Engineering Software Companies going "To the Cloud"?
This morning I read something on Jim Quanci's blog Dances with Elephants. Jim is from Autodesk, one of the big names in design and engineering software and probably one of the largest vendors of desktop software around. His blog illuminates the acquisition "dance" from the buyer's perspective and is an interesting and recommend read for budding entrepenuers. This morning's article talks about how companies currently building desktop software should be approaching the cloud, and at one point asks "Still Have Doubts?"
Well, yes. Doubts are healthy and rational, and I think it makes sense to consider some of the risks in going "to the cloud". I've been developing systems with substantial "cloud" components for about a decade (in fact it's what I left Autodesk to do), and I have never shaken the doubts.
First, from an economic point of view, it seems there is sublime shift in burden when moving desktop ultity (what the software does) to the cloud. The current model has the customer paying for computation (the price of their desktop PCs and internal servers) as well as the software. With cloud services the customer sees only the cost of the software (service), with the vendor accepting and bundling-in the cost of computation. The net outlay by the customer may be the same, but there is significant risk that the vendor will not be able to recover that cost. The common assumption being that the "multi-tenancy" of cloud offering allows the vendor to achieve inefficiencies by re-using and tuning compute capacity based on actual demand.
But that isn't automatic. In practice the customer needs to be prepared to pay more *to the vendor* for the same utility plus covering the computation (at least a portion). This is unlikely to happen.
And that is my second concern. The unfortunate fact is that in the world of mobile and cloud software there is an expectation of paying less (or even nothing) for utility. The perception of value has been altered so substantially by the $.99 app and the "free to use" start-up that
a critical mass of customer may no longer be willing to support the shifted costs. For engineering applications where substantial computation is needed, this is a particularly precarious risk. Even more unfortunately, as marketplaces proliferate and desktop software delivery becomes more 'app store'-like (see Windows 8) the value perception of desktop software is likely to decline as well. If you want to know what it's like to compete in a a 500,000 or million strong app-store, find an ISV that's been there and ask. It isn't pretty. Competing with free, low-cost "simple" apps is the norm. Offering high-value products in the same space is extremely difficult. Hence the vicious circle creating more and more simple apps.
My third concern (I'll stop here) is the brand risk is offering free or low-cost services is substantial. Marketing probably isn't my greatest strength, but I strongly aware of the importance and value in maintaining a trusted premium brand. Once eroded, it is very rarely restored. While it may feel good to have thousands or millions of downloads of a free app, if the perception of value (or worse, quality) is low there is inescapable damage to the brand. Any MBA program's library of case studies can provide decades of cautionary examples.
Yes, the cloud is awesome-sauce. It is a place where fortunes have an will continue to be made. However, to Jim's article's FUD point on risk, ISV's should go in with knowledge that their current business model will not work in the cloud. Re-think everything you do in that context and approach it for how it helps create opportunities for new ways to do things that are even more valuable than the old ways. Forget about the simple apps, and focus on *systems* with high utility that are only possible where you span the desktop, mobile and cloud access and infrastructure. In short, learn to love the web but keep the desktop.
That's what your kids want.
 Yes, I know I appear hypocritical here since circuitpeople.com is free. To make it worse, I've offered very low cost software in the mobile space since the 90's, too. On the other hand, it does perhaps allow me some authority to speak to the point.
We need a Packaging Convention for PCB fabrication that works
I've written a longer post on why I think the time has come for creating a convention-based
packaging solution for PCB fabrication data. IPC has their solution on the table,
and I think it is wrong-headed. So here is my proposal for
open packaging conventions for gerber files
Also, if you are a PCB123 user and Arduino fan you might be interested this Arduino Shield Template for PCB123.
Where does CircuitPeople.com go from here?
I want to cover a couple ideas in this post, both on the theme of *you*. Creative,
inventive people are the core of what made this site interesting to me, and what
keeps me motivated to improve and promote it. If I could only have helped one person
get something built faster, better or cheaper it would have been worthwhile. It's
done much more than that and I really couldn't be more pleased about it. But more
on that later.
Before going into how the site's done, I want to start talking and thinking about
what it *will* do. My vision for this site is to enable what I call "collaborative
design review". That's a little too grand of a term because I'm hyper-focused on
the manufacturing phase of PCB design. I want to make it much, much easier -- even
the "default" -- to get peer review on designs before sending them to manufacture.
