DesignSpark PCB

For DesignSpark PCB users who want to mill their circuit board designs on the Othermill, here are instructions to generate Gerber files that can be imported into Otherplan.

What is DesignSpark PCB?

DesignSpark PCB is a free app for designing circuit boards. It runs on Windows.

Where do I get DesignSpark PCB?

You can download DesignSpark PCB here. You will need to create a DesignSpark account and activate it in order to use the software.

Where can I find documentation about DesignSpark PCB?

You can find DesignSpark PCB’s documentation here.

How do I get my board from DesignSpark PCB into Otherplan?

  • In the PCB Design module, click Output > Manufacturing Plots.
  • Click the Auto-Gen Plots button.
  • In the Auto-Gen Plots window, configure the following settings:

    • Electrical Layers: checked
    • Top: checked
    • Bottom: checked
    • Also include NC Drill plot: checked
    • All other options should be unchecked

DesignSparkAutoGenPlots

  • Click OK.
  • Three plots will be added to the list: Top Copper, Bottom Copper, and Drill Data - [Through Holes].
  • We will manually add the Outline plot. Click the Add Plot button, then select Gerber. This will add a new plot to the list, probably named ‘Plot 1’
  • Select Plot 1, and configure the following settings:

    • Output Tab
      • Plot Name: ‘Outline’
      • Plot Type: Outline

DesignSparkOutline

  • Layers Tab
    • Double-click [Board Outline] so that the Selected column displays a Y

DesignSparkOutline2

  • Select the Drill Data - [Through Hole] layer, and configure the following settings:

    • Settings Tab
      • Plated Holes: checked
      • Unplated Holes: checked
      • Plated Board Outlines: unchecked
      • Unplated Board Outlines: unchecked

DesignSparkDrillData

  • Click the Options button in the lower-right corner of the window.
  • In the Device Setup section, click the Gerber button.
  • Click the RS-274-X button
  • In the Format section, configure the following settings:

    • Integer: 2
    • Decimal: 4
    • Output in Metric Units: unchecked

DesignSparkGerber

  • Click OK.
  • Click the NC Drill button.
  • Configure the following settings:

    • Format: 2
    • Remove Duplicate Drill Holes: checked
    • Include Tool Sizes in Output File: checked
    • Separate Files for Plated & Unplated Holes: unchecked
    • Separate Tool Numbers across Drill files in one run: unchecked
    • Integer: 2
    • Decimal: 4
    • Output in Metric Units: unchecked

DesignSparkNCDrill

Import your Gerber files into Otherplan

  1. In Otherplan, click the Open Files button.
  2. Navigate to the directory that contains your Gerber files. This is usually the Plots folder inside your project folder.
  3. Open the Gerber file containing the Top Copper layer, which usually ends in Top Copper.gbr.
  4. In the resulting dialog, ensure the correct files are selected for the Bottom (if you’re milling a double-sided board; usually ends in Bottom Copper.gbr), Outline (usually ends in Outline.gbr), and Holes (usually ends in .drl). See the screenshot below for an example.
  5. Click Okay to finish opening the files.

DesignSparkImport Import dialog with all files selected.