Eagle PCBTrain

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Eagle PCB -> PCBTrain Export Mini How-To


This Mini Howto explains how to export PCBs designed using Eagle PCB by Cadsoft into a format suitable for submission to PCBTrain, a division of Newbury Electronics. PCB Train is normally where we get our PCBs made externally, here at the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Nottingham, UK. Neither the author, the School nor the University endorses or otherwise any particular PCB manufacturer; this is just personally the one we use, and we know a lot of other people who use Eagle also do too.

The export process is very easy; this page mainly contains simple instructions, some configuration files (design rules and CAM jobs), and some simple shell scripts to make the export process easy. Note that the configuration files are applicable to all the architectures that Eagle supports (and to its credit, it supports Linux, Windows and Mac OSX at the time of writing); the shell scripts will only work in Linux, and possible OS X (though I haven't tried them). They are just for convenience, they are not obligatory.

It's also worth noting that CadSoft run a very active EAGLE Forum, which is actually a set of news groups in English and German. If you cannot find the answer to your question either here or in the manuals (click "Program", then "manual-eng.pdf" or "tutorial-eng.pdf") then joining and posting on the newsgroup is well worth a try.

The Export Process

  • Load the pcbtrain.dru design rules (on our (UoN) Linux systems you will find this in /home/share/eagle/local_dru/ otherwise right-click). Do this before you do any routing!
  • Once your design is complete, save it.
  • Start the CAM processor from the Board Layout File menu.
  • Open a Job... from the CAM Processor's File menu. On the Linux systems, the correct directory (beginning /eee/vlsi/eagle/...) will be displayed.
  • Depending on the PCBTrain process you want to use, choose from one of the following cam jobs:
    • pcbtrain_2_layer.cam
    • pcbtrain_2_layer_panelised.cam
    • pcbtrain_4_layer.cam
    • pcbtrain_4_layer_panelised.cam
    • pcbtrain_express.cam
  • Click Process Job. This will create a whole load of Gerber files, in a "cam/" subdirectory:
    • my_circuit.gtl - Component side (top layer) copper
    • my_circuit.gbl - Solder side (bottom layer) copper
    • my_circuit.gm1 - Board outline (mechanical)
    • my_circuit.gdd - Drill file
    • my_circuit.gto - Component side (top layer) silk screen (overlay)
    • my_circuit.gbo - Component side (bottom layer) silk screen (overlay)
    • my_circuit.gts - Solder side (top layer) solder stop mask
    • my_circuit.gbs - Solder side (bottom layer) solder stop mask
  • You now have all the files you need. You should zip them up in order to send them to PCBTrain.
  • You can check your design using a gerber file viewer such as gerbv.

Sending Your Design To PCBTrain

This is relevant only to members of EEE at the University of Nottingham - everyone else should go to [1] PCBTrain for information.

  • Create a department order form
    • The contact details for PCBTrain are here.
    • Put on a reference name for your circuit ("my_circuit" in the above example).
    • Calculate the price from the PCBTrain Pricing Table.
    • Get the form signed by someone who has authorisation.
  • Send PCBTrain an email, with your attached zip file (!), giving all the information that they require.
    • You could use something like this as a template.
    • CC EZ-Faculty-Orders@exmail.nottingham.ac.uk on the email
    • As soon as you have sent the email, take down the department order form to the Central Purchasing Office (B89 Coates) or emall them separately with the order form.
    • PCB Train will start to process your order when the department sends through the purchase order (usually 24 hours later).

Your PCB(s) will appear in Engineering Faculty Stores (L2) when it/they arrive.

Old page is at Steve's PCBTrain Export Mini HowTo.