Maybe those peers will be from the internet at large (for an open hardware project,
for example) or perhaps they will be your coworkers, contractors or suppliers in
a secure private review. Whatever the case, that kind of review should happen and
receive the benefit of the best advice available to increase correctness, cost and
reliability of your printed circuit boards.
Unfortunately, I'm not an EE. I tinker with electronics, and with PCB design. I
know my way around tools like EAGLE, and helped build another PCB design tool (I'm
a software guy, clearly). So I need *your help* and your suggestions. To help out
with that, I've created a place to record them over at http://circuitpeople.uservoice.com.
If you have suggestions, bugs, comments or any other feedback for us, and you don't
mind it being public, please head over there and let us know. The UserVoice system
lets you add suggestions, vote for ones you like, and find out if we start working
on (and maybe even complete!) your suggestion. It's a great tool, and I look forward
to seeing suggestions come it (I'm a little cynical, so I also half-expect to see
few if any -- :) ).
Update on our Results
Now to look back a bit. At the time I created this site I wanted to give the community
a way to create really good looking renderings of their gerber files without having
to pay for or register some commercial software. I think the site does a great job
of this, and apparently so did a *lot* of other people. Since its inception, more
that 85K people have used the site and that number is growing faster than ever before
(have the other gerber views gotten worse?). More than 60% are from outside the
US, representing every continent (I can't actually confirm the Arctic -- anyone
know what IP addresses are there?) and 159 countries. Hundreds of thousands of images
have been created for you. I couldn't be more pleased. And, that level of positive
response is why I'm committed to making the site better and better for you -- so
And, never fear, my committment to leave this site ad-free and free-to-use is as
strong as ever. My strongest "Thanks" to everyone for using circuitpeople.com!
Embed our Gerber Viewer on *your* Website, Blog, or whatnaught.
I would like to see a lot more PCB designs being shared around the interwebs, where
they can inform and educate in a free and open way. Don't get me wrong, I all for
keeping some designs close to the chest for commercial reasons. But there is a lot
of room for sharing -- better sharing -- in this industry. So, the latest feature
we're working on here allows you to embed the code for any set of gerbers you upload
into other web pages. Here is an example (the FEZ Domino board):
For each of your uploaded packages you will find the embedding code down at
the bottom of the ViewPackage page, along side the sharing by email option.
I would really like to see this integrated with PCB discussion forum software and
websites. So talk to us if you have such a site and are interested in allowing your
visitors to visualize gerber files.
Is this the "death" of the PCB auto-router?
Probably not. Auto-routing is a key, sometimes critical, feature of PCB design tools.
Routing itself is such a intrinsic part of the PCB design process that it is an
assumption. A PCB *is* the routing, to a large extent. So much so that many still
refer to them by the traditional name "printed wiring board". Wiring,
as in wires, as in linear traces from point-A to point-B.
Well, here is a completely different take on how to get electrons moving from place
to place, from pin to pin on your next PCB. The critical requirement is, of course,
that they connect to the same peice of copper. The copper doesn't need to be
linear, or have pads. Power planes (copper ours), for example, are often odd-shapes.
Marsette Vona, recently used the idea of Voroni diagrams to create "least effort"
isolation paths for milling PCBs from copper clad board. His project,
Visolate, takes Gerber files as input and generates CNC milling codes. Here
is what that transformation looks like for the gerber files for the Ardupilot board:
Original gerber on the left, and Visolate cutting paths (voroni diagram) on the
right. The result is not traditional looking but, erroneous handling
of "stroked" copper pour aside, it is a functional PCB and, with the proper
solder mask, solderable. The point here is that the effort to mill that PCB is far,
far (like an order of magnitude) less effort than to isolate each of the traces
as drawn in the gerber files. Less effort means less cost and less environmental
impact (though that needs to be balanced with the greater consumption of copper,
assuming the copper removed in traditional process is reclaimed and recycled).
While Visolate works from Gerber files, which means routing already happened. But
it could work equally well from just the pin positions and rats nest (aka. net list).
The advantage would be eliminating the need for routing entirely. From a practical
standpoint, that would be hard to generalize and make work for complex designs.
But, most designs aren't complex. For the home prototyper, or PCB fabricator
looking for a less expensive way to serve the hobby market, this seems like a nice
place to start.
