Why is the generation of drill and Gerber separated?

I was wondering why the procedures for generating Gerber files and drill files are two separate actions?
I ask this because on many occasions I’ve forgotten to include the drill files after generating the Gerber files. Especially when I’m in a hurry.

I have no idea how the code behind it looks, but my best guess is that it’s 2 different modules that create the CAM information from the data that KiCAD has in the layout. So for the programmers who did this it probably is natural to keep those things separate. Lots of things had been separate in KiCAD, but grow together more and more to make the user interface ever more more convenient and easier to navigate.
I’m sure at some point those two dialogs will be unified, but I wouldn’t hold my breath as there are many bigger cats to skin.

I would suspect it has less to do with the internal code and more with the fact that these two tasks have a lot of settings that are not interdependent.

Maybe a more intuitive solution would be to have the two settings panels on different tabs of the same tool and have one export button.


If you do pcbnew->plot
The Dialog have “Plot” and “Generate Drill File…” buttons that are near to each other on the bottom right. So it may help speed you up. You still have to generate component position in separate menu.

Yes, if there was a single dialog that had a central ‘generate CAM data’ with the common settings like output folder and then some tabs that gets you to the different sub-options for the different kind of CAM data, like drill, gerber and component positions… would make the whole process more streamlined.
But all this is more a thing for doing a lot of jobs all the time, so semi/professional which means could take a while.

I guess that this is because drill files are Excellon and not Gerber.
A few reminders would be useful in this area, it is too easy to leave out an important Gerber layer as well.

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