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1. I'm giving Eagle PCB a second chance. This time I managed to get something going but have some questions. Most important is how do I print just the pcb traces (something with layers?).

2. Anybody knows anything about the IDF standard? I'm working with Autodesk Inventor and it is supposed to import boards in IDF format so you can fit them in a housing, calculate wire lenghts, connector cutouts etc.

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Yes, you go to layers and turn off all layers except what you want to print. For example, if it is a two sided board, you turn off all layers except the top trace and print, then go back into layers and turn the top trace layer off and turn the bottom trace layer back on, then print again, etc.

I have no idea on the IDF format you need.


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You can use File->CAM Processor menu in board to generate all the data you need. If you have downloaded eagle manual pdf file then you can read a few pages from page 210 onwords to get an idea how it works. There are sample CAM Jobs in CAM directory inside eagle installation directory which you can view. I too don't know how to export eagle files in IDF format.
I use the CAM Processor to generate PS files which i can convert to PDF for making films. This works gr8 with my film-maker too. ;D.
A word of caution - The default silk generated by eagle is only 5mils you can run silk2.ulp to generate a wider silk screen if your boardmaker demands it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

To answer my own (#2) question: Target 3001 exports to IDF.

I received an e-mail from them (I had tried a demo once, I didn't even remember that) about the new version:

News within the current Version V11:

- Library Updater
- Realtime Design Rule Check
- IDF-Export (allows e.g. 3D view of your PCB)
- Interface to the power autorouter Electra (meet the makers
of Electra on Nov. 9th between 1 and 3 pm)
- Frontpanel design in TARGET 3001!

IDF is a 3D representation of your board (with components), which can be used in a CAD program that supports it (like Inventor) to help you design the case, wiring, connectors etc. Inventor 9 Pro can also autotrace the cables (with wire locks etc) and calculate total wire length. Quite impressive, isn't it?


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  • 3 weeks later...

I used Eagle too and find it difficult. Theres a PCB program that automatically converts your schematic diagram into PCB design. It also has the capability to run and test your schematics. PROTEUS LITE, ISIS lite for schematic and ARES 6 Lite for the PCB. i downloaded the sample software from the Internet and tried exept for the autorun program which you have to purchase. ;)

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  • 3 months later...

I tested Target3001's IDF export feature: I opened one of the sample projects, exported to IDF ane opened it in Inventor.

Several error messages came up, and the result wasn't high end 3D stuff, but it worked and it can be usefull. After finishing with the board design I can switch to Inventor and design the housing, heatsinks, cables, connectors etc.

Only problem is I have to learn Target3001, right when I was getting somewhere with Eagle. Its library seems more extensive though.


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Hmmm...they must have updated the libraries in 2001, then. The last time I made the comparison I found Eagle to have much more. Of course, I check the CADSOFT website periodically and download the free add-on libraries made by users.


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  • 3 weeks later...

(Perhaps this subject should be moved to the CAD forum where it belongs?)

I just tried out the pad 2 pad program. Here are my comments regarding it:
This is another company like ExpressPCB which gives you software so that they can make your boards. There is no feature to make a gerber file, so you will never have another board house make the boards. However, they do give you the capability to import a net list from another board layout program. No export.
Even though the software allows you to print, the top layer is in red and the bottom layer is green. These colors will not give you a dark enough image to make a transfer for making your own boards. My printer has the feature to print colors as black and white. When clicking on this, the print still comes out as a gray image since this feature only changes color to grayscale. It is still not black enough to make a transfer image to make your own boards.
Now, there IS a trick that will work. When you are done with the board, you can go into "Layers" and change the colors of the top and bottom art to black. Since the screen background is black and not changeable, you will no longer see your work, but it WILL print black. ( I will bet pad 2 pad never thought anyone would do this  ;D )

Over the years, I have added many different layout programs to my CAD group. Some are so simple, you lay out pads. Others must have many engineering parameters input before you can begin. Then there are several stages between these two extremes. I have found that the easier the program, the less features you will have to benefit the design. This is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, you only need to layout some pads fast and proto a quick idea.

I did not find a schematic section to this program, so if it does have one, I cannot comment on it. The library is pretty limited, but you do have the choice of choosing from many different sized round pads and stamping them down individually if needed.

Until I got around the print problem, I had pegged this program as useless. But like I mentioned above, you can get around it.
Too bad it does not have schematic and auto route features.


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