Ordering PCBs without ever generating Gerber Files? Now, that would be intersting!
P.S.: My great sympathies to Marsette and his struggles with the "undocumented
details" of the Gerber file format as expressed in the acknowledgements. If
you're working on Gerber File parsing and rendering solutions, please give us
a shout. We're here @circuitpeople to help.
Fun with Words
This is a word cloud (Wordle, more specifically) created from the text of this blog.
It's a fun bit of visualization, and confirmation that I'm staying true
to the topic:
Now can feel better about diverging?
The Joy of Aperture Files (or, why RS-274D should die)
Gerber files provide endless "fun" for PCB fabricators, assemblers and
the like. Saavy CircuitPeople.com users may have found some of your Gerber RS-274D
files failed to display on our site. Not many people use the older "D"
files (less than 10% of the uploads here, overall) but I still feel it is important
to fix problems when I find them. Here is an example of one recent oddity in an
Photo-Plotter Apertures Report
Position Width Hgt/ID Shape Qty
======== ===== ====== ===== ===
11 10 0 LINE
12 12 0 LINE
81 45 0 RND 40
98 130 30 ANNL 4
107 210 0 RND 32
See the problem? Aperture 98 caused the aperture file parser to crash. A basic assumption
I made with these old ".rep" files is that they only define apertures
from the "CROP" set (Circle, Rectangle, Obround and Polygon). I was wrong.
I can't be sure what the ANNL line stands for, though it's probably an "annular
ring" shape with outer size 130 mils and inner hole size 30 mils. The circle
shape in the Gerber format is perfectly capable of handling that, so I implemented
the fix for this easily and have it up on the site already.
Normally I wouldn't bother writing about this kind of little bug but this one
just perfectly illustrates the problem with "Gerber" (I use quotes around
the term because these aperture files really have nothing to do with the Gerber
format proper). Aperture files were invented to compensate for the lack of such
information in RS-274D. Many, many little variations exist from different CAD systems
on the content of these files depending on which CAD or CAM system created them.
Supporting Gerber RS-274D is something we're pretty proud of because of problems
like this, and we're glad to do it. But it sure would be nice if we could all
just move on over to Gerber RS-274X with it's superior (though still flawed)
And in that spirit we've introduced another new capability to the email auto-responder:
conversion of Gerber RS-274D and aperture files to standalone Gerber RS-274X files.
This service is free and no-strings-attached, so give it a try by sending the old
files to email@example.com.
Our robot will convert the "D" files to "X" and respond with
an attached Zip file containing the new files, the old files and images of each
Finally, we appreciate all the goodwill and positive feedback (as well as the constructive
criticism) we get from our users. Thank you!
Bad News and Good News
This weekend CircuitPeople.com was moved from one hosting provider to another. The
site was relocated from a dedicated peice of "iron" in a rack in a datacenter to
a virtual server hosted in Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud. Unfortunately the
move didn't go without a hitch, and for a short while (a week or so) some things
may not be quite "right" -- just let us know if you see something odd.
The good news about moving to EC2 that we will be able to dramatically improve performance.
Over the past two years, the number of gerber files rendered by the site has grown
dramatically. Our original design was simple, and served very well. However,
we can see a time in the near future when things will start to break and are working
to rebuild the "inner" workings to allow for continued growth. Along
the way we're planning on adding some useful new capabilities that will make
the site even more valuable to PCB engineers and designers. We've added a twitter
feed to the top of this page to make following our progress easier (if you're
PCB Panel Math and a Pre-Manufacturing Checklist
It always makes sense to get the most for your money, but perhaps a little more
so recently. To help out, we've posted a new article that goes into
how your PCB design fits onto panels and why you care. It's a
short-and-to-the-point look at an often overlooked cost optimization for custom
PCB manufacturing. At the bottom of the article you'll find a visual calculator
showing just how much panel utilization (and cost) can vary from one board size
to the next. Use it to see if you're getting the most for your
Moving from design to fabrication (ordering boards) for the first time can seem
daunting. It really isn't rocket science, and so we've put together a basic checklist of things you need
to provide to your manufacturer of choice. It isn't a complete list, but we're
hoping that some kind folks will help us fill in the blanks until we have somewhat
of a tutorial for those new to the PCB design ranks. If you feel like helping, drop
us an email.
