PCB Design Software

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by rmeghdies, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. rmeghdies

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 7, 2011
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    Hey everyone,

    I was wondering if somebody can recommend free PCB design software.
    I found quite a few online and I just wanted which one was best, based on your experiences?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Are u looking to buy one or a good free one ?
     
  3. rmeghdies

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 7, 2011
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    A free one
     
  4. Felo

    Member

    Feb 20, 2012
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    I have been using NOVARM DIPTRACE for years now, it has never let me down, if I can't find a pattern or component I just draw it in my CAD software and export it to one library, these are among many other usefull features, plus it has a 300 pin limited edition for hobbyst which would be enough for many projects. Very recomended have a look at it.
     
  5. rmeghdies

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 7, 2011
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    Thanks for the tip :)
    What CAD software are you using by the way?

    I'm graduating this April and with school at out of the way I can finally focus on doing projects of my own.
     
  6. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    EAGLE, no debate! By far one of the best ones out there. The lite version does have a few minor limitations, but not anything that will affect you much. It's free and is very user-friendly, and is well-known around the world. You can find the download link here.
     
  7. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Go here and knock ur socks off.
     
  8. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Pretty much the same link as mine :D
     
  9. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
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    Is it ? !!.. didn't see tht.
     
  10. Felo

    Member

    Feb 20, 2012
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    You can use any CAD that has DXF exporting capabilities, anyway diptrace comes with and integrated program to draw patterns and component simbols, not as good as it could be but is functional.

    Personaly I use ACAD 2004. (Sometimes I work as a technical drawer of electric installs and wiring for anyone willing to pay!!)
     
  11. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    A lot of people like Eagle, but I found its logic hard to fathom. DipTrace, on the other hand, was easy to learn. I liked it so well, I paid for the 500 pin version, and have never regretted it.
     
  12. panic mode

    Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2011
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    i use KiCad, it is open source and it is fairly straight forward.
     
  13. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    I have to agree with panic on Kicad. While not without quirks I do find much to like about it. It does dxf export too.

    I'm not going to grue about quirks as the price is right.
     
  14. justtrying

    Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
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    I think eagle is not that bad considering it is free, but it is not without its issues. Library management is the problem there, but I found it quite usable when actually making a PCB design (after the library struggle/nightmare). I thought that, for the most part, it was easier to use than AutoCad.
     
  15. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I use Express PCB. It is what I used in this thread...

    How I make PCBs

    I suspect Eagle is better, but it is harder to use (once you climb the learning curve you don't go back).

    Express is free, fairly intuitive. The only problem is you have to go through contortions to make the transfers, since the people offering intend for you to use it so they can make your PCBs.
     
  16. chrisw1990

    Active Member

    Oct 22, 2011
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    i personally use altium.. but thats far from free.. and doesnt just do pcb and library stuff (fpgas etc..) but i tried using eagle once and sadly i got completely and utterly bewildered by the multi window interface.. maybe i didnt give it enough time but i switched back straight away :) and the eagle limitations arent very helpful.. couldnt do half the stuff i do on eagle
     
  17. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Another vote for Diptrace... MUCH better than Eagle.. I've used both.. Diptrace beats it hands down as far as ease of use/quick learning curve.. I even payed for Diptrace after using the free version for a while.

    Anyone that recommends Eagle just hasn't used Diptrace enough..
     
  18. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    As long as you use their service ExpressPCB is a very nice free tool set for both schematic capture and layout. The layout editor can accept netlists from other programs too.

    Both tools seem to have the shortest "backend" time where you are either creating schematic symbols or layout footprints.
     
  19. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I used ExpressPCB for a little while before I got EAGLE. What I didn't like about it was that you could only use their service to manufacture your boards, and their prices tended to be a little over-the-top. I also didn't care much for their schematic editor (ExpressSCH) because nothing was color-coded (made it harder for me to follow :p). I tried EAGLE once and was hooked. For me it was very easy to figure out and, after a quick lesson on basic PCB design conventions and tricks, I was set. I've never gone back since. Also, it is easy to create Gerber dates from eagle files, so most PCB manufacturing companies will accept them. That's my experience, anyway.

    Regards
     
  20. Felo

    Member

    Feb 20, 2012
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    So is Diptrace wining the election? or is it EAGLE?? , since I am here I have to say I too tryed using EAGLE as at the time it was the more "trendy" choice, but the multi window scared me away within minutes, I could'n do anything, then I was kind of ashamed that a software slaped me in the face like that, so I removed it and never saw each other since.

    I still think you should pull your own hair and try, see what works for you, at least you won't lose anything trying.

    On another note, a while back I thought of making a PCB router/mill based on the HPGL languague with a ROLAND MODELA driver, and in my quest for a PCB package that could natively export a design and throw it right in to the router, found diptrace, it has an edge export wich do just that, a feature not seen very often.

    See attachments and tell me, Is that a cool feature or what....!!!!

    I would like to see EAGLE doing something like this!!!!!! heheheh

    Good luck.
     
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