Pcb File Conversions

Written by Adam Blau
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As the circuits for electronics devices become more and more complex, it has increasingly become the norm for designers and inventors to use computer-aided design (CAD) programs. These applications allow designers to experiment easily with different connections and component configurations. Some more advanced CAD applications even have onboard testing features that allow users to simulate and gauge various situations (including current flow and heat emanation).

CAD Programs and PCB File Conversion

Fortunately for designers of electronics, it is possible to use these CAD specs and plans to create the actual printed circuit boards (PCBs). Companies that fabricate PCBs are often able to import these files directly into their systems, using the original design file to create a real-world PCB. The computers at the PCB fabrication company read the CAD file and instruct the machines to create the various parts, drill the proper holes, and etch the board in a particular way.

There are, however, many different types of CAD programs on the market today. Because of the wide variety of manufacturers, there are several different native formats in which CAD files are rendered, including Gerber, Ivex, Protel and Eagle. These formats don't speak freely with one another, and not all of them are read by PCB manufacturing companies.

Fortunately, there are some translation applications available that will enable you to convert CAD files from one format into another. These can be found on the Web in a wide variety of feature sets. Some PCB manufacturing companies may even perform the file conversion for you for a small extra fee.


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