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Author Topic: Silkscreen and Itead pcb service  (Read 996 times)
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Recently I got back some pcbs designed in Eagle 6.2 from Iteadsudio. They were very good quality, very well done overall, I think. But the silkscreening didn't come out as in in my Eagle _tsilk layer (layer 121). Instead, I got some silkscreening that looks like it was automaticaly generated from the tplace (layer 21) and tnames (layer 25) layers.

Now, I appreciate you get back just what you send them in the gerber files, so I gather the "ITEADstudio_CAM for Eagle6.x.cam" script produced the top silkscreen .GTS file deliberately from these layers, rather than from layer 121. I hadn't checked the output gerber files from the script before sending them off, so it didn't occur to me my lovingly crafted layer 121 silkscreen would be ignored.

If I substitute my custom silkscreen gerber file and then that off instead if the Itead script generated one, should that be OK? Anyone already doing this? I'm sure I can't be the only one who wants their own silkscreening rather than some generic auto-generated stuff?

Strikes me as odd I've never seen mention of this elsewhere... or is everyone else actually getting their silksreens as expected? 



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Personally I put all of my silk screen on the layers used by the cam job, instead of modifying the cam job.  The marks at that are "auto" generated that I don't want, I delete.  There's no reason you couldn't modify the cam job to include the layers you prefer.

It's always a good idea to run your Gerber files through a generator to see what the board house sees.  There are a number of online tools like:  http://www.pcbvisualizer.com/.
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Thanks for the pointers, James. I tweaked a line in the .cam file, and tested the output on a gerber visualizer. I think it's all good to go now. Cheers!
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Hello pico.
I'm also choose Itead for my first Pcb manufacter but the fact is I'm still waiting for them for about 2 mounths !  smiley-confuse
I already change some email messages with them, and they had reassemble it and dispatch it again.
How was your deliver time?
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How was your deliver time?

About as expected -- I opted for the cheap airmail service, and it took between 3-4 weeks from order time to delivery (I think -- I'd have to check to be sure).
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What I fail to see is, If you sent them cam files why didn't they use all of them. A PC house "Usually" loads the whole set of drawings sent... At least for a look and that is the way it's always worked for me from 1989 to 2008 in Southern California.

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iTead provides a CAM file to use.  Looking at their silkscreen tabs, they specifically turn on the tNames/bNames layers.  I turn them off because I don't want those on my silk screen, and any library you use will have information on those layers.  So the first thing I did was turn those layers off in their CAM file, and re-saved the file.  Done.  I put all of my own silk screening on the tPlace/bPlace layers so I make sure those are always turned on (by default, their CAM file turns those on.)
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What I fail to see is, If you sent them cam files why didn't they use all of them.

They did. I just didn't realise the .GTO file that their cam file generated ignored the _tsilk layer in Eagle, and used tplace and tname instead. At James' advice, I've since modified the cam file to use _tslik instead, and now all is (or should be) well.

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the land of sun+snow
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This is VERY bad news.

Several people here have been touting the Iteadstudio service, but unreliable delivery is
really really really bad news.
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Advanced Circuits in Denver Colorado also has a free service for checking Gerber files. I used it
a couple of years ago, and it gave me back pdf files of what the board layers actually look like.
Their proto service is not nearly as cheap as others.

I see they also have free PCB software, but I've not used it.

http://www.4pcb.com/
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Quote
If I substitute my custom silkscreen gerber file and then that off instead if the Itead script generated one, should that be OK?

Yes; they silkscreen whatever you send them a Gerber for. Just make sure the Gerber is what you actually want silkscreened :-)

Several people here have been touting the Iteadstudio service, but unreliable delivery is
really really really bad news.

I don't hear unreliable delivery. I hear ITead sending him exactly the boards he sent them files for. He used a script to generate those files without understanding the inputs to that script. Easy mistake to make the first time, and easily corrected once it's hurt you once.

Personally, I edit the CAM file to include the layers I want for the silk screen. I like to have component values included, for example. Works fine for me. The CAM processor files are really quite easy to work with in Eagle -- as long as you know that that's what you're doing (and need to do.)

That's defending ITead -- they are affordable, and I find them easy to work with. However, if you don't pay the $28 for DHL, shipping is slow, and the boards, while functional, and not top of the line quality. If you want high-quality boards, still at a hobbyist-friendly price, use http://oshpark.com/ (dorkbotpdx/laen.)
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Quote
I don't hear unreliable delivery.

Ok, my misunderstanding.
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I too wouldnt say unreliable...

I think is VERY reliable.. (takes long every time)  LOL..

it always takes around 3-4 weeks.. if they are not back-up due to being closed for a holiday or anything.


they also post what files they want/use for their gerber needs:


Gerber file requirement: (The following layers are needed)

Top layer:  pcbname.GTL

Bottom layer:   pcbname.GBL

Solder Stop Mask top: pcbname.GTS

Solder Stop Mask Bottompcbname.GBS

Silk Top:  pcbname.GTO

Silk Bottom: pcbname.GBO

NC Drill: pcbname.TXT


Just use a gerber preview app to make sure your .GTO/.GBO files are what YOU expect them to be.

I have use viewplot before to look at my gerber files before sending.

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