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CAD for Circuit Boards Answered

What software do you use for designing circuit boards? Do you like it? I've been using Eagle, but have been entertaining the idea of switching it up.

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gmoon (author)2008-12-06

I've used Kicad with some success. It has it's peculiarities (as do all), and it's initial learning curve (as do all.) Once you understand it's flow, it's a powerful program.

It has fewer libraries for components and footprints than Eagle, however. And there were few board makers that support it directly...maybe that's changed in the last 18 months or so. It does output Gerber files.

But it is open source, and there are no limitations on commercial use...

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westfw (author)2008-12-05

Eagle. So far the free version has met my needs, but I'm seriously considering spending real money for a bigger version. I've also tried the Gnu gEDA quite (gschem, pcb). Aside from the usual unpleasantness of a new and different tool (I've yet to see anyone claim that ANY PCB tool is 'easy to use'), I was really depressed by the lack of automatic update between schematic and PCB, which is something I use quite a lot in Eagle. (although, it's also sometimes ANNOYING in Eagle that I can't associate multiple different board designs with a single schematic, so maybe things balance out...)

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zachninme (author)2008-12-05

I too have been using Eagle. I haven't had too many problems with it, but I wouldn't call it perfect. The people over at evilmadscientist have showcased gEAD, which is open-source. It seems to have a steep learning curve, though; it's much more keyboard-oriented than Eagle, which has plenty of toolbars so you never have to touch the keyboard.

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