Protel 99 SE

Protel is the predecessor of Altium Designer. It is no longer developed or supported by Altium, so it’s recommended that you upgrade to Altium Designer or the free offering, Altium CircuitMaker.

We do take Protel gerbers and drill files in a zip file.

Generating Gerbers and NC Drill File

Our system expects the gerber and drill files to all be aligned to an absolute coordinate origin. You’ll want to reset the design origin of your file to absolute, and then use the absolute origin option when generating gerbers and the drill file.

We need the drill file to be set to Inches, 2:4, and Keep Leading and Trailing Zeros.

Protel will create two drill output files that end in .DRL and .TXT. We need the one that ends in .TXT; you can leave out the .DRL file since it’s a binary and we don’t use it.

Naming Scheme

The default naming scheme Protel uses to create gerbers matches our suggested naming scheme so there shouldn’t be any need to rename the files. We recommend leaving the .DRL file out of your zip file, since we don’t need it. We use the .TXT file to get drills information.

Board Outlines

We need a watertight board outline on its own layer with no extra text or measurements. This tells us where the fab should mill the edges of the board, and where to cut any internal slots or cutouts.

Protel may put the board outline in the KeepOut layer (corresponding to the .GKO gerber), or the Mechanical 1 layer (the .GM1 gerber file). When our site tries to find it, though, it looks at all the .GM and .GKO files until it finds one that isn’t empty.

If you’re getting errors during the upload, or if the preview images look wrong, we recommend removing all of the .GM and .GKO files that do not have the expected board outline. Then change the extension of the gerber layer that matches our desired outline to .GKO to ensure our system will find it.