PCB file format changes incompatibilities

I tested Nightly on a new design. Now I want to get it produced. However, my supplier’s PCB analyzer software doesn’t find the solder mask. Apparently the file format changed (not surprising given the new file name convention …).

Are the changes documented somewhere so that I can point them at something that tells them how to fix their software?
Alternately, is there a script to down-convert to 5.0 format?

Are you supplying KiCad files or Gerbers?

That’s strange because the .kicad_pcb file format hasn’t changed radically, and the mask layer information has stayed the same (apart from new shapes but those affect other layers, too).

Does the analyzer software analyze the KiCad files or gerbers?

EDIT: it’s strange if it can analyze other things but not the mask layer.

I sent them the kicad_pcb file. Their analysis tool complains about missing solder stop masks on both sides of the PCB.

I have used them with kicad files (.sch) in the past, so I assumed that this is a file format problem. If nothing material has changed (maybe just layer name quoting?) that’s definitely strange.

In any case I have emailed them (Eurocircuits, for the curious). We’ll see what happens.

There is no incompatibility.
However what is missing for Eurocircuits is the mask clearance values (and some via drill values for “old” board).

This is fixed (commit dbb6d0f febr 28) in latest Pcbnew (one day ago) version.
This was a request from Eurocircuits.
You need to load your project, check these clearances and save the board with this latest version.
(Eurocircuits knows that)


Ah. Thank you!
Apparently their importer tool is too stupid to just say that, and instead ignores the mask completely.

I have some time until I need this board, so I’ll play dumb and wait whether their support manages to supply a helpful answer. (Teachable moments can be fun. evil grin)

Do they actually prefer KiCad proprietary file over a set of Gerbers?

They accept them as first-class citizens, and it’s far easier to upload that single kicad file than to generate and zip gerbers or whatever.

NB: kicad is open source. Not something I would call “proprietary”.

NB: I would not expect a business entity who needs to rely on stability and repeatability to support a moving target like “nightly” (or alpha, or beta) versions of someone else’s software. Kudos on them for taking that business risk.

I would read this as apparently their importer tool was written before something changed in KiCad nightly which caused this to be an issue. It has been addressed by their support team (the bug report from them) and won’t be an issue with the latest nightly (until another bug fix breaks this one as is possible on a moving target like a nightly).

IMHO, best practices is to work with your suppliers instead of against them. (Then again, opinions are like arseholes… Everyone has one and thinks theirs smells best.)

As of yet I’m not too sure about this assumption.
@smurfix Eurociruits claims to accept KiCad files directly, but have you verified they accept files from the nightly versions?
Generating and submitting gerbers seems a more sensible step to me.

Yes, I have boards to prove it.


Proprietary does not mean secret.
The KiCad developers “own” the format in 5.99 and can change it tomorrow without notice to anyone.

5.1.x is different as there is commitment that the structure is frozen permanently.

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