Generate Outputs

The Generate outputs command opens the Generate output files dialog, which provides controls to configure and generate manufacturing outputs from the current board design in a batch-style release process. The command is accessed from the PCB editor, schematic editor, and the Layer Stack Editor by choosing Project | Project Actions | Generate outputs from the main menus.

The Generate output files dialog provides controls to configure and generate manufacturing outputs from the current board design in a batch-style release process. To fabricate a printed circuit board, there are a variety of files needed in specific formats, such as Gerber, NC drill, or ODB++. You also need to be able to generate documentation outputs, such as print-type outputs to Windows printers, and tabular output suitable for the Bill of Materials.

CircuitMaker has built-in support for all of the needed output types, including Microsoft Excel format output with support for Excel templates.

Generating Output Files

The Generate Output Files dialog is used for three distinct output processes, which are performed individually. These are: Generating output files for the enabled outputs, Viewing the enabled outputs, or Releasing the enabled outputs. All output types are generated as files, which can then be opened for viewing, or released. 

To use the dialog:

  1. Configure the Required Output – click the Configure... link to open a dialog and define the requirements of that output type, such as included layers, format of the BOM, and so on.
  2. Set Up the Output Page – click the Page setup... link to define how that output type should appear on the output page.
  3. Enable the Required Output – click the Enabled checkbox to include that output type.

    Status – this column displays the status of each enabled output type. Releasing can only be performed on outputs generated by the latest set of design files. If a save has been performed on any of the design files or the project file, then fresh output files must be generated to be able to perform a release.

  4. Generate – click to run the release process. The Electrical Rules Check validation report will be run first (if enabled), checking the electrical/drafting validity of the captured source design. All other defined (and enabled) outputs are then run. These are the manufacturing outputs from which the physical Item will be produced to exist as a tangible product that can be bought and sold. Information regarding the Electrical Rules Check validation report will also be listed in the Messages panel, which will appear after the Generate button is clicked.

    The generated output is stored under the \Default Configuration folder - a child folder of the directory containing the project file. Separate sub-folders will be generated to contain specific output as applicable for BOMERCGerberNC Drill, and ODB. In addition, certain outputs will be available from the Projects panel (including BOM and HTML-based ERC report).

    A PDF document will be generated, named [<ProjectName>.PrjPcb] <ProjectName>.pdf. This will contain entries for the following generated output (where enabled): Electrical Rules Check, BOM, Schematic Prints, PCB Prints, PCB 3D Print, and Assembly Drawings.

    Each time a release is performed, the previously generated output(s) will be deleted and replaced with the enabled and newly generated output(s).

  5. View – after output generation, and with a specific output type selected in the list, click this button to open that output for viewing. An output can only be Viewed or Released if it is Up to date.
  6. Release – this button becomes available after successful output generation. Click to release the generated output; the Confirm Release dialog opens. The dialog displays the data to be released. If the data is correct, you can add notes about the release then click OK to perform the release. Upon successful release, the Project Release dialog opens stating that the project has been released, and includes a link that opens the project in your Web Browser.

Outputers List

The main region of the dialog presents a listing of all supported output types that can be generated from the design. Output types are grouped into the following categories:

  • BOM - this category offers the following output types: Bill of Materials.
  • Documentation - this category offers the following output types: Schematic PrintsPCB PrintsPCB 3D Print, and PDF3D.
  • Fabrication - this category offers the following output types: Gerber FilesNC Drill FilesODB++ Files, and Report Board Stack.
  • Assembly - this category offers the following output types: Generates pick and place files and Assembly Drawings.
  • Validation - this category offers the following output types: Design Rules Check and Electrical Rules Check.
  • Export - this category offers the following output types: Export STEP.

Each specific output type is presented with the following fields:

  • Output Generator - the type of output generator, the name of which indicates the type of output that will be generated.
  • Configure - click this button to access an associated dialog with which to configure the currently selected output generator. The dialogs involved are:
  • Page Setup - click to open the associated properties dialog to configure the printout.
  • Status - the current state of the output. The following possible states exist:
    • The output is currently in the process of being generated.
    • The output has been generated successfully. For an ERC report, there are either no errors or the level of those errors falls within the specified maximum tolerated error level for that report.

      If the output cannot be generated successfully, an error dialog will appear alerting you to the fact that validation has failed. For the validation-based ERC output, this means there are errors within the source design documents that are causing certain check(s) to fail. For a standard output, the output could not be generated successfully. Perhaps Fatal Errors exist when performing a pre-generation compile, or something is amiss in the configuration of the associated output generator.

  • Enabled - indicates whether this output type is to be included in the batch generation of outputs (enabled), or not (disabled).

Right-Click Menu

To access the right-click menu, ensure the cursor is over the area occupied by the output type entries and not in the blank space beneath.

The following commands are available from the right-click context menu for the dialog:

  • Configure - use this command to access an associated dialog in which you can configure the currently selected output generator.
  • Disable - use this command to disable the currently selected output generator, excluding it from the batch release process.
  • Enable all - use this command to quickly enable all output generators, including all in the batch release process.
  • Disable all - use this command to quickly disable all output generators, excluding all from the batch release process.
  • Open Document - use this command to open the generated output for the currently selected output generator. This command will only be available provided output has been successfully generated for that particular output type.
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