Translating Gerber RS274D Files to DXF

This page will demonstrate how to translate a Gerber RS274D File to DXF. RS274X files contain aperture definitions within the file. But, 274D files need to have the aperture definitions entered manually.

Say you've received a file and you're not sure if it's 274D or 274X. Let's examine the difference between these two files first.

Take the file you're unsure about, (for this demo we'll use the file called 272p-l1), and drag it into NotePad to open it. (See Below)

Here is our example file. Notice the D-Codes (highlighted), and the series of X,Y coordinates. However, next to the D-Codes there is no aperture information. Therefore, we can deduct that it is a RS274D file.

Below is another file we've opened in NotePad. Notice that this file has D-Codes with an aperture definition following it (highlighted). It also has a series of X,Y coordinates. Since the aperture info is included in the file, we can conclude that this is a RS274X file.

Now we'll start GBR2DXF and open our sample file 272p-l1. But, notice how the Select Gerber File menu does not show our file available in the directory where it's located.

The reason is because our sample file has no Gerber extension (.gbr, .art, .mda, etc...). So, in the section Files of Type: we must change the settings to All Files - Auto Detect (*.*).

Now the file is visible in the Menu. But, before opening it, Click on the Working Dir... button to make sure the working directory is the same as the one where the Gerber file is located.

This will open the Directory Menu. Click OK to reset the working directory. Now, select the file and press Open.

From the GBR2DXF Main Menu, Click on the Settings button to open the Settings Menu. Now we need to get some more information from our sample file. Most importantly, the Gerber Units and Format. Unfortunately, this information is not found in our sample file 272p-l1 when opened in NotePad. Fortunately, we were given an aperture file to go with it (since it is a RS274D file and no aperture info is available).

Let's open the sample aperture file 272p-l1.rep in NotePad. Notice above that this file was in the same folder as the Gerber file - C:\tmp.

This is our sample aperture file in NotePad. Notice the Mm / inch = mm. So, in the settings menu we have selected mm. However, the format information is not given. Therefore, we have to make some assumptions about the file. Most formats are usually 4.3, 4.4 or 4.5. Default settings for our program is 4.4, so lets try that and see what happens.

From the Settings Menu, click OK to continue.

Now we need to take the Aperture file displayed in NotePad, and manually enter the correct sizes of the corresponding D-codes into the GBR2DXF Aperture Menu. The reason for this is because the file is not written in Artwork's .APT format. If we scroll down to the photo data table section, we can get the aperture settings needed for the translation - (shown below).

As you can see, we've manually added all the aperture definitions to the Menu in GBR2DXF.

For clarity, we've shown all the D-codes in one menu. The user will have to scroll down the menu to enter each D-codes aperture separately.

Click OK to save the changes. Now, the Gerber file has an aperture file saved in Artwork's .APT format and we can proceed.

Before translating the file to DXF, let's look at it in GBRVU to see how it looks. From the GBR2DXF Main Menu, select the View Gerber Files option.

Looking at this file, it is obvious that there is a problem. The information is too dense and the circuit cannot be seen properly.

To get a better view, change the Fill to Outline and zoom in on a section of the drawing. You will notice that the flashes are much too large for the area.

Since we set the format in the Settings menu to 4.4 by guessing, it is safe to say that the drawing is 10 times too small. If we change the format to 4.3 (incresing the size by a factor of 10), this should solve the problem.

From the GBR2DXF Main Menu, Click on the Settings button to re-open the Settings menu. Change the format from 4.4 to 4.3 and press OK to save the changes.

Click on the View Gerber Files button again in the Main Menu to examine the drawing again in GBRVU.

Now you can see that the Gerber File looks accurate and is ready to be translated.

From the GBR2DXF Main Menu, Click on the Start Translation button. The translated DXF file will be placed in the same directory as the original Gerber and Aperture files, (i.e. The Working Directory).

You can now open the translated DXF file in AutoCAD for viewing and modifications.

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