I think I was able to successfully get all the copper areas correct. Going to upload the pcb file again with the latest revisions. Here’s what I did:
Copper areas that do not have vias were left as filled polygons, as per above. For copper areas that contain vias:
- click on a via to select it. Then right click on it, and select properties. At the top of the box that pops up, uncheck the box for automatically update nets. Then select the net dropdown, click on the blank area, type in a name for a net, and click create net. This can be done for more than one via at a time by holding the shift key and selecting multiple vias. Once the net is named and created, vias can then be assigned to it by unchecking the automatic update net box and selecting it in the dropdown (in the properties popup box). For some odd reason, a net can only be created in via properties (this does not work with zones), so at least one via must be done before the zones.
- for the copper area containing a via, select all the lines in the outline by dragging a rectangle to enclose the shape, or clicking on the line segments while holding the shift key down. Right click and select convert to zone. Click on an empty area to clear the selection, then click on the outline line segments (holding shift key down) to select only the outline, then delete the outline. Click on the zone again to select it, then right click to select properties. In the box that pops up, check the box for show all nets, then select the net name. For fill type, select solid. For remove islands, select never (not sure if this is necessary or not, but it was part of what I did that seemed to make everything work correctly). Click ok, and close the properties box.
- Click on the zone to select it. Right click, select zones, and then fill. If the zone does not appear to fill properly, select the zone again, right click and open the properties box, then close the properties box, and the zone will show it’s proper fill and size.
- For all zones and vias that this is done for, double check by selecting each in turn, and confirm that the net name, fill mode, and fill area are properly displayed at the bottom of the screen.
So now after doing the above and creating a set of gerber files, the F.Cu and B.Cu layers seem to be appearing properly in both GerbView and Gerbv. However, the vias do not appear (the copper areas show as being solid shapes), and I am assuming that this is because I did not create drill files and attempt to add them to the viewers. I was not able to check the results in the 3D viewer yet because I won’t have it downloaded until my data cap resets again in a few more weeks. Could someone please confirm that it displays properly in the 3D viewer?
The next step appears to be generating the drill files and making sure that everything properly confirms to the standards for gerber files. All copper areas have been double checked, and have .01" or .015" clearance from the board edge. What else needs to be checked, to make sure that the gerber files will be correct and nothing is “sloppy”? There appear to be multiple options for the drill files, how do I set the drill files up properly?
board 1 zones test 2.kicad_pcb (23.5 KB)
Again, many thanks to those that have been helpful!
For these initial boards, I can get away with it due to the nature of the layout and components used. For a larger and more complicated board with not much more than standard components, it would obviously make more sense to use “stock” footprints than create everything manually from scratch. But even in that scenario, situations will always arise when you want to customize something. That is why I feel it is important to understand a manual workflow as well as being able to use the standard automatic modes. I find it very odd how this seems to have been overlooked, and how otherwise apparently intelligent people are attempting to discourage this. Hopefully documenting how to implement a manual workflow here will be something that others can learn from and benefit from in the future.