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Is there a package that will read and convert any CAD schematic and/or gerber file to its format

Discussion in 'CAD' started by Jaypee, Jun 7, 2006.

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  1. Jaypee

    Jaypee Guest

    Hi everyone,
    Can anyone suggest a software package that I can use to translate any
    CAD file (well at least the popular ones) to its own format so that I
    can use only that software to view and import files created in other
    CAD programs? Somewhat you may call Universal CAD reader/importer.
  2. Leon

    Leon Guest

    The Pulsonix software I use can import ASCII files from most other

  3. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    Can anyone suggest a software package that I can use
    Pulsonix stands head and shoulders above anything else
    when it comes to importing. A previous post from Leon:*-package-information

    Stuart and Ian comparing gEDA & KiCAD (netlists only):*-file-formats+zz-zz+qq+5-at-present
  4. Joel Kolstad

    Joel Kolstad Guest

    Pulsonix is good -- I'm a happy, registered user of it -- but beware that
    there are limitations to what will import successfully. Where I work we also
    use ORCAD, and although Pulsonix claims to be able to import and export ORCAD
    schematics, the translation ends up somewhat flawed for anything but the
    simplest of schematics. I fully expect this is the case for other CAD
    packages as well.

  5. Jaypee,
    You are looking for a magical tool that really just doesn't exist.

    However there is one tool that I know of that comes sort of close, it is
    called Autovue. As it's name suggests it is only a viewer, but it does do
    slightly more because you can also use it to retrieve data from within the
    files (i.e. part numbers, desciptions, nets/netlists or other items entered
    as part field/parameter type data. See it's supported products list at:

    The reason that your magical tool doesn't exist is that there are too
    many variables between file formats which may or may not have equivalents in
    the other packages. So there are usually a number of gotchas when
    translating from one format to another. This even pops up with packages that
    support importing only a few specific competitors formats so imagine the
    possible issues trying to import every data format across the market.
    i.e. Just as a simple example, package A supports polygon area cutouts,
    package B doesn't, so how do you convert package A files correctly into
    package B format. Or another example, in EDA program Pads it supports
    non-round vias (square/rectangular), Protel doesn't so all translations to
    Protel have the pads changed to round and then the sizing is usually an
    issue. Another example I am familiar with is also a PADs - Protel
    conversion issue, PADs readily supports special 'drawn' pad shapes, Protel
    doesn't, at least not cleanly. Translations also usually take manual
    intervention and clean-up at levels from minimal to extensive, for these
    reasons and others.

    Take that and throw in all the variables across all the differing
    levels/types of packages available and you have a huge nightmare. Then throw
    on top of that you have a huge expectation for a 100% clean conversion from
    'most' users and you can see the train collison coming even before it

    Even when you have a package that says it imports a bunch of competitive
    formats, proceed with caution. In most cases there is a limited/restrictive
    list of compatible versions for those formats. Don't trust a package that
    advertises conversions to do so wholely and completely across all versions.
    In some cases they are only supported once the file is saved/converted to an
    ASCII version (or other intermediary format, not the normal file storage
    format), i.e. Pulsonix. They are specifically targeted and intended for
    users of the other system to be able to purchase the new CAD tool and
    convert/import their old designs into the new tool. i.e. The customer has
    the original program and can do the conversions to ASCII and/or save in the
    previous supported version formats that are suitable for importing to the
    new tool.
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