How to Create Fabrication Drawing in Eagle CAD
By Tad Cronn
The Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor, or EAGLE, by CadSoft is a program used in designing printed circuit boards, or PCBs. It provides designers with graphic tools and management software needed to take a PCB from concept to production. Part of that process is producing fabrication drawings needed by circuit board manufacturers.
Complete major design of your printed circuit board. Use EAGLE to draw and check your schematic, create a board, place the parts where you want them, route the signals and finalize the design.
Open the "CAM Processor" menu and select "GerberAuto" to generate the basic board shape information your manufacturer needs if he is not set up to read the EAGLE file directly. Gerber is an industry-standard file format.
Open the "Layout Editor" and click on the "Options/Set/Drill" dialog. Use the tools to place different kinds of drill marks for your board. This plan tells a manufacturer where to drill holes for placement of screws and other parts on your circuit board. Save the drill information in "Excellon" format.
Open the "Schematic Diagram Editor," click "Run" and select "Bom.ulp." Compile notes about what board material to use, how many layers your board has and what parts are needed. Save this file.
Export your fabrication drawing files to disk or a zipped folder, depending on your manufacturer's preferences. Some designers also recommend sending PDF files as backups for images because anybody can read them.
Use EAGLE to obtain price estimates from a list of circuit board design houses. Once you find a price and time frame you like, ship your files.
Tad Cronn is a professional journalist living in Los Angeles. His columns have appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," the "Orange County Register" and other publications. He is an award-winning illustrator, author of "The Lynx," and an experienced handyman, model builder and gamer.