Oil 4 Less® LLC
3 Monroe Pkwy #P-321,
Lake Oswego OR 97035
Robert Baer, owner

High Voltage Zener
from Oil 4 Less® LLC


Eagle CAD rant

This is a part of what may be a continuing series.

Eagle "calligraphy"

..since at least Eagle ver 5 if not earlier. Did you know that the produced Gerbers in cases DO NOT reflect what you see on the screen?

Now, someone pointed out that Gerbers are vector. True, but that has nothing to do with fonts or anything else except the Gerber strokes as a collection, are supposed to represent the original: a PCB pad, a logo scribble, Cyrilic font, Arabic font, or any other font AS CREATED AND SEEN ON THE SCREEN.

MOST irritating is that any text in Proportional OR Fixed font on the screen is rendered as Eagle's vector font. In Eagle, find Options and select pulldown "User interface" and see near middle, "Misc".

Note the checkbox "Always vector font" is UNCHECKED; Does that not imply to NOT convert?

Well, looking at the .BRD file, one sees the SAME instruction. In effect, THERE ARE NO FONTS, just one cast-in-concrete "vector" font.

Next, that the (vector font) characters look stunted; most especially the "R" which looks as if its legs were sawed off. The screen version is elegant; you will NOT get what you see.

Also, some of the vector font symbols are totally trashed, for example the Registered Trademark symbol ® looks like a rotated "L" and there is no replacement unless one wishes to construct one using a circle and (at least on the screen) a "R"; result has the inelegant and trashy looking vector font "R".

Such junk is not seen unless one uses an independent Gerber viewer.

Let us look at the Eagle screen fonts; the image                     And what you get on the PCB:

that you would like to see on your PCB:


Note CAREFULLY that each font has its own characteristics AS SEEN ON THE SCREEN.
Most especially that the Vector font "transforms" special symbols to unusable junk.

Now I have modfied an Eagle (Ver 7) .BRD file, and changed text lines designated as Vector to Fixed and/or Proportional; that DOES work for what you see.    NOTE this strategy DOES NOT change the resulting PCB font.


Therefore, if you want decent calligraphy, you will have to eXplicitly do it yourself.

Eagle "ghosting duplication"


Now, on occasion, a layer may "inherit" AND/OR "ghost" something from another layer, and move the position as well.

In one particular case, (so to speak) without asking, a text got solder-masked (the "ghost" because i never saw it since i do not bother turning that layer on).
And that solder mask was (o be polite) mis-positioned.

Unseen, at the same time, a placed circle (layer 1 Top, made for no hole in center) got duplicated in layer 30 Bstop and position was changed (here is the "ghosting").

Furthermore, that layer 1 circle got duplicated in layer 290 Tstop and the position was ALSO changed.

You see that original circle now in layer 16, positioned properly, and duplicated and moved to the left in layer 1. Also, it got duplicated to the right, layer 1

The result was a total mess.

SO, VERY carefully review ALL layers on the screen at minimum and fix as needed.

Use a Gerber viewer to double-check the results, especially fonts.

Eagle printing to PDF

Now, on occasion, it would be nice to document your          So you print to the PDF printer:

work; see screen shot of board with tOrigins, tNames:


Notice that the names are lost (look at the small squares). To add insult to injury, notice that the registered
trademark you so carefully emulated to produce something reasonable in copper, is totally decimated.

Ain't Eagle WONDERFUL?

Naturally, because a rich owner of Eagle has decided to also be greedy, expect these problems WILL NEVER be fixed.

Possible Eagle font work-around

Since Postscript has the majority of fonts avilable, use the Script font:


Use GhostScript to convert to bitmap and then the ULP to import as a scanned image (import-gerber.ulp).

Open Postscript font sample listing