Gerber Files - Include Layers - Minimum Options?

I’m sending my first PCB for manufacturing.
It is a simple one just to give me practice.

  • Copper on top side only
  • Only 4-Holes for mounting - not plated through
  • No via’s
  • No Silk Screen
  • No Solder Mask
    Just copper pads on the top side. That’s it.

My Question:
When creating Gerber files to send to the fab house… I’ve got 3 layers checked…
1 - F.Cu
2 - Edge Cuts
3 - F.Fab – (includes board dimensions, etc.)
Are these the only layers I need to include in the Gerber files Zip I send to the Board House? (These plus the Drill Files for the 4 mounting holes)

Thanks for any help.
PS - FYI, I’m using ALLPCB for this experiential run. Any comments on them?

My first thought is, if you want to send a test PCB, then make it a decent one.
These days single sided PCB’s are usually the same price as double sided sided PCB’s with plated via’s.

If you have nothing else to do with the extra layer, then just turn it into a big GND plane. Almost any PCB will benefit from that.

Also, Non plated holes are more “difficult” than plated holes. Via (and other hole) plating is pretty much standard, and NPTH requires a different, and therefore “extra” step in the process. Small quantiy PCB’s are usually made in batches with PCB’s for other customers so you do not gain anything with making your PCB “simpler”. Both solder mask and silk screen are usually also included in the standard process.

  1. For single sided PCB’s, it’s more traditional to put the copper on the back side instead of the front side (For THT at least).
  2. Yes Edge.Cuts is also needed.
  3. Fab layers are not needed for PCB manufacturing.

You (almost) always have to send the solder mask layer. Solder mask is usually a negative layer, and if you do not send the solder mask layer then your whole PCB may be covered with solder mask.

I had a short peek at and apparently they have options listed for single sided PCB’s without a soldermask, but I doubt your PCB will become any cheaper when you stick to these limitations. Experiment a bit with the settings, and then compare the prices that roll out of the web page at the end.

Overall it is probably best if you start with zipping up your test project and upload it here. There are several people here who are willing to have a look at it and give you some hints for impovements or point out errors.

ALLPCB is fine, but then my designs are not demanding.

As already said, it will not be cheaper to do one-sided compared to two-sided, which is the baseline offering now.

For two-sided boards, the number I keep in mind is 9: F.Cu, B.Cu, F.Mask, B.Mask, F.SilkS, B.SilkS, EdgeCuts, PTH, NPTH. There’s nothing gained from omitting files since layers with no features will not affect the result. If you omit some files, you’re likely to get a “did you forget to include some files” query and slow the submission.

Oh, and uncheck X2 extensions when generating Gerbers for Chinese fabs. X2 tends to mess them up.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.