.st0{fill:#FFFFFF;}

Tools

NextPCB’s new Gerber viewer 

 August 7, 2023

By  Peter

Join Our Mailing List

We publish fresh content each week. Read how-to's on Arduino, ESP32, KiCad, Node-RED, drones and more. Listen to interviews. Learn about new tech with our comprehensive reviews. Get discount offers for our courses and books. Interact with our community.

One email per week, no spam, unsubscribe at any time.

Noah from NextPCB emailed me to let me know about their new online Gerber viewer and asked me to play with it. I did, and I’ll convey my impressions in this short post.

First, a 30-second video:

I tested this Gerber viewer in Firefox, Safari and Chrome, and it worked well in all those browsers. The process is what you probably expect from a tool like this:

  1. Go to the NextPCB viewer page.
  2. Drag and drop a ZIP file that contains your PCB’s Gerber files.
  3. Done.

Viewer

The viewer lets you show/hide the PCB layers and zoom/pan the PCB without your mouse or touchpad. There are also arrow buttons for fine position control which is a good idea, especially if you don’t have a precision mouse. There is also a length and distance measuring tool.

The rendering quality of the PCB is top-notch. The PCB and its layers look good and sharp, with contrasting colours, which is important when working on complex projects.

There are also behind-the-scenes shortcuts. For example, if you want to show one layer and hide all others, double-click on that layer’s name in the layers list. You can click the “Open all” button to show all layers.

Report

This is what I like the most about NextPCB’s new Gerber viewer: it provides a comprehensive report of your PCB in the editor and as in a downloadable PDF. This report contains DFM (Design for Manufacture) statistics and information useful for deciding the various parameters of your PCB order. The tool uses this information to calculate a price for ordering the PCB from NextPCB. Other tools may provide this information but don’t link it to the ordering process, leaving it up to you to choose the appropriate parameters to match your board characteristics. In the new NextPCB Gerber viewer, when you click the order button, the order form is pre-filled with the appropriate settings, and the Gerber files from the viewer are passed on to the order page.

Here are a couple of pages from the DFM report PDF:

DFM page 1.
DFM page 2.

In conclusion, NextPCB’s new Gerber Viewer is a solid tool for anyone working with PCBs. You can use it even if you don’t intend to purchase your PCBs from NextPCB (even though it is integrated well with the NextPCB ordering system).

It works well on all browsers I tested, renders the PCBs high quality, and the DFM report is a very useful part of the experience.

Try it out now, and let me know your thoughts.


Tags

Gerber, Viewer


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Capacitors are fundamental components in electronic circuits, and understanding how they work is crucial for anyone looking to build and design their own circuits. In this segment, we’ll explore the various kinds of capacitors you

Read More
Introduction to Capacitors and RC Circuits

The Khadas VIM1S is a high-quality yet affordable single-board computer well suited to hobbyists’ needs. While it doesn’t have the power of its siblings, such as the Edge2, it strikes a fine balance between performance

Read More
Khadas VIM1S: Unbox, Set Up, and Review