Enhanced Database Structure
The new database enhancements to GerbTool is a step forward toward a much more robust and sophisticated product. As the core database is enhanced, so too are the formats that we can support and the features that can be executed upon that data. A perfect example of this would be the addition of polygon support and voids within polygons. This has opened new doors to both how GerbTool can work with data and how it can be compatible with other systems that support these entities. As the product continues forward, WISE will leverage the database enhancements further, and support additional intelligent formats as user demand dictates.
The Navigator helps push GerbTool beyond the competition with respects to ease-of-use. Through the Navigator, you can access vital information about any design: layer information, aperture data, net connectivity, composites, and layer sets. You can setup layer structures by tagging and moving their layers in the appropriate order. Blind & Buried layer sets can be quickly and easily defined. Apertures can be selected, added, changed, and even dropped into a specific location through Drag & Drop techniques. All of these things can be achieved from one centralized location with no menu selections or tool bars needed.
Additionally, you have full access to the GerbTool command structure via the Navigator by simply changing the flip-tab at the bottom. Here you can execute individual commands and build a “My Commands” list of functions that you use on a regular basis. Even macros can be accessed and executed here. Again, all of this is performed from a centralized location, eliminating the need for menus and tool bars.
ODB++ is being used more and more by a variety of customers, and has now become another one of the many file formats that can be used to fabricate printed circuit boards. Users of GerbTool can now interface with customers and/or vendors that have chosen to standardize on the ODB++ format through our new ODB++ interface. This interface offers two levels of support: fully intelligent, which will maintain all of the EDA like information store within the ODB++ file; and a non-intelligent graphics-only import, which is much like simply starting with Gerber files but with everything tagged, identified, and stored under a single directory tree.
DirectCAM is the native format for the CAM350 and FabFactory product lines. Additionally, PowerPCB uses it as an intelligent transfer format. By offering support for DirectCAM within GerbTool, FabFactory, CAM350, and PowerPCB users now have additional options as to how they wish to deal with the verification, analysis, and documentation of their PCB designs. GerbTool Version 11.0 supports up to version 6.0 of the CAM350 product line (although it should be noted that CAM350 Version 7.0 can produce a version 6.0 file natively).
Improved Test Fixturing
Test Fixturing was revised for version 11 to help improve usability and quality of the output. Some of the more noteable improvements are support for multiple probes sizes, which allow increased flexibility during bed-of-nails fixture generation. Additionally, version 11 now supports double-sided fixture generation for improved compatibility with a wider range of fixturing equipment. Flying Probe users will appreciate the addition of IPC-D-356A, as it will streamline output processes further and increase compatibility with more machines. GerbTool’s 356A support is fully featured and includes adjacency information as well.
Multiple Panel Support
Now GerbTool allows you to load multiple jobs within a single .GTD database and panelize them quickly and efficiently. Multi-job panelization allows you to optimize your output for proto-type, limited piece count production, and assembly panels.
On-the-Fly Polarity Changes
With this release of GerbTool, you now have the ability to change polarity “on the fly” and not have to deal with composites. You can now quickly create “scratch” data conditions without the need for setting up composites. Additionally, when GerbTool reads in simple positive & negative data files, it will set the polarity switches accordingly without the need for composites (you can control this feature). This allows you to see and make changes to the layer information real-time, again without the need to deal with composites.
Drag-and-Drop Gerber File Loading
Being able to drag files directly into GerbTool or onto the GerbTool icon greatly speeds up the import process. You no longer have to execute import or open commands. Additionally, Gerber files can be grabbed straight from a ZIP file and pulled directly into GerbTool without the need to perform a separate extraction process.
Context Sensitive Toolboxes
First there was the “Right Button Toolbox,” which we introduced in GerbTool version 9.0. Now we have taken that concept a step further through the introduction of “Context Sensitive Right Button Toolboxes.” You can now speed up simple edits like moves, copies, transcodes, and more by simply moving the cursor over the source object and clicking the right mouse button. A context sensitive toolbox will now appear, giving you the ability to adjust the properties of that specific object, make copies of it, move it, or even transcode it to another D-code. This means fewer mouse clicks and moves because you don’t have to move away from the item you are working with to select a menu or toolbar.
Auto Drill Detection
To help eliminate the “trial and error” process of loading Drill data, we have enhanced the Import Wizard so that it will now try to detect the format of Drill data as well as Gerber data. You are even presented with a new interactive display mode that lets you see what the drill data will look like before committing to the load.
User Configurable Toolbars
While the Navigator improves the ease-of-use, we recognize that some users may choose to stick with what they know best: toolbars. This release of GerbTool allows users to take their toolbar usage to the next level by allowing customization of any or all of the current toolbars found within the product. You can now tailor GerbTool to your specific needs and have toolbars show only what you wish to see. This helps prevent “hunting” or “scanning” across a particular toolbar for the feature that you need.