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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.

It’s reccomended to use the Inches, 2:4, and Keep Leading and Trailing Zeros format options. Other options may result in errors due to insufficient metadata in the file.

Protel will create two drill output files that end in .DRL and .TXT. The TXT file is the one we use for production and must be present.

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.

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 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.