Author Topic: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?  (Read 18221 times)

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Offline UkyTopic starter

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STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« on: March 02, 2024, 03:53:22 pm »

Q1
==
I have been trying to find a small free-of-charge STEP-file viewer that does NOT require creating an account for downloading.
NIST viewer works but it wants to mess with my protected folders and has a user inteface that is "a bit cumbersome". It
also opens a browser to some NIST resouce page. I searched and found several but either they have become payed versions
OR they require creating an account OR they are simply defunct.

Q2
==
I have for a long time used the Pentalogix "ViewMate" free gerber viewer. It does the job OK and it can interpret Gerber files with
various settings for precision and standard (Metric/Inch/Mill). But it cannot "decode" drill files - even though they are created using the same
standard, like eg. Metric 4.3. Omitting/Including leading or trailing zeroes does not make any difference. A displayed file ends up with totally
wrong scaling.

There are "on-line" viewers out there but these are absolutely out of the question because of NDA's signed with my customers.


 

Online langwadt

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2024, 04:08:27 pm »

Q1
==
I have been trying to find a small free-of-charge STEP-file viewer that does NOT require creating an account for downloading.
NIST viewer works but it wants to mess with my protected folders and has a user inteface that is "a bit cumbersome". It
also opens a browser to some NIST resouce page. I searched and found several but either they have become payed versions
OR they require creating an account OR they are simply defunct.

Q2
==
I have for a long time used the Pentalogix "ViewMate" free gerber viewer. It does the job OK and it can interpret Gerber files with
various settings for precision and standard (Metric/Inch/Mill). But it cannot "decode" drill files - even though they are created using the same
standard, like eg. Metric 4.3. Omitting/Including leading or trailing zeroes does not make any difference. A displayed file ends up with totally
wrong scaling.

There are "on-line" viewers out there but these are absolutely out of the question because of NDA's signed with my customers.

freecad and kicad can probably do it, but if your customers are big enough that they required signed NDAs why does it have to be free?

 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2024, 11:01:32 pm »
FreeCAD works fine for viewing STEP files, although its UI is quite horrific. To each their own.
And yes, KiCad's Gerber viewer is ok too. You can use it standalone. There's also gerbv. You can also consider ZofzPCB, https://www.zofzpcb.com/ , which is quite good, but Windows-only for now, if that matters (and it doesn't run properly on Wine).

 
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Offline Smokey

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Offline abeyer

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2024, 01:28:14 am »
For step (and other 3d cad formats): https://github.com/fougue/mayo
 
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Offline UkyTopic starter

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2024, 11:08:58 am »
Tried KiCAD viewer a few yars ago. Unfortunately it failed displying a gerber file that I used for test
but that was an early version 7. I filed a bug report but went back to Viewmate. But I will try a v 8 again.

Have downloaded the other suggestion and will try those as well.

Thanks for the links.

 :)
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2024, 10:10:19 pm »
For step (and other 3d cad formats): https://github.com/fougue/mayo

Just tried it, very good, and snappy. I had required dependencies already installed, so the app itself only takes about 3MB. It will definitely replace FreeCAD for viewing STEP files (and others).
The only downside I found with it is that it uses a custom file chooser dialog that doesn't support UTF-8. Not a big deal, but just mentioning it.
 

Offline UkyTopic starter

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2024, 06:59:12 pm »
...Tried the Gerber viewer in KiCAD V8.0 with a set of files created by Cadence Allegro.
The Pentalogix Viewmate displayed the files correctly but KiCAD did not.

The precision was metric, 4.3 Should have been no problem with that.

I had created the layers for Assembly for a board with components on both sides
and therefore created the assembly file for the bottom layer mirrored. Otherwise
the board contour which was a complex one with irregular arcs and odd angles
was identical - except that it was mirrored.

Surprisingly, KiCAD displayed one of the files correctly but failed all together with
the other one. Most arcs was extended beyond readability.

KiCAD also failed in displaying the drill file correctly but then no other (free) tool that I have tried
have managed with that.

So - back to Viewmate.

Will try the mayo STEP-file viewer.

 

Online selcuk

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2024, 07:47:40 pm »
I'm using KiCAD for PCB design but the gerber viewer of the gEDA Project (gerbv) is better at displaying gerber files. I suggest you to try it instead of KiCAD. And it is possible to transform (rotate, move, etc.) layers with gerbv. Make sure you set the "rendering type" to "normal" or "high quality" instead of "fast" to view the files 100% correct.
 
