An overview of Gerber and its relevant formats

Do you have Gerber Format file and you do not know what it is? Or you want to convert it into any other useful data type? If yes, then keep reading this article. Before you proceed with the Gerber format conversion, you must first be aware of what this file type is and where you can use it. Here, we will take a look at the format.

Gerber Format

Files with .gbr extension are open ASCII vector format files. These are the 2-dimensional binary images that are used for the PCB software. It helps in describing the pictures, copper layers, mask, etc. for the printed circuit board. The data fabrication is done in this format.

The PCBs are mostly designed in the EDA or CAD systems (electronic design automation or computer aided design). These software outputs the data that you use for the manufacturing of these boards. There are two main categories or what you can refer to as generations of the Gerber Format. Below, we will put some light on these.

Extended Gerber

The first one we are going to talk about is the extended Gerber. People that use it in the professional circuit may know it as the RS-274X. The extension was mainly done in 2014 for the graphics as it allows for the addition of meta-information to the graphical items. The files that come with the attribute are listed as the X2 files while the ones that come without it goes under the category of X1.

Standard Gerber

The standard format of this file type is known as the RS-274-D. It is an old form and was revoked. Right now, considering the fact that it was withdrawn, and by looking at the standards of Gerber format specification, you can say that it is no longer a Gerber format.

Relevant formats

If you consider converting the .gbr file into any other appropriate format, here are a few that you may find useful.

IPC

The IPC-D-350C is a format which was specified by Printed Board Description in Digital Format back in 1989. It was said to be complying with the standards of IED 61182-1. However, the tag was withdrawn back in 2001. It is not commonly used.

DXF

Another format that is relevant to Gerber is the DXF format. One can use it for the construction of drawings. The PCB objects tend to get lost, and it makes the DXF format terrible to use particularly considering the CAM.

PDF

PDF is another format which is rarely used when you consider transforming the Gerber files into other file types. The issue is same that PCB objects get lost when you use this format.

Other formats

The other formats include DPF, ODB++. GenCAM IPC-2511A and IPC-2511B, Offspring IPC-2581, and STEP AP210.

Conclusion

So, this is an overview of Gerber Formats and the ones that are relevant to it. Before you make the gerber format conversion, ensure that the format you are going to convert the file into is useful. Also, make it certain that the software you use for file conversion is trustworthy and it does not impact the performance of the file.