[sdiy] Eagle for PCB Layout

Chris Juried cjuried at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 28 22:17:00 CEST 2018


Have not used Dip Trace, as of yet, but will take a peek.

Sincerely,   
  Chris Juried  
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    On Thursday, June 28, 2018, 4:11:24 PM EDT, sleepy_dog at gmx.de <sleepy_dog at gmx.de> wrote:  
 
 
>> Hi Group,
>> Who is currently utilizing Eagle for their PCB layouts? If not, what are you currently using?
>>
> Kicad.  It's free-as-in-beer, Free-as-in-Speech, and saves all its files
> as well-documented plain text so it works well with version control
> software like git and it's easy to write your own tools to vandalise^W
> customise your libraries.

For the reasons listed, I would really like to use Kicad. Especially the 
vandali..eh customizing aspect. Write some script that quickly does some 
things the program doesn't do, or with much more effort... But I just 
can't get over it's funny (to me) UI.
It looks like the most feature-rich free package out there, though, with 
regards to some features regarded "pro only" in other packages.
Since I don't need those urgently enough...

So I'm using DipTrace, which is only "free to use", currently with 2 
layers and 300 pins per board (500 if you e-mail them & confirm it's 
non-commercial).
I.e. unlike Eagle, the restriction is pin count, not board size. Only 
you know what's more useful to you.
Prices for licenses above that seem reasonable, comparable to Eagle, 
last time I checked.

If you used Eagle before, you might miss some simple but essential 
seeming features like instant highlighting of a net in schematic and PCB 
at the same time. (need to select from net list in DipTrace, quick 
enough, but not as convenient)

If you never used Eagle, or any PCB design program at all (because they 
all have, eh, "evolved", as in, *platypus*, UI designs, lol), the 
likelihood seems high that, for the basic things, using DipTrace seems 
rather self-explanatory. That includes entering circuits, making PCB 
from that, and to a slightly lesser extent, making new components and 
footprints.

Not everything is on key combos by default - but you can give everything 
one / customize all(?), so you could do "everything" with keyboard, from 
what I've seen. Stuff in menu entries does usually list assigned key 
combo. Context menu entries usually make sense. (yay!)
It does have *some* weird aspects to usage, e.g. scenarios where 
selecting things gets fumbly, different sets of listed actions depending 
on where on an object you click... But compared to what else I've seen 
out there in the wild... It seems to present fewer barriers to get to do 
stuff :D

The copper pour algorithm sometimes does funny things to parcitular pads 
or regions around them (the connections), needs some hand tweaking for 
some pads.
No idea how that is in other packages. It's not too bad.

The humongous 3D library for components, a separate download, unpacks to 
some gigabytes, does provide a nice 3D view of your board and a very 
many kinds of common components.
A colleague EE recently said that that's a lot nicer in DipTrace than in 
$$$$$ PADS. If that ain't something.


- Steve

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