What a Season
This has been a difficult Fall. An economic fall. A fall from
power. It's difficult to grasp the reality of so many trillions of dollars
in wealth evaporating over the course of a few short weeks. Was it real money
or not? It appears painfully real for many, many people. I cringe to
think of retirement accounts dropped in half, meaning more years of work for people
who have long since earned a rest. Ultimately, I worry that the incentive
to fix our broken system evaporated when 700 billion dollars were allocated to "solve"
it. Thankfully I don't hold the power to change it, and like 300 million
others I will make the best of it.
From the Mailbag: Why Gerber Files? Why Online?
Not that we get a lot of email with questions (EE's are a self-sufficient bunch),
but it's been asked often enough I thought we should answer it for everyone
here on the blog. Unfortunately I went a little overboard and ended-up with a few
pages worth of text on the background of the gerber format. So, please take a second
to read What is a Gerber File and let me know
how I did. The bottom line: Gerbers are important because they form
the de-facto communication line between PCB designers and PCB fabricators. Providing
this rendering service online was simply a way to make it available to the biggest
audience -- Linux, Windows and MacOS are supported simply because we're on the
web and attend to browser compatability.
On another note, we were really happy to be featured on the Make Blog today -- and
equally glad our server and software handled the load without blinking. It's
verification that our software components are robust and reliable even in high-traffic
Getting Make'd is a Good Thing
Sure, I've heard of the slashdot
effect, but I've been Make'd. Welcome to all the visitors from
Make Magazine's Blog today. I hope you find our little service useful!
There are two type of gerber files in the world: X and D. It's very easy to
tell the difference between the types, and here is how to do it:
- Open the file in notepad, wordpad, MS Word or any other text editor (even Internet
Explorer or Firefox)
- If you see a lot of percent signs, it's probably Gerber 274-X
- If you see no percent signs, it's probably Gerber 274-D
But what difference does it make? To PCB fabrication folks it makes a huge difference.
The stuff between the percent signs in a Gerber 274-X file defines the apertures,
polarity and other critical information about where the copper needs to be on your
circuit board. A Gerber 274-D file doesn't include that information,
so you need to supply at least one other file to give the manufacturer what they
need to understand your board. The aperture file usually has a file name that ends
in ".apr" or ".rep", but the format of the file will vary depending on which CAD
system was used to create it. There might be one aperture file per gerber file,
or one aperture file for all gerbers -- either case will work -- but they must be
supplied to make a complete set of information (plus drill data, outlines, etc.)
Here at CircuitPeople we need the aperture files, too. And as of today we added
a message to the ViewPackage page that tells the story:
We can't render a Gerber 274-D file by itself. That means if your CAD system
is stil outputting Gerber 274-D, you will need to put the Gerbers and apertures
into one zip file and upload them as one package. We simply can't render the
gerber without the apertures. My other recommendation for those still outputting
Gerber 274-D files is "stop." If at all possible, change the settings on your CAD
system to include the apertures in the gerber files.
Upgrades and Enhancements
We're happy to announce some upgrades to the CircuitPeople site today:
Better Gerber Rendering: We continue to refine our rendering technology
based on issues identified by users. If you've experienced problems viewing
files, it might be time to try those troublesome files once more.
This Blog: Since you're reading this, the existence of the blog should
be self-evident (I'm read, therefore I am). We'll be posting tidbits of
information that we find interesting, and hopefully you will find useful.
One of the topics we'll be addressing soon is who we are, and why we're
building this website.
Accounts and File Storage (Beta): Up until
now your use of www.circuitpeople.com has been completely annonymous. And, if you'd
like, it can stay that way. However, we also now allow you to create an account
and have your uploaded design packages saved on our servers. Sign-up for an account
on the registration page.
Spread the Word: We aren't advertising CircuitPeople.com, so
we count on old-fashioned "word of mouth" to reach new customers. If someone
you know might find our site interesting, please consider letting them know by signing-up
for an account and using the Spread the Word
form to send them a note.
Sharing: Finally, with an account you also get access to the "Sharing" ability
of the site. When logged-in, you'll find a place to share your design at the
bottom of the ViewPackage page. Just type in their
email address and click "Share". The person getting the email will be able to simply
click on a link and view the images from your design. We plan on ehnacing this sharing
capability substantially as time goes by.
