What gerber viewer do you use and why?

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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26 Comments

    1. Another +1 to gerbv here too. I feel it’s quite easy for a novice user to use, especially if it’s just to check the gerber export files.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. I prefer ZofZ 3D gerber viewer, because I can rotate and what not. But I do wish that it trimmed anything outside the board outline. I am doing a PCB with castellated vias, and the pads stick out past the outline.

  3. 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 I’ve already used it in the past with PCB (outdated now) tools and the result was good enough.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

    1. FAB 3000 Professional from Numerical Innovations imports Gerbers and can export to HPGL…You could give them a try

  4. 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.

  5. Be aware of Viewmate on the Pentalogix website. You first have to register by giving an awful lot of personal details, next you get a link to a “broken” ftp directory. Looks more like a scam to collect email addresses and personal data ?!?!

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