PCB vector design in Illustrator/Rhinoceros

Hey all,
I'm doing a thesis in industrial design and am interested in using the PCB as a mode of expression in bare bone electronic products. Because of this, I would like to be able to do the full PCB design in Illustrator or Rhinoceros 5 (single sided PCB with quite simple circuits), in order to be able to work with the copper, soldermasks and silkscreens as means for expression and storytelling. In theory this isn't much of a problem I guess, as the process is after all just a heap of layered silkscreen prints and some etching, but as it turns out it's a real pain as most manufacturers want the production files in gerber format. To make it even more difficult, I would like to be able to handle "holes" in shapes somehow, and gerber doesn't seem to be the best at doing this...

I am aware of PCBModE, but I can't get it to work on my windows system.

Do you know of an Illustrator script to do this?

Do anyone know of a good dxf/svg/or some other vector format converter to create gerber files for PCB manufacturing?

Do anyone know of a manufacturing house that accepts other file formats such as PDF, bmp, png or the like. Even

Any other tips or tricks are more than welcome!

I would say.. your going down the wrong path.

If you want to really make a PCB.. then use 'real' PCB/schematic design software.

I suggest EAGLE.. has a bit of a learning curve... but if you google, there is so much support and add-ons..etc than you'll always find an answer.

Its free up to a certain size board.

Others to try are:


(maybe others as well)

I am not clear by what you mean when you say:

"Holes as shapes"?

What does this mean?

When you are done.. you can take all the Gerber files (many files representing different layers/features of the PCB) import them into AI.. and do a trace on them if you need that.

I think you can export Gerbers to .dxf..etc.. but I havent seen it done the other way around. (might be possible though.. EAGLE has many many many scripts that do TONS of different things)

Hey, sorry maybe I was unclear...
I have ordered boards using Eagle before, but Eagle has no where near the design posibilities that Im looking for here. The "hole" would theoreically be something like a polygon shape with another polygon cutout in the middle, kind of like an "O" with both outside edges and inside edges defined by their own closed curves/polylines.

What Im designing is pretty basic, so I don't really need something like eagle to keep track of the netlist or kind of component, the possibility to freeform every shape for the copper, silkscreen, soldermask etc. is what is important to me in this project, and eagle is quite terrible at these tasks. I've also tried altium and it doesn't seem to be much better either, the DXF importers in both the programs are really primitive and only work with a few line elements, mostly polylines (so no curves). Still, none of them can handle negative shapes as with the "O" example. I've also been putting alot of work in trying to find a ULP for Eagle but these are as primitive as the ones that come with the software and are quite unreliable. Regarding Eagle scripts I've found nothing so far that would do the job...