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Electronics what PCB design software is good?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by ConKbot of Doom, 22 Jul 2006.

  1. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    I'm looking at starting to make my own PCBs (toner transfer method) and I'm looking for a good program to make the PCBs in, nothing too complicated, but all the design software I can find out there for making your board, and sending it in to the software's developer and getting the board made, very few have the option to print or export what I need make my own.

    Express PCB looks somewhat promising... kinda have to work around some stuff, but its better then PCB123... I have eagle freeware, and its ok to use (still haven't figured out how to make boards single sided yet :blush: ) but the freeware version only does tiny circuit boards.

    If worse comes to worse, I can use autocad but I'd rather use something with libraries, rather then making my own, not really time critical here, just starting to pin down some loose ends before I spend any money on anything.
     
  2. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    Although I use the (almost fully functional) demo version of Circad'98 from Holophase since more than 10 years, I now am very pleased with the cheap (39.90 Euro) and easy to use Sprint-Layout PCB software from Abacom.
    It has even the export function for Gerber files and drill data.

    This is an example of a PCB that I developped with Sprint-Layout:

    [​IMG]

    CD :)
     
  3. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    cool, I'll take a look at those when I get home. For a while, it was looking more and more like autocad was going to be the way to go :blah:
     
  4. g0th

    g0th What's a Dremel?

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    CADSoft Eagle is quite good, and has a very usable free edition.
     
  5. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    Yes, but the free edition has a PCB size limit of 8x10cm (most of my PCB layouts are bigger than that).

    Sprint-Layout has a PCB size limit of 30x30cm, Circad'98's limit is 32"x20" (which is why I used it to develop my 27"x5.5" tall display PCB with 4.0" displays).

    I have to mention that Sprint-Layout is limited to two layers (as does the Eagle free edition), but this shouldn't be a real limitation to most of us.

    CD :)
     
  6. Mr_SCSI

    Mr_SCSI What's a Dremel?

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    On the recommendation from Chris, I opted for the Circad98 as a first timer in the world of pcb for my first project.

    Very easy to use and a great starter for those just starting out. :thumb:
     
  7. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    ok, finally got some time to try out circad, and I'm liking what im seeing so far.
     
  8. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    The only reason that I opted for Abacom's (cheap) Sprint-Layout PCB software lately is the fact that the free demo version of Circad'98 does not allow for Gerber file exports (needed for commercial PCB manufacturing).
    Aside this (and the fact you can't print in Postscript format) it's a great package.

    CD :)
     
  9. bigal

    bigal Fetch n Execute

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    i use circad all the way as i like to be in full control of what i am doing and circad allows you to almost "paint" the board but other software requires you to select the component and let it do the work... i am sure it takes me alot longer but i get exactly what i want out of it.
     
  10. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    One thing that is giving me trouble in circad, is printing, I have it all set up to what looks right, but when I click confirm, nothing comes out of the laser printer. Print to .bmp works fine however, I can print it out in gimp and keep the scale (checked a few different line widths with a pair of calipers and they were still good)
     
  11. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    Did you set up your laserprinter in Circad (setup button in Printer out setup window)?
    Normally you should be able to print then with the PCL or DIB option enabled.
    I print with DIB enabled and color depth set to 1-bit black and white.

    CD :)
     
  12. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Minimodder

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    i like Proteus: ISIS & ARES, and also Electronics Workbench: Multisim & Utiliboard.

    im not too sure on their pricing, but they are both very good pieces of software.
     
  13. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    yeah, I have the printer setup,
    [​IMG]
    (click for fullsize)

    But like I said, I'm not that worried about it. One question though, should I use 600dpi, or 'fastres1200' dpi with my printer? I'm guessing I should stay away from any image/resolution 'enhancement'
     
    Last edited: 28 Jul 2006
  14. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    Can't see the picture...

    I don't know if the print resolution really matters, I print in 600DPI on a LaserJet 2200DN.

    CD :)
     
  15. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    fixed, didn't realise that that host payed attention to referrer :blush:
     
  16. Turbokeu

    Turbokeu Minimodder

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    I realize now that you are the using the latest version of Circad (Circad5, powered by OmnyGlyph).
    I still use the older 4.20j version of Circad'98, so I can't help you very much on this newer one.

    CD :)
     
  17. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom Minimodder

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    its fine, I can get my prints, they are to scale, and they can fill the 8.5x11 sheet of paper, I'd certanly call that an improvement. :thumb:
     
  18. Thrice

    Thrice What's a Dremel?

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    I read what u guys wrote, sounds ok, but theres no harm in trying something else eh?
    I myself use DipTrace 1.23, next version coming in August they say, many features and easy-to-use, it can be DLed for free (30-day trial) and the paid versions are very affordable. I found it here: www.diptrace.com, u'll find screenshots there as well.
     
  19. One~Zero

    One~Zero What's a Dremel?

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    When starting your autorouter, under "General" tab, change "Top Layer" to N/A (Assuming all your components are thru-hole). Make sure to change your routing grid to about 10 mils or so as well.
     

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