Component footprints not visible on imported Gerbers (cannot export)


I am having issues importing and exporting Gerbers as elements seem to not be visible on copper layers. I was provided by Gerbers from another software in order to edit the Silkscreen. This went fine however I noticed an issue with Cu 6.

  • It looks like this in the Gerber viewer prior to import.
  • However when imported into the PCB editor (using the export tp PCB editor option) the internal elements (mounting holes, comonents, etc) are no longer visible.
  • In addition, it seems that the elements which are no longer visible are still present – I can view and select them

I am a new user and as such cannot upload the 3 images corresponding to the points above, please see them on at this google drive link.

Apart from this the Gerber export was perfect, just not sure how to clear up this issue – from my understanding this is due to KiCad not supporting layers with multiple colors? How could I ensure that the exported gerbers contain the component footprints?

Thank you,

This is the expected / normal behavior. Objects like footprints and holes do not exist in gerber files (The holes are in a separate drill file). Because of this, all the pads of footprints will also just be separate copper elements. It also depends on the the software that created the gerber files. With some old software it was common to “paint” areas and pads by drawing a lot of overlapping track segments.

There is some more info in the topic below.

What would you recommend in order to produce Gerber files that best approximate the originals? My thoughts are in creating new layers (ex. CU 6b) that contain the areas and pads in the same project and exporting them together (so the actual number of layers is the same but we preserve the pads).

If this is your goal:

Then I would probably first put as much of the Gerber files back into a PCB project as is “easily doable”. Then modify the silkscreen layer(s), generate a new set of gerber files, and combine the silk screen layers form the new set of gerber files with the copper (and holes) from the old set of gerber files.

For the rest, it depends on how much modification you want to do on the silkscreen. If you just want to add some texts, then add some texts. The back-imported texts are probably just separate line segments, and no texts at all. You can just leave them as they are. Or you could for example import the silkscreen from the gerber files into a (graphical) user layer, and just use it as a reference to create a new silkscreen layer. You can also move parts of it back from the user layers to the silkscreen layers.

When you want to combine files from different sets of gerber files, then make sure the offsets are correct. It is also untested. Maybe this does not work at all, you may have troubles with apertures (D-codes) for example.

Yet another option is to use a Gerber editor. (instead of a gerber Viewer), and edit the files in-place.

Adding to what @paulvdh said above, there is no concept of colour in a Gerber layer plot. Gerber is a format originally intended to control a light and aperture selector plotting onto photographic film.
I just import the 3rd party Gerber layer onto a User layer and trace over it with KiCad foodprints and tracks. Then it is fairly easy to get the new footprint on grid

I can’t understand your question (I looked at your .png files).
For example - do you mean that everything is perfectly good except with Cu layer 6. What it is. Do you have 6 internal Cu layers and there is no problem with top and bottom and 5 internal layers and only with layer 6 you have a problem.

Next source of not understanding. What are the layers with multiple colors? Do you still speak about gerbers or something else. Gerber is B&W. In past gerbers were used to light through selected (and then moved) apertures at photographic film. Now the raster photoplotters are used - software converts gerber into pixel matrix with pixels on and off, but it is still B&W.