Introduction: Free CAD Program Using ExpressPCB

Picture of Free CAD Program Using ExpressPCB

The people at ExpressPCB give you a PC board layout program for doing schematics and PC board work. Its intended purpose is for PCB layout. I found that the Layout Program also is useful for CAD work when making drawings of a mechanical nature when drawings need to be printed out in actual size for templates. The program will print out very accurately scaled.

Step 1: Examples of ExpressPCB Drawings

Picture of Examples of ExpressPCB Drawings

These are some examples of drawings I made during the process of designing a wind harp for Makers Faire 2008. This is the drawing for the "neck" with the tuners. The lines drawn are using the yellow lines for the silkscreen layer. When printing, just print the silk screen layer with "print in color" and "enlarge to fit" un-clicked, If you are doing actual size printing. If you are doing something much larger, you can still print scaled drawings by selecting "enlarge to fit".

Step 2: Photo of Part

Picture of Photo of Part

This is a photo of the neck piece that was made after I made a drawing. So you can see how helpful it was to make a scaled drawing with ExpressPCB before I made the piece.

Step 3: Schematic Part , Useful for CAD

Picture of Schematic Part , Useful for CAD

The schematic making part of the program can also be used to make mechanical drawings. I used it to make this drawing for one of my instrucables, "Make a Wind Harp".


LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-02-23

Cool! I should find some good cad programs for my computer.

Dr.Bill (author)LinuxH4x0r2009-02-10

Try TinyCad on a google search.

scafool (author)LinuxH4x0r2008-12-24

You might want to check out Alibre as a free 3D CAD program.

dchall8 (author)2008-02-24

I like this. I use Google Sketchup for 3-D illustrations all the time, but there are times when something like this would work better. Can you please answer a few questions about this software? 1. Can you change the funky arrowheads to pointy ones like draftsmen use? 2. Can you create a library of elements to save and reuse? 3. Can the font be extracted and used in other applications?

botronics (author)dchall82008-02-25

You can make your own library by selecting "Components", "group to make PCB component " and "save custom component ".You can also modify parts by selecting and ungrouping components. I don't think you can extract fonts for other applications. Best thing to do is play with it.

westfw (author)2008-02-24

I've found EAGLE to be useful for general purpose cad-like drawings as well; lots of things where the actual dimensions are more important than the "look" of the drawing. Since EAGLE implements it's freeware board-size limitation by not allowing any component PADs outside the area limit, you can make CAD drawings any size you want if they don't have any components, or don't have components that use Pads... (And EAGLE runs on Mac and Linux in addition to windows.)

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-23

Nice. The pictures are a little hard to see (for me), but otherwise nice job.

botronics (author)GorillazMiko2008-02-23

On each drawing in the instructable, there is a little box on the upper left with an "i " in it. Click on that. The drawing will enlarge. Then below the new drawing, toward the left will be something like "2040x1549 129KB" in gray. Click on that and it will enlarge to full size making it easier to see

GorillazMiko (author)botronics2008-02-23

Yes, I know. Aha! I see them now. I didn't see them earlier... thanks.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker and experiment with electronics, robotics, programming, and photography. Along with my latest interest in Steampunk.
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