At 01:58 PM 6/14/2002 -0500, Jon Elson wrote:
>No, I didn't mean to import Gerbers into protel for work on the PCB, but
>to see whether Protel displays the incorrect info IN PROTEL.  This would make
>it a lot more meaningful to the Altium support people, if the error can be
>demonstrated completely within Protel.

Actually, Protel import, while the information would be valuable, is *not* 
the best check of file accuracy. CAMtastic is much, much better for this. 
If RS-274X output is used, it is almost one-button to bring all the gerbers 
into CAMtastic, and only a few seconds more to bring in the *drill* 
information.

Yes, the CAMtastic user interface is a bit of a pain to learn, if you want 
to use it to edit gerber, but for inspecting the boards one pretty much 
only needs to know how to enable layers and to zoom in and out (the + and - 
keys, which also recenter on the cursor, so it is very quick to move in and 
out and around).

>   I always check my Gerber files
>by importing back into Protel, and catch a number of common mistakes
>in setting up apertures, hole sizes, board outline and plot legends, etc.
>I do this mostly because it is the fastest way to check the Gerbers.

Unfortunately, it does not really check the gerbers, because Protel made 
mistakes in gerber implementation, and Protel might well repeat these 
mistakes in the other direction. The most famous one is the incorrect 
implementation of octagonal pads. (I forget if this one looks okay on 
import.) An independent gerber viewer, particularly the kind of CAM program 
that a fabricator might be using, is much better.

There is one problem with CAMtastic, however. The resolution is limited. 
Not a problem until one is working with pretty small dimensions, however. 
If one really needs high accuracy, in the submil region, I'd be sure to 
verify the viewer. Protel does better on this, it does not break down until 
the microinch region.




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