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Creating PCB Projects with KiCad
Standard KiCAD versions do not support the ability to run scripts to generate all of the data we need for manufacturing. This means that you will need to run some steps manually to generate your Gerber files and then upload your .kicad pcb file for us to extract the placement data and BoM.
Unfortunately, KiCAD does not allow you to use a configuration file or CAM processing, so we will walk you through the process below.
Design Rule Check (DRC)
To setup the design rules in KiCad open Pcbnew and click the “Design Rules” menu at the top. Select “Design Rules” from the drop menu. The first tab is the Net Classes Editor. You can use the following Default settings or your own custom settings. Be sure to check the Assembly Capabilities when using your own custom settings:
Please note! Our most up-to-date DRC settings can be found on the Assembly Capabilities page.
The next tab sets up the global defines. MacroFab’s minimum allowed values are shown below:
KiCad currently does not support clearance between parts or between parts and the edge of the board. You will need to check this by hand.
Upload .Kicad_PCB File
To create a project from KiCAD, you must upload the .kicad_pcb file for your project. We will automatically extract the placement, Bill of Materials, and paste information from this file.
Gerber CAM File Generation
Gerber files have to be generated manually. Open up the plot menu by clicking on “File” then “Plot”. Make sure the following layers are selected:
Click the “Plot” button at the bottom of the window and KiCAD will generate the Gerber files. Next, the drill file needs to be created. Open the Drill Files Generation window by clicking the “Generate Drill File” at the bottom of the Plot window.
Make sure the options are the same as shown above, then click “Drill File”. The generated files will be in a folder in your project’s directory labelled “gerbers”.
Double-check the gerber file extensions that KiCad generated. They should use the file extensions listed below. If they don’t match, they won’t be processed properly. Please change any file extensions that do not match this list before uploading your files.
- .GTL Top Layer
- .GTO Top Silkscreen
- .GTS Top Soldermask
- .GTP Top SMD Paste
- .GBL Bottom Layer
- .GBO Bottom Silkscreen
- .GBS Bottom Soldermask
- .GBP Bottom SMD Paste
- .BOR Board Outline (Edge Cuts) *Place routed holes on this layer*
- .G2L ONLY for four layer board
- .G3L ONLY for four layer board
- .XLN NC Drill File