[sdiy] KiCad, was Re: RS Designspark PCB tool

Mike Beauchamp list at mikebeauchamp.com
Sat Jun 23 09:40:04 CEST 2012


Thanks for the post Veronica, 

Mike



On Sat, 2012-06-23 at 00:28 -0700, Veronica Merryfield wrote:
> On 2012-06-22, at 5:09 AM, Harry Bissell wrote:
> 
> > So far I'm finding KiKad slow but not ~too~ painful
> 
> It gets much quicker on the second full board. I've lost count of how many I have done with it now. 
> 
> Placing mounting holes is best done by creating a schematic pad first. I call mine 'pad' - a single pin part that has a connection with no line to the pin and no package, so it shows as a pad in the schematic. I use M as the designator, as in mount. Some get connected but most don't. I have a number of different sized mounting pad parts in my module library now and usually pick one to suit the project. 
> 
> Some PCB stuffers want optical marks on the board and I have a few of those now as well. Usually they are circles of copper only. 
> 
> It is worth maintaining your own parts and module library in a separate directory from the install. This ensures your libraries exist across an upgrade. When I ship the files to a client, I tell them which version of the tools I used and I export the library parts and modules that aren't in the install. Way back I picked up up a project from someone else who did not export their custom parts and I had to recreate them - I think that was an OrCad project. The practise learnt then has stuck. However, with KiCad, if you get a project with the custom stuff missing, a little hunting with a text editor can dig it out of the project files and the libraries can be recreated with a text editor.
> 
> It is worth taking a look at the files with a text editor and get to know them. I have done a number of larger pin parts with a text editor. Create the first pin in the app, then use a text editor to do the rest of the pins. Go back to the app to check and tidy up. 
> 
> Vias have to get placed as part of laying down traces but you can delete the trace later and leave the vias. The only time I have needed to do this is to place vias to connect flood fill areas. The vias need to be laid with traces to give the vias a net to be part of then they will get connected with the flood fill of the same net.
> 
> There are some great people of the KiCad mailing lists and worth lurking on the developers list to see what is being planned etc.
> 
> 
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