Simple pcb design program

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b1gtuna
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by b1gtuna » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:48 pm

I have been getting to know Altium's Circuit Maker - http://www.circuitmaker.com

It is 100% free, geared toward makers and hobbyists. Its component library is directly linked to ciiva (https://ciiva.com).
So you can search parts with very specific descriptions.

I think the tool is easy enough to learn. And the forum is quite active. And additionally you can export your projects in gerbers. So You are not locked to use a specific PCB manufacturer.

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mediatechnology
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by mediatechnology » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:58 am

Is there a complexity or size limit of the free version?
https://ka-electronics.com

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – The Impact of Science on Society (1953) by Bertrand Russell, p.50

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny Exposes 10 Deadly Dangers of Pzifer/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccines: "This is a well-designed killing tool." https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Docto ... accine.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Pland ... nation.mp4
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b1gtuna
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by b1gtuna » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:15 am

mediatechnology wrote:Is there a complexity or size limit of the free version?
As far as I'm concerned, no there is no limit. The only limit is that all your projects are `public`.

Jeffin90620
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by Jeffin90620 » Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:39 am

I use PCB123. It is free and, yes, its files are proprietary to Sunstone (a PCB manufacturer in Oregon), but they will sell you the Gerbers for either $50 or $100 if you want to use another manufacturer (I've seen both prices, but don't know the criteria).

Learning it was fairly intuitive and their customer support is reasonably quick via e-mail (plus 24 hour phone support, but the people answering the phone are not always as expert as I'd like).

It supports 18" x 18" boards up to 6 layers and has a high quality Artwork output to check or document your work.


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dirkwright
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by dirkwright » Tue Nov 10, 2015 4:34 pm

Unless you are going to manufacture your own boards, I don't see a reason to have a PCB layout software and Gerber file generator myself. You'll still have to pay the minimum set up fee and other costs with any of the PCB manufacturers out there. I use Pad2pad. It is very easy to use, and they have treated me very well. I often order 8 boards, and the send me 10 (2 for free), for example. They have been very responsive to my questions and problems as well.

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mediatechnology
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ExpressPCB Gerbers

Post by mediatechnology » Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:57 pm

Just found out from their web page that ExpressPCB allows you to convert your prototype layouts to Gerbers: https://www.expresspcb.com/shop/

For "non-members" there's a $60 charge. For "members," which start at $99 annually, the Gerbers are free with every order.

DFMNow http://www.numericalinnovations.com/pag ... ber-viewer has a free Gerber viewer.

It looks like you can use ExpressPCB at no charge, do a prototype short run order, then buy your Gerbers for volume orders and view them for free.
https://ka-electronics.com

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – The Impact of Science on Society (1953) by Bertrand Russell, p.50

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny Exposes 10 Deadly Dangers of Pzifer/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccines: "This is a well-designed killing tool." https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Docto ... accine.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Pland ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

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terkio
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by terkio » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:59 pm

I see these software are mostly locked to: Output = Ordering PCBs to a specific manufacturer.
PCB express has a netlist file, how could it not have it, however I found no way to import or export to LTspice for instance. Gerber files, same thing.

Is there a true free software, open to alternate software tools ?

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mediatechnology
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ExpressPCB now includes Gerber files with every order

Post by mediatechnology » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:15 pm

ExpressPCB now includes Gerber files with every order no matter how small.
You're only locked into buying the first set of boards and it can be a super-small order.
I've opened their Gerbers in DFMNow! and they work just fine.

Some PCB manufacturers use different file extensions but that is fixed by a simple rename.

The Gerbers are attached to your email/invoice when the boards ship.
There's a tickbox to obtain them in V7.8.
EXPCB had to upgrade from to 7.8 for PKI encryption of online ordering and added a bunch of board options.

There's also a newer development fork called Express PCB Plus.

Once you get the Gerbers from EXPCB anyone can make your boards.
https://ka-electronics.com

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible.” – The Impact of Science on Society (1953) by Bertrand Russell, p.50

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny Exposes 10 Deadly Dangers of Pzifer/Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccines: "This is a well-designed killing tool." https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Docto ... accine.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Pland3mic - Indoctornation" https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Pland ... nation.mp4
Plandemic Series: "Plandemic - Doctors In Black" https://waynekirkwood.com/content/Plandemic.mp4

lsburden
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Re: Simple pcb design program

Post by lsburden » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:41 am

I have used OrCAD (very old version), PCAD, PADs, Altium, Eagle, Diptrace, Circuit Maker, and Kicad.

There were things that I liked and disliked about each one.

At work I use Altium but we farm out PCB Design so I am not familiar with that side of it. I really like the schematic capture side. I tried, and liked Circuit Maker because it was very familiar (since it is essentially a stripped down version of Altium...very stripped). The problem I had with it was that your projects are public.

I used Eagle and Diptrace for personal projects for quite a while. I never cared for Eagle - too clunky. I liked Diptrace for what it was. In the end the limitations were getting in my way. Diptrace only allows 300 pin pairs and 2 layers. I am looking to move into ADC/DAC converter and microcontroller designs and those limitations will not work. I could pay for more layers, or more pin pairs, or more board area, etc.; but I don't like either of them well enough to pay for it.

If I was to buy a PCB design program I would seriously consider Circuit Studio. Again, the folks at Altium are behind this one so I am very familiar with the environment. Only $500 for perpetual licence. At this point though I can't justify spending money on something like this unless I can generate income from it, even if just enough so it can pay for itself.

That said, I recently started using kicad now. It's free. It's a little clunky but no more that Eagle or Diptrace. No limitations and it's free.
Did I mention its free? Yeah, I can deal with clunky for now.

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