PCB layout

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by capnray, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. capnray

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 3, 2010
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    I have Express PCB, and it seems to be an offshoot of Intellicad by Cadopia, however transferring files is not easy. I can design the schematic, link it to a board, design the boart and submit for creation, however I cannot use the board layout to create my own prototypes.

    Does anybody know of a program that allows "flipping/mirroring" of either or both sides of the layout? FreePCB requires a netlist...bummer.
     
  2. Pencil

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2009
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  3. capnray

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 3, 2010
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    Thanks, I was disappointed with Eagle in the past, will do the learning curve, sounds good. Thanks again.
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Diptrace is excellent with a very small learning curve.
     
  5. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    What kind of output files can you produce. You could perhaps use a free editor to mirror your output files. I think Adobe acrobat let you mirror PDFs in the printing process
     
  6. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    With FreePCB you can work freehand if you want. But I'm not sure if it has the ability to mirror-image part of a board. What you could do, though, is transfer a section of layout to the other side of the board, which might have the same effect.
     
  7. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I definitely prefer Eagle to ExpressPCB. It is much more user-friendly. I've designed several boards in the past using Eagle and I was very pleased.

    Der Strom
     
  8. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
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    And how big were your Eagle boards, with how many components? I hate their policy of making you pay more and more to get bigger more complex boards. FreePCB is what it says, Free.
     
  9. t06afre

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    Download a free PDF printer driver. Then use that to mirror the printout. Then print out the latter created PDF. This should solve your problem
     
  10. capnray

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 3, 2010
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    Anybody ever use Cadon-Plus? the original version worked with AutoCad in the DOS OS. I used it until 2002 and had to search for board houses that could do my fine pitch designs. With XP it and all other DOS dependent add-ons had issues. I received a prototype version from Keith Rubow that, when "tweaked" worked well with my licensed version of Intellicad. I needed to "adjust" some of the lisp files, finally had it working, but have forgotten on which old computer it now exists. DOS were the "good old days", LOL!!
     
  11. CraigHB

    Member

    Aug 12, 2011
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    I think you must be confusing ExpressPCB with another product because I found the software incredibly easy to use. It had like a 5 minute learning curve for me.

    The big disadvantage with the ExpressPCB software is it lacks key features you need to use it as a general design tool. It's really only going to work well if you plan to have ExpressPCB fab the boards.

    I mainly use EAGLE and it always does everything I want to do, but there are times when it's made me want to throw my monitor through the window. I have yet to find a general design tool that has anywhere near the simplicity and ease of use like the ExpressPCB software.

    But, this stuff is rather subjective so it also depends to some extent on a person's own impressions.
     
  12. n1ist

    Active Member

    Mar 8, 2009
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    Another good choice is Kicad. It's free, not limited, and will create Gerbers.
    /mike
     
  13. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
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    Cadsofts' Eagle does have a fairly steep learning curve, but you can make it a heck of a lot easier on yourself if you go through the Sparkfun Eagle tutorial:
    http://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/108

    Always keep your schematics set to 0.1 inch or 100 mils. If you turn the grid off for some reason, you'll have lots of problems trying to get everything connected.

    When I'm working on a PCB, I'll leave the grid set to 0.05" / 50 mils most of the time, and manually route most everything. If you turn off the grid in the PCB, you'll wind up with things crooked all over the place.
     
  14. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    How I make PCBs

    I use Gimp to mirror the images. I don't like PCB Express's pads, so I go and redraw them with M/S Paint.
     
  15. CraigHB

    Member

    Aug 12, 2011
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    I'm trying to move entirely over to metric since most of the parts have already gone that way. Sure would be easier if they would hurry up and get it over with.

    You American makers, just go all metric will you. There's nothing more annoying than some parts that are metric and some parts that are imperial. What is with us Americans trying to be the last hold-out on that old imperial system of measurement.

    In any case, I've been running my grids at .1mm and .05mm (alt) in Eagle on the PCB design.
     
    DerStrom8 likes this.
  16. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Agreed. I've been pushing for a switch over to metric all my life!
     
  17. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    The old feedthrough components are measured in 0.1", especially ICs. That isn't going to change. The software was also developed in the USA (I think). Then there is the protoboard breadboards, again that isn't going to change.

    That which can not be cured must be endured, the standards are likely older than you are and are not likely to change.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  18. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    I have wroked with PCB design software since 1993. And since that time the software I have used has allowed me to with easy swap between units then needed during board layout. I can not see the problem at all.
     
  19. CraigHB

    Member

    Aug 12, 2011
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    Well, it's not like some insurmountable problem, more of an annoyance. I would be happier if everything was all metric. When you're laying out metric parts on a metric grid then you have to deal with pitches like 2.54mm or 1.27 it's a drag because traces don't line up with pads on-grid and you have to monkey around with them. It's just clumsy and lame for no reason.

    When I was youngster and I use to work on cars and bikes a lot, I had the same complaint about the mix of metric and imperial nuts/bolts. I had to keep two sets of wrenches on-hand and it was pain to constantly switch between them.
     
  20. capnray

    Thread Starter Member

    Jul 3, 2010
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    Yes we Yanks are a holdout, prefer the English system of measurement, but I've always found circuit layouts to be easily converted to the continenental "metric" system, based upon the diameter of a perfectly round Earth, which is actually pear shaped. I prefer the averaged length of a man's last thumb knuckle to tip and the averaged length of his foot as documented to be a very stable system. With earthquakes etc I find the metric system quite unstable. Good days my friends, just my opinion.
     
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