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 V26 Release August 2022.
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edrees

United Kingdom
769 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2022 :  12:34:27  Show Profile  Visit edrees's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just reading through the new "exciting features" of V26 and again, I feel that some of these new features are more likely to complicate the design process and perhaps allow more errors to be introduced rather than be eliminated.

EPC already allows Users to "skin cats" in numerous ways and each one of us already have developed our own "preferred way" of doing things, despite new methods/techniques being introduced in new releases to achieve the same result.

Personally, I would have welcomed the ability of a proper "bitmap to vector" import feature (as available in the free KiCad package). Many Users have commented on the problems they've encountered with the existing Bitmap Import feature which just doesn't work for traditional Gerber export (not sure about the new IPC2561 format in V26?)

I update EPC annually, and I usually spend some time experimenting with the new features, but I'm afraid that in V26 I'll probably be just setting even more "switches" to off and ignoring these "enhancements". No doubt, some Users will disagree with me.....

Iain Wilkie

United Kingdom
1011 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2022 :  13:55:09  Show Profile  Visit Iain Wilkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ed,

My very thoughts as well and you have described so well, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Iain
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Peter Johnson

United Kingdom
493 Posts

Posted - 05 Aug 2022 :  15:54:43  Show Profile  Visit Peter Johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I could spout a lot of weasel words, but the fact is that after 26 releases there aren't many exciting new features which could be added.

TheIPC2561 is obviously a useful alternative to Gerber output especially since Mentor bought out Valor, effectively appropriating ODB++ for their own use. The other offerings are based on user requests fed back to us through the year, so even if they seem trivial, someone has asked for them.

The problem with raster to vector conversion is that it's not easy to do. It's even harder to do it well, which is why some top end programs dedicated to this sell for a four figure sum. It's also a niche area of expertise. Agreed, it would be nice, but most of the low cost attempts to do this (including Corel Draw - often quoted) struggle to produce a polished result. Given the difficulties of coding for it, that it's not a mainstream function of the program, and that DXF import can be used to circumvent the need in most cases, the resources required to implement this to an acceptable level would far outweigh any likely benefit so it's really a non-starter, even when offered by some competition..
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trev@tswelectronics

United Kingdom
1 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2022 :  10:19:13  Show Profile  Visit trev@tswelectronics's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Concerning the bitmap to vector feature. The workaround if I remember correctly is to use some custom font that has the bitmap imported as a character.

I have used this a long time back so I know it works.

Maybe there is some open source code available that enables bitmap to font conversion and then NumberOne could do a nice clever integration of this into a function to allow bitmaps to be handled in a custom way?

Just an idea, maybe it has already been considered and found to be a can of worms.

Trev

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Peter Johnson

United Kingdom
493 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2022 :  10:36:33  Show Profile  Visit Peter Johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If you've got a bitmap, in order to use it in a plot, at some point it has to be converted to vectors. I believe True Type fonts are vectors, so any custom font program which accepts bitmaps is going to have to incorporate a vector converter in order to create the font. The path used to get to a vector is irrelevant. The stumbling block is that somehow the bitmap must be converted to vectors at some point regardless of the overall approach.
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edrees

United Kingdom
769 Posts

Posted - 14 Sep 2022 :  15:11:49  Show Profile  Visit edrees's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In the past I have tried Inkscape (free) to trace bitmaps, but not had very good results and gave up.

I believe it's possible to import bitmaps into KiCad, then generate the Gerber and then re-import the Gerber back into EasyPC. When I retire, I might have enough time to experiment with this!

Perhaps NumberOne systems might like to consider producing a KiCad source import feature (as well as BoardMaker)?
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Iain Wilkie

United Kingdom
1011 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2022 :  08:56:05  Show Profile  Visit Iain Wilkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have simply used FAB3000 to convert bitmap to DXF and then importing the dxf into EPC.There is always a wee bit of tweeking needed but it seems to work.


Iain
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Peter Johnson

United Kingdom
493 Posts

Posted - 15 Sep 2022 :  10:27:28  Show Profile  Visit Peter Johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Importing Gerber is a cost option, so there's expense involved with that route, but I've submitted a request for KiCad import under DMS 52502.
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