What gerber viewer do you use and why?

in utilities by DP | 22 comments

It’s always a good idea to review your PCB gerber files before committing them to the PCB fabrication house. We use ViewPlot to check our PCBs, what software to you use and what are the common errors you look for? Leave your comments here, or join the discussion in the forum.

We review the gebers for any problems that might have happened in the export process. It’s not an in-depth check, that happens in the CAD program, this is just a quick verification.

  • Missing solder pads – problems with the footprint, the solder pad is sometime buried by mask
  • Drill problems – drills outside board or flipped
  • Silk problems – CAM didn’t export expected silkscreen layers

Eagle3D and EagleUp have become an important part of our board pre-flight too. A clear 3D rendering of the PCB instantly highlights silk problems and potential part placement issues.

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Comments

  1. Devlin says:

    The FOSS gerbv is what I’ve used for a while. When I was at SparkFun’s BatchPCB, they used gerbv’s libraries to render gerber files on the site. A couple of years ago, I wrote up a to use gerbv to look at and even edit a gerber file.

  2. embeddederic says:

    I’ve been using Viewmate from PentaLogix for close to 8 years now. It is free and pretty easy to use.

  3. kiran says:

    I used KiCAD to open gerber files. For my next PCB I will use KiCAD for designing also.

  4. David says:

    Even though I use KiCAD for creating my layouts I prefer using GEDA’s Gerbv to check the gerbers. Works quite nicely.

  5. JBeale says:

    At work we use PentaLogix ViewMate which is a free download (but not open). That’s not to say it’s necessarily the best, if you want to edit your gerber (which should probably never be done) you have to buy an upgraded tool. I only just became aware of the free/open gerber viewers; the one that comes in KiCad seems capable.

  6. Sjaak says:

    I just use an online viewer to check the gerbers. I use it mainly for spotting silkscreen errors.

    http://www.circuitpeople.com

  7. Shaos says:

    I’m using gerbv for a few years already (at least since 2005)
    Last version even has an ability to remove something from gerbers ;)

  8. Arup says:

    GerberLogix. : Free for non-commercial use

  9. Chris M. says:

    Viewmate or CAM 350 for me.

  10. rsdio says:

    What about a free .CAD file viewer? Assembly shops usually want a .CAD file, which Eagle can produce using gencad.ulp, but I’ve had a few problems and would like to double-check the files before sending them out.

  11. zofz says:

    Please try mine:
    http://www.zofzpcb.com, if you have real 3D graphics hardware.
    Youtube preview: http://youtu.be/RbRanKRQP5A

  12. Destate9 says:

    What an epic video!

  13. cuagn says:

    Probably it’s not really the good place for this question related to Gerber.
    But the thread is active again… Let me hope an answer!

    I’ve already asked this question somewhere, but I didn’t receive any operational answer (just the one like “Google is your friend…”)

    I’ve an HPGL plotter good enough to plot PCB. I’ve already used it in the past with PCB (outdated now) tools and the result was good enough.

    Eagle doesn’t enable a HPGL output.

    However I’m quite sure that someone, somewhere has written a good Gerber to HPGL translator.
    At least for basic PCB this may be fine for prototyping.

    Does somebody have successfully tried a such converter? Wich one?

    thank you

    Marc

  14. Filip says:

    Hi Marc, sorry I haven’t tried it, but I have a suggestion, you could stat a new topic in the forum, under general discussions, it should stay active (in the face of people) for longer then this post, someone might turn up that did try it out.

  15. Mary says:

    I started with Numerical Innovations free Gerber Viewer – DFM Now! and then found out they had a full CAM tool that does everything I need. The pro version is called FAB 3000 Professional. This helped me out alot!
    http://www.numericalinnovations.com/pages/fab-3000-compare-features

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