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2024, 11:33:48 pm »
If you're not allergic to an online viewer, you can use this: https://tracespace.io/view/
It's open-source, you can disable the telemetry. It's not a replacement for a complete viewer with measurements and all, but it renders your Gerbers automatically and is handy for quick checks and making pretty images.
You should be able to use is purely locally, the source code is there: https://github.com/tracespace/tracespace
 

Online nctnico

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2024, 01:28:52 am »
For step (and other 3d cad formats): https://github.com/fougue/mayo
That works OK to view but measuring distances doesn't seem to work that well.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2024, 01:37:30 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Infraviolet

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2024, 01:08:08 am »
For gerber viewing on Linux there's gerbv as well as KiCAD's gerber viewer. It's in the Linux Mint repos.
https://gerbv.github.io/

I use it alongside KiCAD's gerber viewer when I want a second-opinion on gerbers before sending for manufacture.

Apparently there's a Windows version of it too.

For STEP I'd say FreeCAD too, but if you really hate the interface of FreeCAD, you can always import the step there, then straight away export it to stl which gives you a much wider range of programs to view it with (obviously without any labelling, colour or automatic dimension measurement you might get from a STEP file).
 

Online nctnico

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2024, 04:37:42 pm »
The downside of Freecad is that loading a big step file takes forever. A quicker route could be using Mayo to do a conversion to STL.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Feynman

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2024, 06:23:42 am »
I'm also using FreeCAD for viewing STEPs (since Design Spark Mechanical removed STEP support in the free version) and KiCAD Gerber Viewer.
 

Offline aliarifat794

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2024, 03:40:51 pm »
You can check PCBway online gerber viewer. It does not require downloading. You can upload your Gerber and drill files to render your board. ZIP files work, too.
https://www.pcbway.com/project/OnlineGerberViewer.html
 

Online PlainName

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2024, 04:09:45 pm »
As another data point...

I use gerbv and really wish I wasn't. Major hassle with it is the lack of native file dialogs, so every damn time the thing opens, to get to gerber files I have to click, in turn, 'projects', 'xx-yyyy project name', 'pcb', 'xx-yyyy pcb name', 'outputs', 'Gerber'. Every bloody time it opens in the installation folder and since the dialog is not native it doesn't respond to any of the great utils that quickly get normal app dialogs to the folder of interest. I am just completely pissed off with having to manually navigate the folder tree using a shit foreign file open dialog.

Other than that, I guess it works. For copper - no  holes or slots. Come to think of it, I have no idea why I am using this thing! Maybe I can find something better in an earlier post.
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2024, 05:05:15 pm »
the bamboulab studio app for their printers (and others too) can open step files.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2024, 12:01:29 am »
You can check PCBway online gerber viewer. It does not require downloading. You can upload your Gerber and drill files to render your board. ZIP files work, too.
https://www.pcbway.com/project/OnlineGerberViewer.html

Note that, as is obvious by just looking at it, PCBWay uses tracespace, which I mentioned above. You may as well use the tracespace website itself, which has better odds of using the latest version of the renderer, and also probably better odds of respecting your privacy. Just a thought. So all in all, using the one on PCBWay's website is fine if you're going to order from them, otherwise, there's no real point.
 

Online PlainName

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2024, 12:35:30 am »
I'm against using an online viewer because I'll have spent some time to find something that works, and there is no reason for it to then not work. Don't have to think about it: just fire it up and view the files, and it will always work the same way, and the files will always view the same.

With online stuff you never know (and can't control) how the thing is going to look next time you use it, how to use it, how it will view your files (including ones you've already viewed), etc. Murphy's law says it will be the worst experience just when you need it to work at its best.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2024, 12:49:47 am »
With tracespace, it's open source and I think you can run it locally. (You just probably need to run a small local webserver.) The rendering is really good and I have never been able to fault it so far.
But, this kind of renderer is more for getting a subjective, and "pretty" view of your Gerber files - there is no measurement tool, no list of apertures, just images.
 

Online PlainName

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Re: STEP- and Gerber- File viewers ?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2024, 01:16:25 am »
You might be able to in theory, but in practice it's simpler to install all of Kicad just for the gerber viewer.

Hmmm. Yarn. Aren't dev tools used by more than two people nowadays? For any random project you seem to need to learn a new set of opaque apps and setups.
 


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