I found this message I had missed while I was travelling last year. I think 
the matter was left in a less than satisfactory state....

At 03:09 PM 12/19/00 -0800, Brad Velander wrote:
>         Thanks for your input. I will have to look at possibly using the
>mechanical layers and see how that will fit in my layer assignments. Not the
>best solution because it would utilize another layer for only Target use but
>at least there's now more then 4 of them.

For informal projects, I put targets on Mech 1, which I have called the 
"Outline" layer, since I place a board outline there. Anything else which 
is to appear on all plots, such as the name of the board, etc., is placed 
on that layer, and I set up the gerber to plot Mech 1 on all layers. No 
additional layer is needed. For an informal fabrication drawing, any notes 
are placed on the Drill Drawing layer, as well as dimensions. Sometimes 
I've seen dimensions on the Outline layer, but I don't consider them 
necessary there...

For more formal projects, I assign Mech 2 to a Format layer; it contains 
the drawing format, title block, etc. Mech 3 then becomes an Assembly layer 
and Mech 4 a Fabrication layer. Mech 3 and 4 are plotted with Mech 2 on all 
films instead of Mech 1.

I typically import to a scratch PCB, and then copy to the design, the Drill 
Drawing gerber to Mech 4, and I import Top Overlay and Top Padmaster plots 
to Mech 3. For Bottom Assembly, I mirror the Bottom versions of those plots 
and place them next to the normal view. These plots will include the Mech 1 
info; I typically delete all of it except for the actual board outline

I know that one service bureau, at least, has automated the process of 
making formal drawings, but I don't do so many of them that I have felt 
pushed to do so....

While I lobbied fairly hard for Protel to add Mech layers, I don't recall 
having actually used one. In theory, it's really great to have these extra 
layers, and for complex projects it is practically essential (or more 
cumbersome workarounds could be used), but those complexities simply have 
not appeared on my desk since 99SE gave us the new layers.

Abdulrahman Lomax
P.O. Box 690
El Verano, CA 95433

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