conductors, solder masks, and drill data. Whatever other data you have, this format is the bottom line for fabrication, and it is usually available for reference design data.
The beauty of Gerber PCB import in eCADSTAR is the way it seamlessly and intelligently merges artworks with your PCB designs. Gerber data is instantly transformed into intelligent eCADSTAR design data. Shapes become tracks and pads. Nets are automatically assigned as you place components. You can even add components and nets in PCB Editor and back-annotate the connectivity to your schematic. The choice is yours.
Many reference circuits are available in Gerber format, like this DC-to-DC Buck Regulator circuit. These circuits are super layout-critical and the device manufacturer has supplied tested reference layouts to help you out. Re-using that layout cuts the risk of unreliable production hardware.
eCADSTAR is designed to make this kind of re-use easy. Here is an example.
In PCB Editor, import the artworks onto drawing layers. At this stage, they are still just artworks.
Now, with a single click, move artworks to PCB. This one goes on the top layer. Now these shapes are intelligent design data. You can move or edit them, just like any other data in eCADSTAR, even in 3D.
No net information yet, but simply place components that are present in the schematic on transformed artwork and the nets are assigned automatically.
We could equally have done this in reverse, adding the components and nets in PCB Editor and back-annotating them to the schematic. Artworks are physical data and some engineers prefer to work that way, while some want to start with a complete schematic. You can even use just part of an artwork, if, for example, you want to supply input power to the regulator device from a different kind of connector or component. Again, the choice is yours, to give you the most possible re-use opportunities.
Gerber PCB import is incredibly efficient and easy to use. It is one of the most subtle, but also one of the most powerful, capabilities of eCADSTAR for the reuse of designs (even if Gerber data is all you have).