Technical Support and the Latest Information for
- Vutrax Version 12.4a -
Vutrax 12.4a is planned for release in September
2002 for Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 3.51, NT 4.0, 2000,
XP, and Linux
The primary content of
this bulletin is an outline of the enhancements.
Operational details of the changes are embedded in the
Graphics files are
interchangeable with Vutrax
12.0, 12.1, 12.2 &
12.3. Other files are forward
compatible, and in general
backwards compatible, new features are preserved but
- Availability -
When available, this
issue of the software can be supplied from Downloads
situated on our Web site (www.vutrax.co.uk) or
supplied on a CD-ROM.
Those who have subscribed
to the Support and Update
Rights Agreement and require a
CDROM should return:
'Download' customers will need to contact us to
arrange for a configuration file.
'Freeware' customers can update from downloaded materials
alone. The same 256 pin
limits and indefinite use
Users who have NOT
subscribed to 'Support and
Update Rights' and would like
to know more details of the costs involved,
please telephone or e-mail the Computamation
- Vutrax 12.4a Enhancements -
- Interactive facilities that
generate 'backup' files now append the .bak extension
to the current extension, keeping different
backup files for different jobs distinct.
Automatic Saving features have
been enhanced to include much more control of the name
used by DRAFT, and
enable/disable and internal specification for the SEE Text
Editor. Both DRAFT and the SEE Text Editor default
HELP and Tutorials now includes
selection to format the output for printing, and, depending
on the volume, print
one or more of just one page, the whole section, or
the whole volume. This is particularly useful when
working through the
- 3 additional commands now set the
'Optimise Required' marker on the selected signal:-
and 'BLINK' setting options now include picking
Signal Routes, sequencing between zero widths
fillets) and an explicit range of points.
points in suitable protected structure, such as part names in
schematic symbols, can be updated and/or moved
with a simple confirmation, rather than changing modes.
- Draft now assumed Schematic (SCHEM) mode when started on a new file.
- The parameters dialogue box after
selecting Browse has been changed to automatically select
Always Browse so that
the image will not need repainting next time you want
to browse. If you explicitly cancel this setting, it is
invoked again during the session.
- The BREAK command on a
named structure can opt to apply the original name, or leave
them un-named to one or more
of the fragments.
- 'BANDING' control can be used to provide your own prompt
when you create your own function key or toolbar buttons
- New command options, 'OUTLINE' is
introduced to provide explicit control of outline drawing
direction, and to show the
effect of milling a particular set of cut-outs and
profiles. The new Plot Milling
outputs (see below) are
generally intended to
use the automatic sequencing and direction settings.
However, complex requirements require the user to draw
the required order, hence the OUTLINE command provides
schemes for determining current outline order and to
Draft can now
determine which pads are plated
or non-plated through the
pad definition, by the presence/absence of the
keyword CNCNONPTH and also
CNCMILL which can be used for
large holes that require milling as opposed to NC
'GROUNDPLANE' facility now
identifies separately generated sections of groundplane by
naming the outline and fill to
identify the signal name,
layer and a sequence count of
separately generated areas for each signal and layer. The name takes the form:-
Also removing groundplanes has an
equivalent selection feature, a multiple selection box for
you to choose which you want
removed. Useful if you want to remove groundplanes from
a particular layer or for a particular signal.
Also Groundplane automatically
sequences the outlines structure to fill.
Includes logical checks that
connectivity is not assumed though holes designated
Non-PTH, and that milling
objects are not confused with signals.
- Any structure with one or more
Component Pads is checked to ensure that none of the
Pads or VIAs include
either CNCMILL or CNCNONPTH in any of the
pad shape definitions.
- Structures named CNCMILL that
include component pads.
Checks that the SIDE layer
settings are compatible between the Original Artwork and the
New Rats Nest.
EMCritic and Powerplane
and Back Modify
Includes in the .LAY file
details of the
position, size, orientation
and content of Script text
found in the
Component silkscreen outline, thus these script points can
be preserved throughout a new layout.
normally applied when a new silk screen is generated
using this layout file.
If the Layout file
(.LAY) contains information on how Script text points in
the Silkscreen boxes has been altered
then these changes are applied as the new silk screen
Any 'value' script
(designated by containing '#' in the library
symbol) is still normally assigned the device value,
ignoring any different string in the layout file (.LAY).
Changes to position, size and orientation are preserved.
Script points are added to a PCB silk screen then they
should be added at the end of the silk screen
Two additional Extra Options are
available in the
'suppress' group box:-
Script Update (-YC) - This option
completely suppresses the script update feature. Rats Nest
as in Vutrax 12.3b
Value Update (-YV) -
When the script update feature
is active, this option preserve the 'value' text from the
layout file, rather than assigning the value to match
the net list/schematic.
- Provides a means of obtaining and
manipulating the time
stamp of a file from within
- Command 'TOUCH' can be used to
alter the time stamp(s) of files.
- Command 'FC' has improved
options for skipping whitespace and indents.
- Command has arithmetic calculation
capabilities for both integer and floating point.
- PRINTFRM detects when the direct printer output options
specified are incompatibly with the operating system,
and modifies them.
- The [Search] for files
feature now writes the result to a file as well.
New Plot facility
MILLING which can directly generate
output for Routing (board cutting) machines. Milling can be
used for creating slots and pierced areas within a PCB,
and for cutting the outer profile(s) of the finished
board or panel of
The artwork must be prepared in such a way that an
outline structure(s) are named CNCMILL<PRIORITY>, where
<PRIORITY> (optional) is usually a number e.g. CNCMILL1 which
determines the order of the milling sequence. Also
large holes that require milling as opposed to NC
Drilling can be named CNCMILL in the Pad
Definition. The new Draft
Outline facility (see above) can be used to determine the
direction of the cutter and display, Blinking or Picked,
cut-out and profile structures.
Also 'mill_to_vutrax.mxy' can
be used to create a Draft viewable milling sequence. If
you use mill_to_vutrax.mnb you
will see a simple 'stick
diagram'. Using a
'real' .mnb tool specifications you will see the actual
- Plot can generate CNC drill
data or drill charts sensitive
to Plated-through (drilled prior to plating) from holes
NOT be plated through (drilled
after plating, often along with profile milling). By
default holes are expected to be plated
through. Every Fixed Hole
(FH) and Hole (H) in the artwork
is examined to see whether the Pad shape
field starts CNCNONPTH, or a referenced pad needed to plot be
plotted on one of the specified layers is also
- Photoplotting using Gerber 274X
changes the orientation of
thermal rings to match the graphics display, and provides
and option to choose your own orientation. By default
the orientation is now set to 45 degrees.
- Plot standard control files now introduce no plot offset for any of CNC
Drilling, Gerber Photoplotting or
Mixing and matching numeric control sequences produces
- New facility 'PANELIZE' provides a
facility for automating the production of 'panels' of a
given artwork on larger production
Artwork size determination includes
all layers, and the physical size of artwork elements.
If the drawing board size limits
are exceeded there is a warning which includes the first
erroring coordinate, but you are allowed to continue. The
system assumes a new file extension .PNL for 'panelized'
Warning: The panelized form is a
manufacturing output. The original artwork should be
preserved for use in
Vutrax is a registered trademark of Computamation Systems Ltd.