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PCB files for your fab house

Required files for your printed circuit board fabrication. pdf version
I asked Oscar at Proto Express what files they need to fabricate a circuit board. He sent the following list. While I usually don't send the assembly drawing, I always make a fab drawing so the specifications are clear.

I once sent out for a board at Advanced Circuits and they had to call back to tell me their inside layers were 1/2 oz (at that time). This saved me some hassle, since I needed the thicker copper for heat dissipation. I don't always make a pdf of the fab, I just send it in Gerber format.
  1. Gerber Files (RS-274-X or RS-274-D format)
  • All copper layers ( inner & outer)
  • Solder mask layers
  • Silkscreen/Legend layers
  • Via plugging layers (if applicable)
  • Solder paste layers (for board assembly)
  • Aperture list if apertures are not embedded in the Gerber data (i.e. not using RS-274-X)
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  1. Drill file with tool codes and X-Y coordinates for all holes (ASCII or EIA format).
  2. IPC-D-356 netlist (used for continuity testing).
  3. Readme File containing Engineering contact information and any special instructions.
  4. Fab drawing
  • Board outline, dimensions, including cutouts, chamfers, radii, bevels, scores, etc.
  • Dimensions from a reference hole in the board to a corner or to two sides of the board outline. - A drill chart with the hole symbols on the drawing and the finished hole sizes
  • Material requirements
  • Finished board thickness and tolerance
  • Layer stack-up order
  • Controlled impedance requirements (if applicable)
  • Dimensioned array drawing if the design is to be shipped as a multiple-up array
  • Notes defining any other requirements or specifications pertinent to the design
  1. Valor ODB++ file - preferred by PCB vendors instead of Gerber format.
  2. Check plots in Adobe PDF form. Incoming QC uses this to check PCB.
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