GBRPLOT High Speed Plotting of Gerber Files


GBRPLOT is for designers and PCB design teams that need to make large checkplots of complex PC boards, MCMs and hybrid circuits. Unlike other plotting solutions, GBRPLOT does not convert your plot file to HPGL - it rasterizes the Gerber data directly on the workstation, and then sends the complete plot image directly to the plotter.

Most Gerber plotting solutions that claim to drive high end plotters, actually convert the Gerber data to HPGL. This is very inefficient for two reasons. First, you may need many HPGL strokes to fill each Gerber draw and flash. Second, the plotter will need to rasterize a very large HPGL file. Depending on the plotter's capabilities this could take a very long time, or even overflow the plotter's memory.


  • No limit on Gerber file size
  • 10X faster than running HPGL
  • Outputs TIFF, RTL and Postscript (PDF)
  • Supports custom apertures
  • Supports RS274X and RS274D

GBRPLOT breaks through these two bottlenecks by directly converting the Gerber vector data into the native language of the plotter. The raster data is compressed and sent directly to the plotter. The plotter's CPU does little or no work, and the plotter runs at its maximum rated throughput.

Batch Plotting

GBRPLOT was designed to reside on a print or plot server. Gerber files can be sent to the server via UNIX's plot spooler, rasterized, and then spooled to the output device. Alternately, the designer can run GBRPLOT on his own workstation and send the raster output to the printer via the spooler. How and where you run GBRPLOT depends on your distribution of computer resources.

The plotting engine is controlled by several resource files. Parameters that change from job to job are specified on the GBRPLOT command line. In most cases a printer is defined that uses GBRPLOT as an input filter.

Plotter Formats Supported

Vector Formats

HPGL HPGL2 Postscript
Recommended only for older pen plotter and interpreters that cannot support HPGL2. Uses a single pen to stroke out th areas. Not recommended for large Gerber file. Much more efficient than HPGL. Uses high-level commands for filled areas, line width and endtypes. Uses high-level commands for flashes. Fairly efficient but some interpreters may run out of memory when processing very large files.

Raster Formats

PCL is HP Laserjet's native bitmap format. A wide variety of laser printers emulate PCL. DPI up to 1200 and page size up to 11x17 is possible. Ideal for HP4MV, HP5 and deskside printers. RTL is HP's inkjet format. We support both color and bw. By sending a completely sorted and compressed bitmap to the printer/plotter the fastest possible output is achieved. We can support any page size and any resolution. TIFF (especially monochrome) is supported by many high end plotter's such as Calcomp's Solus. It is also supported by Xerox Serveware if you are running Serveware to support a Versatec.
PostscriptII CCRF Rastergraphic
We have a special formatter for raster Postscript (PSII). You can send this postscript file to Adobe Distiller and get a PDF file. Calcomp large format thermal, laser and electrostatics all read the CCRF (Calcomp Compressed Raster Format). we have a special formatter that creates raster files compatible with all Rastergraphics electrostatic plotters. Plotting from the native raster format is much faster than sending HPGL.

Platforms Supported

Solaris 2.8 and later
Linux RedHat
HPUX 9.05 and later

Download Page

Revision History

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