PCB design software

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by ebeowulf17, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. ebeowulf17

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    I've been using the freeware (no commercial use) version of Eagle CAD for personal projects and getting fairly comfortable with it, but now I want to do some a design for work, and it's a large enough board to require the "Standard" license as opposed to the "Light" license. Eagle CAD "Standard" is more money than we want to spend right now.

    Does anyone have recommendations for less expensive (or freeware) schematic and PCB layout software that they like? I tried Eagle first because it has such a large user base (support community) and it was a free download, but now I'm wondering if I'd be better off with something else for work projects.

    Thanks all!
     
  2. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
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    Take a look at the gEDA Project.

    It's free -- GPL -- and unlimited. Being a tool chain, instead of a suite, makes it more difficult to learn, but it is complete to my knowledge.
     
  3. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Did you try the free ExpressPCB?
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    I will ALWAYS recommend Diptrace..
    I use it professionally and love it.
    VERY easy to use... Very powerful/capable.
     
  5. ebeowulf17

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    Wow, Diptrace looks pretty slick! I like that there's a freeware version for my hobby projects. I might give it a try. Looks like the cheaper licenses would cover our current needs, and they have a very friendly upgrade policy. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll report back once I get a chance to try it out.
     
  6. ebeowulf17

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    Diptrace is so much nicer and easier to use than Eagle! So far I haven't found any features missing, but I've found lots of things that work better. I've got my first design done and basically ready to send out for quotes. As long as the fab people don't have any problems with the exported files, I'm totally sold on Diptrace!
     
  7. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Out of curiosity.. Who is your "fab people"..
    I can't recommend itead enough.. best pricing I've found (example.. you get 10 pcs 5cm x 5cm boards for 9.90 plus shipping.. and thats the price for all 10 boards.. not each) .. and they accept gerber.
    http://imall.iteadstudio.com/open-pcb/pcb-prototyping.html
    I think it took a bit over 2 weeks to get my order and the boards were perfect quality..
     
    JWHassler likes this.
  8. tshuck

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2012
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    I use KiCAD - it's free, open source and powerful.
     
  9. ebeowulf17

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Aug 12, 2014
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    In this case, I was referring to large scale production at work, which is being handled by a company called Out of the Box. They're assemblers, but they're also handling the PCB sourcing for us.

    I'll definitely keep itead in mind for smaller personal projects where their pricing on short runs would really come in handy. After seeing your post about them, I briefly considered trying them for a small prototype run to test the new design, but it sounds like a lot of people have had bad luck with them with turnaround times. I can take that chance on a personal project, especially for such great savings, but not for real work.

    Thanks again for recommending Diptrace! Freeware might have been nice, but it's well worth paying for having such an intuitive interface along with great import/export capability, etc.
     
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