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How to Panelize GERBER of KiCAD Project using Open Source tool

This article contains exact ways of using the GERBERPanelizer which worked for me and generating combined GERBER for fabrication when your project is in KiCad. Please feel free to reach out or comment if you want more details for particular steps or see any error or have better ways to do it, please reach at vidit@kamui.tech

In this example we have 2 Boards of 2 Layer Board. We will generate the GERBER, Combine them, export and prep the exported GERBER for fab

Generate Files GERBER files from all boards

Generate GERBERs with the following settings


Generate Drill Files with the following settings

Make sure all the files are in one folder as shown below

Download and Open GERBER Panelizer. Can be found here https://github.com/ThisIsNotRocketScience/GerberTools/releases

Merge using GERBERPanelizer

Start New file


Select as shown in photo and add the folder which has generated files

You might not see anything added, do this to make it appear. See Note #1 to avoid this

Add the next board like this

Do this again to make it appear

To rotate, click on the board you want to rotate and click the option marked with yellow

It might disappear from the screen again. See Note #1 to avoid this

This time don't do Board Placement→ Autopack: Naive. Instead do the following

It will appear like this

Drag the board and bring it to desired location

Now add breaktabs like this

Make sure it doesn't look like this, if it does, that means either adjacent PCB are too far or too close 

Adjust distance between boards to make break tabs looks like this

Add enough breaktabs to make sure both boards turn green. This makes sure there is enough support for boards

Click on the following option to adjust size of panel

It looks like this

Height and width can be adjusted like this and also other things. But make sure the red marked options are as shown in photo

This can be done after adjusting panel size to make it look better on eyes

Exporting merged GERBER

Make sure to save the project. This evil genius software will not let you know that file need to saved when you closing the software.


Now make sure you have a empty Output folder where we will export merged GERBERs

Now to export merged GERBER do the following


Select the empty Output Folder

A process will run and you will have BitMap files of top layer and bottom layer pop up after the file export is generated

Inspect and Prep for Fab

Now open the GERBER files in a GERBER viewer available with KiCad and make sure the generated files are alright and then you are ready to place order with your favorite PCB Fabricator.

In some cases you might wanna delete the file with extension gm1 because it has individual PCB Outline and change the extension of file with GKO extension to GML, this file has combined cutting line for the final board and we are changing extension because some Fab houses websites do not recognize GKO but recognize GML


Note:

  1. Disappearance issue during placing and rotation happens because the origin of the GERBER might far away from the board. refer to this link while generating GERBER is the KiCad to avoid it https://hackaday.io/project/19202-small-pcbs-for-panelizing-tutorial/log/61023-gerber-export-tutorial-kicad-with-important-notes
  2. These steps can be followed for any EDA Tool, just to make sure equivalent options are selected during GERBER generation

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