Thanks, guys! ... I've just gone through the proposed options, and I think that Kicad is the better choice, since it's not only about graphics but it also has simulation capabilities and 3D viewing of the finished assembly. And those are features that might come in handy in the future.
I just hope that the learning curve that Max mentioned doesn't prove to be too steep.
Why use Git
But why use Git as it does not understand KiCad files? There are still many good reasons for Git and KiCad combintaion:
- Git can help you keep track of the file changes
- You can create branches with Git
- You can use git to synchronize files on multiple computers
- You can use Git to mark important milestones in your project (i.e. mark the point where files have been sent to PCB manufacturer)
- You can collaborate with your team using Git
- Git can help you organize and maintain your schematic and footprint libraries
- KiCad 6 will be much more Git friendly
- You can use Git as a base for automation – for example you can use automation tool that will automatically create a lot of outputs from a Git repository
You won't be able to cherry-pick the design files usually but I usually make a PCB version number git branch with PDF schematic log notes about changes and fixes. You can diff PDF files.I agree with using git... great tip... unfortunately I haven't found a tool that will let you diff git versions.
Altium will allow you to diff VNC versions.
They only need the gerber files. Google online gerber viewer, you can upload and view what the manufacturer will see. Or maybe PCBway has a viewer when you upload.Ok... I've created my first PCB using KiCad, and it was easier than I feared it would be. But I might have made the mistake of skipping the creation of a schematic first. I really don't need a schematic for my circuit because it's my circuit and I know exactly how it works and I'm not planning on sharing it with anyone else. But when I tried to generate a schematic from the PCB I created, I got a bunch of errors, mainly saying that a symbol for X and X part could not be found. Which is strange, because, for instance, when I placed an SMT resistor on the PCB layout, I chose it directly from the library. And said library already knows that the thing is supposed to be a resistor, right?
Anyway, I'm wondering if the PCB drawing and its corresponding Gerber files is going to be enough for PCBWay so that I can get a fabrication and assembly quote.
Thanks, Salts. Especially for mentioning JLPCB, I hadn't heard of them and just took a look. It seems like a perfect alternative to PCBWay for comparison purposes.They only need the gerber files. Google online gerber viewer, you can upload and view what the manufacturer will see. Or maybe PCBway has a viewer when you upload.
PCBWay and JLCPCB actually have pretty good customer service and you can likely get a live-chat with either company at this hour if your gerber files don't look quite right.
JLC is OK but upgrade the default board for a commercial product.Thanks, Salts. Especially for mentioning JLPCB, I hadn't heard of them and just took a look. It seems like a perfect alternative to PCBWay for comparison purposes.
Kicad has a built in Gerber viewer.Anyway, I'm wondering if the PCB drawing and its corresponding Gerber files is going to be enough for PCBWay so that I can get a fabrication and assembly quote.
DesignSpark can handle drawing PCB without a schematics. But if your Gerber is ok, you'll be ok.Practically all of them. Like I said, I created the PCB first, and things went haywire when I tried to create the schematic using Kicad's tool for that purpose.
This is the message I get when I try to use the "Update Schematic from PCB" tool:Kicad has a built in Gerber viewer.
Also the board maker will come back to you after they have checked the Gerber files and let you know what is missing.
Do you have the name of the library device that showed missing?
You can try the free version of DipTrace. As a commercial producer, we use the paid version. But the Trial version has all capabilities for 30 days, and if that's not enough, reach out, and they can extend another 30 days. Whatever product you go with ultimately, make sure it has netlists, and ability to link the schematic and matching PCB- that way you can confirm via the software (much more reliable than human mark-01 eyeball) that your schematic vias match your pcb vias, and link the way they should (ie. this via connected to that via, etc).It's finally here. I've been requested close to about 5,000 units of a small circuit I designed, and now I need to delegate its PCB production and assembly. My plan is to have the supplier partially assemble the circuit and then adding myself a few through hole parts and finishing touches to try to keep the price down and things as confidential as possible.
For this purpose I've chosen PCBWay, but right now I'm open to suggestions as to other suppliers.
Here's the thing, I've always designed my circuits using AutoCAD and manually put them together in-house, and I've produced my own PCB's using a transfer technique of my own creation.
But now I need to learn to use a software capable of producing the Gerber files requested by PCBWay so I can get a quote and put things in motion.
Any suggestion as to which software (preferably freeware, or as inexpensive as possible) would be best for my venture? My boards will only be using two layers, and measure about 2" x 1-1/2"
Edit: red alert... paging @MaxHeadRoom, @nsaspook, @ericgibbs, et al ... HELP!
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by Jake Hertz