Thank you for using CircuitPeople.com!
Embedded Systems Conference 2008
ESC is a fantastic place
to mingle with designers and engineers from all corners of the EDA and geographic
world. The theme of the keynote was bit retrospective (this was the 20th show)
but also raised the question "What is an embedded system?" A great question,
but a quick look around the room had me thinking "Who's an embedded engineer?"
Over the course of three days I had the great pleasure of chatting with
people from software, PCB, FPGA, ASIC, millitary and toy backgrounds (not to mention
many folks designing PCs and associated components). This show attracts a
really diverse and exciting crowd -- if you get a chance to attend next year's
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
What is a Gerber file, and why does it matter?
Let's cut to the chase: In a practical sense, Gerber files only matter because
they matter. It's kind of like Paris Hilton being famous for being famous. Once
upon a time, or maybe twice, there was a little company making machines to automatically
expose photographic film to light in a controlled manner. This was a great boon
to PCB designers because until this new kind of machine appeared they had been drawing
their circuits by hand (the lucky designers had the help of rolls of various widths
of black tape.) These "photoplotters" needed a control language, so the people building
them took from the popular machine control language of the time,
RS274, and modified it to suit their needs. The result was the informal
specification we in the PCB world calls "Gerber RS-274D". It's evolved
a little in the "Gerber
RS-274X" variation, but the heart of the format remains.
Fast-forward to today. Modern PCB manufacturing hardware rasterizes (i.e.
make pictures from) the input files to expose the film using precision lasers to
draw. These machines can (in theory) do their work given any sort of appropriately
scaled image file. So why throw gerber files at them? Because we always
have. In reality, Encapsulated Postscript would make a better format to send
to these machines. But until every part of the PCB fabricator's workflow
systems can support EPS, we're stuck with Gerber. It kind of sucks, because
nearly identical machines are used in the printing industry and sold for a fraction
of the price of the gerber-enabled machines for the PCB industry.
So, Gerber is basically a 20-year-old machine control language that is being used
as an image format; and that explains a lot about its many quirks.
Step and Repeat and Pre-Panelization
One common use of gerber file step and repeat commands (G36 and G37) is to create
multiple instances of a board design on a single sheet, probably with scoring or
perforation for later separation of the individual boards. Why? Usually to speed
the assembly and testing processes. Loading and unloading boards into stencil printers,
pick and place machines, solder machines, probe testers, etc. can consume a considerable
amount of time. By putting multiple boards through those same processes on a single
panel, a lot of time can be saved overall. This is a good thing.
On the down side, pre-panelizing your boards when going to a high-mix fabrication
shop can increase their manufacturing costs. How? Well, for small quantities
the fabricator will want to mix your boards on panels with other people's boards
to achieve the highest possible utilization of the available area. Fabricators like
to work with uniform size panels because it allows them to minimize loading and
fixturing costs. When "mixing and matching" boards onto panels, it's much easier
to fill all the space with small boards. Large boards can leave awkward spaces that
are difficult to fill (imagine a board that fills 100% of the panel height, but
only 51% of the width).
Oddly, it can be cheaper to pre-panelize when ordering via some fabricators. Nonetheless,
If you're going to pre-panelize small quantity orders, please keep in mind that
it may lead to greater waste. Generally, by contacting your circuit board fabrication
house you can negotiate the same price for individual boards as pre-panelized PCBs
(it's probably better for them anyway). Something to consider.
And, if you do pre-panelize please make sure your entire data set is correct. Here
at CircuitPeople we see various combinations of gerbers for copper, silk, mask and
stencils that are out of sync. It's very common for the drill (Excellon) and
mechanical files to be out of sync. For those of you creating completely accurate
sets of files for your manufacturers -- kudos!
One use I'd like to see for G36/G37 step and repeat in gerber files? BGA land
patterns and fanouts. With high-pin-count BGAs, it can save a huge amount of processing
and overhead to define the pads and via constructs once, and then pattern them 1000
times. Here's a sample:
Not bad for less than 20 gerber commands, eh?
APEX 2008 and EDA Mashups?
I'm just back from APEX, and what a great show it was this year -- I felt a
real sense of change and optimism on the exposition floor. Some long-awaited technologies
are arriving in production-ready form, promising to make it easier and faster to
innovate in the electronics space. By APEX 2008 I expect lead-times for PCB fabrication
and assembly will be down by a day or more. That's really, really cool.
