Combining multiple plots on one page


hope this is not too off topic. I’m manufacturing my PCBs myself (the usual DIY way). Right now, everything works splendidly; I plot my F/B copper/mask plots to separate PDFs, print them on a good laser, and all goes well.

One small issue remains: per double-sided board, even for a small one, I use 4 pages of special sheets. It’s not so much about their price, but the ecology guy inside me screams when I waste 4 pages even if I use only 5x5 cm on each for small projects. I don’t want to cut the page down before printing because I’m afraid it gets lost or snags up in the big office Xerox I use to print - getting that damaged or in need of opening it up would not be appropriate.

Scissors aside, the optimum solution would be to get all 4 plots on one single page, provided they fit (and they always do, for my projects). One print, all done, world ressources and Xerox saved.

How, though? KiCad always prints one thing per page, as far as I can tell. There are plenty of hits when googling for “combining PDFs”, but all those tools do something else - they either overlay/stack the parts (as for adding a watermark, for example); or they resize the input pages and combine 2 or 4 on a page - scaled down and thus unusable, of course.

Do you know a way to combine the up to 4 plots of KiCad into a single page? I don’t mind how - it can be through the PDF plot or through some external Gerber=>PDF converter or something like that which is able to plot all that stuff on a single page.

Thanks in advance!

I think you could use gerbmerge (python script) to combine gerbers, then export from gerbv to PDF.

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I might try gerbmerge, @bobc, thank you.

Meanwhile, I played around with OpenOffice with its PDF import plugin - no go, it kind of works but butchers the graphics quite substantially.

Then I gave GIMP a go, that one looks promising. It can import PDF, you can specify the DPI; I chose 600 (same as the printer) and was easily able to combine a few different input documents on one page. I’ll have to experiment with whether the scale turns out fine when exporting it.

Inkscape has good pdf support. (And it keeps the vector nature of the pdf.)
Gimp and other raster image programs are a no go here.

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