Polygons disappear on 'refill' in Gerber plotting

When doing the Gerber plot KiCAD asks to refill polygons and if you do the polygons disappear in the Gerbers. I nearly had this go through manufacture, as the manufacturer re-plotted my design when panelling and just by chance I caught this in time. It would have been a project killer with several 100K damage. Please readjust this in the software, it needs to be WYSIWYG - no hidden surprises!

What KiCad version are you using?

Help -> About KiCad -> copy version info will tell us your version.

I have just tried plotting gerber files with 5.1.2 and it works fine either with the “check zone fills before plotting” and without.

I don’t know what “check zone fills before plotting” does, if it fills unfilled zones or not.

Hi Pedro, I’m on 5.1.0-0

this seems to be something to do with the requirement to have a track with a bend inside a polygon, otherwise it’s not considered a valid polygon?

It’s really problematic if someone who doesn’t use the software on a daily basis, like the board house in this case, is not prepared for such unexpected behaviour.

The danger of sending anything but gerber. I would guess the problem was that your manufacturer had a different clearance setting somewhere.

The polygon must be connected to a pad in some way and kicad checks traces only at endpoints of segments. See How to create a power plane (using zones)

I wonder if you really sent gerbers to the manufacturer without first checking them manually (with a gerber viewer). You can’t put the responsibility on the software if you don’t do that, no matter which software. On top of that, you can and should check it in KiCad layout editor because it can show the zones filled, and you can see what’s filled and what’s not. You can also use the 3D view to see how the board looks like, it also shows zones, and I recommend doing that when finalizing the project.

I admit that there are something which isn’t strictly WYSIWYG in the board editor and 3D view compared to gerbers if certain settings are used, namely the mask layer and some silk screen features which overlap something else, but otherwise you can see what you get in all these three views: board editor, 3D view and gerber viewer. As far as zones go, such a mismatch between the board layout editor and the generated gerbers would indeed be a critical bug and would be fixed immediately for the next version of KiCad.

KiCad often requires refilling the zones manually. Both the DRC dialog and the gerber export dialog offer to refill the zones by default. That’s so to ensure you actually would have correct gerbers. KiCad or any other software can’t protect you if you refill the zones, either automatically or manually, and don’t check how they look like in the board layout editor and in the gerber view. In your case semi-automatic refilling of zones wan’t really the problem, but not doing checks or reviews was.

100K damage? You sent gerbers worth 100K without first reviewing them? Unless you use some African currency I can only say I’m speechless.


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