While new hardware is cool (and absolutely critical to a thriving industry) perhaps
just as interesting is a new sense of "openness" being whispered. And I mean "openness"
in a variety of admirable forms: openness as in honesty; openness as in the willingness
to share; openness as in inclusion; and openness as in collaboration.
One beachhead of this "new openness" is Open Source software thriving in the embedded
systems space, and appearing in products big and small. Another beachhead appears
to be forming among some EDA "content providers": EAGLE is going to support XML
for version 6; Sunstone Circuits is talking about "barrier free" collaboration and
has opened their proprietary CAD system with a open-source SDK; RoHS compliance
information, part availability and pricing, component libraries -- they're all
out there for sharing.
So what is this building toward? IMHO, we're very close to seeing an explosive
event around "EDA Mashups". The web introduced the concept of a mashup when Google's
map technology hit the scene. Other so-called "Web 2.0" sites built on the concept
to create networks of interrelated applets (aka. gadgets). If you are interested
in this kind of innovation through integration and need a little more background,
you can get a good head start reading about
Mashups at Wikipedia.
If (when) shared EDA content is made available as web services I will incorporate
it at CircuitPeople. Maybe someone will start incorporating CircuitPeople's
viewing and rendering into their site. Where will it lead? I have no idea,
but it sure is going to be interesting...
I just wanted to put a note to everyone that although you may not see substantial
changes to the site, constant work is going on behind the scene to make our Gerber
file rendering the best it can be. Every day since Feb 29th we have improved something
about the site. Some of the changes have been small (like supporting APERTURE.LST
files, which are slightly different than most other aperture files) but there are
larger changes in the works as well.
Some Stats from GA
Just an interesting note from the Google Analytics data for the past seven days:
- We've processed more than 1,000 packages of gerber files. Wow!
- Just shy of 150 people used the service.
- Those requests originated from 35 countries.
- And 22 languages.
- Surprisingly, almost 50% of requests to the site were made from Firefox -- much
higher than "the conventional numbers".
Part of the reason for the large number of package uploads is that some folks are
uploading individual gerber files (as many as a dozen) instead of zipping them together
and uploading them all at once. There is a problem with sending Gerber 274-D
files one-by-one -- we can't render the gerber without the apertures.
Gerber 274-X files stand by themselves because of the embedded aperture information,
but if you're going to upload the "old style" Gerber 274-D files, please put
them into a zip file (e.g.: choose "Send To" and them "Compressed Folder" in the
Windows Explorer context menu for the folder containing the files) with the corresponding
We have some other work to do based on the above observations: We must start working
on Portuguese and Spanish translations of the site; And, our Firefox compatibility
must stay at a level matching or exceeding Internet Explorer.
Finally, we're still waiting for some gerber files using knockouts. Frankly
the gerber format specification just doesn't go into enough detail on this feature
and we'd like to have some real-world examples to guide our implementation.
Where'd We Go?
For some reason Google has dropped our site from their index. This is interesting
because the automated report from them indicated our site is "404" -- can't
be found. Obviously a bug on their part. The most frustrating thing
about this situation is that it's nearly impossible to contact anyone at Google
about it. My little enterprise is just one of several million on the web,
but I want to make sure it's as easy as possible to find for the people that
As of today, we're starting to track usage of the site with the infamous Google
Analytics. Why? It looks like this is going to be a fairly popular service,
and I'd like to understand some basics about who is using the site. GA
doesn't capture information about individuals, it only reports bulk statistics.
Two questions I hope it will answer quickly are:
- Should we invest in translating the site to other languages?
- How many browser types do we need to test compatibility with?
- How high is the resolution of most people's monitors?
Sure we could make assumptions about these things, or use the "commonly accepted
guidelines", but we'd rather get the data straight from the source -- the people
using our site.
That didn't take long. Within three days of opening the site we received
the first set of Gerber files that were encoded with incremental units (something
we didn't support until today). Fixed. That leaves two remaining
holes for us, one of which is Knockouts -- we don't support them at all.
If you have some gerber files that use KO parameters, please send them our way.
Welcome to CP
Seriously, welcome. I'm really glad you're here reading this, and
I'll be just ecstatic if you upload a few gerber files and provide CP with a
little feedback about the results.