Author Topic: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?  (Read 1336 times)

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Offline Chris56000

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Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« on: May 10, 2021, 09:34:29 am »
Hi!

Does anyone know of a reliable method of converting a printed Magazne Artwork to Gerbers or Copper Layers in tools such as EasyPC or Kicad please?

I would like to reproduce PCB ref. 970028 from the April & May 1997 issues (attached) into my "Easy PC" - I'm not bothered about the Solder Mask or Silkscreen as Easy-PC can re-do these!

If there's a reliable way of achieving this, then it opens the floodgates to trying out many interesting T & M projects that Elektor featured in the first 25 years!

Chris Williams
It's an enigma that's what it is!! This thing's not fixed because it doesn't want to be fixed!!
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2021, 06:43:21 pm »
Someone posted this recently (well, updated it recently): https://www.eevblog.com/forum/eda/image-to-gerber-converter/
Wouldn't it be exactly what you're looking for? (I've not tested it, so I can't tell how good it is.)

I think there were other similar tools posted every once in a while on this forum; you may want to do a little search here.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 06:45:18 pm by SiliconWizard »
 

Offline Warhawk

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2021, 06:43:36 pm »
There's German SW called "Sprint Layout". It works without the circuit diagram. You just place the scan in background and then you try to redraw what you see. I've used it some time ago for exactly same job. The benefit is that you get digital format and you can still do some changes if you need to.

Online nctnico

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2021, 11:48:41 pm »
Hi!

Does anyone know of a reliable method of converting a printed Magazne Artwork to Gerbers or Copper Layers in tools such as EasyPC or Kicad please?

I would like to reproduce PCB ref. 970028 from the April & May 1997 issues (attached) into my "Easy PC" - I'm not bothered about the Solder Mask or Silkscreen as Easy-PC can re-do these!

If there's a reliable way of achieving this, then it opens the floodgates to trying out many interesting T & M projects that Elektor featured in the first 25 years!
You do realise that you'll need the programmed chips for this design? Try to see if you can order these chips before going forward. It also looks like there are several obsolete chips in this design as well. I can't find the specs of this LCR meter but chances are you can buy something much better from Ebay / Aliexpress for a whole lot less money.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 12:02:53 am by nctnico »
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Offline james_s

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2021, 05:09:47 am »
I do like building vintage magazine projects but yeah that's going to be a difficult one. I just looked and there are several parts that are rather esoteric today and will probably be very hard to find, and that's in addition to finding the code for the programmable parts.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2021, 10:52:20 am »
I do like building vintage magazine projects but yeah that's going to be a difficult one. I just looked and there are several parts that are rather esoteric today and will probably be very hard to find, and that's in addition to finding the code for the programmable parts.
I did find another thread with more information about the project. This LCR meter is extremely basic: the test frequency is fixed at 1kHz and the accuracy is not that good. Also it doesn't seem to be able to measure ESR on capacitors. OTOH the XJW01 LCR meter which is widely available from Aliexpress and Ebay is a much better buy.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: Magazine Artworks to Gerber/Copper Layer Conversion?
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2021, 02:17:23 am »
If you've got the schematic and a picture of the PCB, then re-creating it in KiCad (or another EDA program) is a lot less work then designing a schematic and PCB layout. It's just data entry. An typical Elektor project on a dual sided PCB is probably between half a day and a day's work.

KiCad can back-import a set of Gerber files into a PCB project. If you have Gerbers this is a significant time saver compared to re-creating it all by hand.
One of the additions I'd like to have for KiCad is better support for reverse-engineering. Just having a picture as a background would be a significant bonus. In the coming (I sincerely hope this year) new KiCad V6 it's also possible to create a netlist in PCBnew. The next step to make a reverse-engineer workflow complete would be to back-import the netlist into the schematic editor and then have a "ratsnest" displayed to reconstruct the schematic from the extracted netlist from the PCB. But such is not high on KiCad's priority list.
You can also import .DXF graphics in KiCad. It's mostly meant for PCB outlines from CAD programs, but if you can convert an image to .DXF format you  can at least use it as a template to draw copper tracks over them.

Elektor has always tried to make it difficult to reproduce their projects. Z80 projects for example often had a PLD on them for no apparent reason than to make reproducing more difficult. With a bit of remapping of adresses, a 74HC138 or similar would have been perfectly suitable to switch between some memory chips.

It's part of the reason why I stopped my subscription.
I had a subscription on the electronic edition of Circuitcellar for a while. All their projects came with downloadable zip archives.
When Elector invaded Circuitcellar their magazine more then doubled in price and I also gave up that subscription. A few years later they kicked out Elektor, but the high prices stayed.

In the last 15 years or so Elector seems to have opened up a bit. They seem to publish more Open Source projects and there are quite a lot of projects on the "Elektor Lab" part of their website.

If you're looking for vintage projects, then the older CircuitCellars may be more interesting then the Elektors.
With a bit of lookin' you can also find lots of old edtions of "Electronics Now" "epe" (Everyday Practical Electronics) "Nuts and Volts".

If you like small linux devices, then have a look at the Hardkernel website. They have years of a freely downloadable magazine in PDF format with a gazillion of projects for their (quite affordable) hardware.


Addition:
KiCad can
« Last Edit: September 02, 2021, 02:37:10 am by Doctorandus_P »
 


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