Poll

What is your favorite free PCB design tool ?

AutoTRAX DEX
3 (3.2%)
TARGET 3001!
1 (1.1%)
Diptrace
30 (31.9%)
Circuit Maker
8 (8.5%)
KiCad
27 (28.7%)
EAGLE
19 (20.2%)
DesignSpark
6 (6.4%)

Total Members Voted: 90

Voting closed: July 02, 2015, 09:38:57 pm

Author Topic: Favorite free PCB design tool  (Read 9902 times)

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Offline abdullahseba

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Favorite free PCB design tool
« on: June 17, 2015, 09:38:57 pm »
just to see which is most popular.  ;)
I use most of them but mainly Diptrace.
The only one I don't use is EAGLE and KiCad.
Poll sorted in to what I think is best.
Circuit might be the best but as it is cloud reliant I don't think so, but it is very good.
In case you never heard of AutoTRAX DEX or TARGET 3001! here is the website: http://kov.com/ ibfriedrich.com

AutoTRAX DEX only cost £30.92! for the unlimited version :-+.
can any one beat that for such a good program?
I got it for £20 at a offer they had on Christmas.
TARGET 3001!: £2630.95
EAGLE £1490.53
Diptrace: £564.87
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 03:07:38 am by abdullahseba »
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Offline M4trix

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2015, 10:09:13 pm »
Where is Altium Designer? Frankly, I never used any of those on the list.  :-//
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2015, 10:11:30 pm »
Where is Altium Designer? Frankly, I never used any of those on the list.  :-//

Altium Designer is free?
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Offline M4trix

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2015, 10:15:44 pm »
Oops! I missed the free in the topic!  :palm: Sorry.

* M4trix embarrassed...
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2015, 10:37:37 pm »
Where is Altium Designer? Frankly, I never used any of those on the list.  :-//
Altium Designer is not free
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Offline Tandy

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2015, 11:00:39 pm »
I try and use KiCAD even though it is a bit quirky because I like the idea of an open system. Not only is it free for hobbyists to use but the open source nature of it means that it is possible to modify the software itself.

I would like to see KiCAD gain more acceptance and wish it had a good funding model like RedHat and other open source projects that can afford to have a dedicated paid team to work on it.
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Offline briselec

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2015, 11:49:59 pm »
what about gEDA?
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2015, 11:56:52 pm »
gEDA has what, three users?
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 02:46:28 am »
what about gEDA?
gEDA only works on Linux and MAC OS X.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 02:48:00 am by abdullahseba »
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Offline Mike Warren

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 02:59:44 am »
Oops! I missed the free in the topic!  :palm: Sorry.

* M4trix embarrassed...

So did I.

I made a post about the tool I use and the noticed the "free" in the poll title. However, it doesn't say free in the topic title.

So don't  feel embarrassed. :)
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 03:08:28 am »
Oops! I missed the free in the topic!  :palm: Sorry.

* M4trix embarrassed...

So did I.

I made a post about the tool I use and the noticed the "free" in the poll title. However, it doesn't say free in the topic title.

So don't  feel embarrassed. :)

are you embarrassed now? ;)
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Offline Mike Warren

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 03:12:27 am »
are you embarrassed now? ;)

No. I deleted my post since it wasn't what the OP was interested in. :)
 

Offline evb149

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 03:48:07 am »
Since you clearly don't mean "free as in open source", I'm going to go with: (x): None of the above, DesignSpark is as good or better than most or all of those.
There are probably some niches in which the capability limited packaged are competive, but whether you want 1 layer or 8 layers you can do what you need relatively easily in DS and get gerber files out so you can manufacture them anywhere without a limitation.
 

Offline Mr.B

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 04:03:51 am »
I used Eagle free version for years, so that was my vote.
I currently have a paid license for Eagle because I needed to make a board that was bigger than their 80mm free version limit.
I know there are much better packages out there... It is an often argued subject on this forum.
The biggest issue for me is the learning curve for another package, so I just stick with Eagle - warts n all...
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Offline leppie

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2015, 04:35:48 am »
What about DesignSpark?
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2015, 05:28:28 am »
What about DesignSpark?
I have added it.
I forgot about it as I have used it a few times only.
I don't really like the GUI.
It is at the bottom of the poll as I can't rearrange it otherwise I would put it after TARGET 3001!.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 05:54:17 am by abdullahseba »
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2015, 06:04:21 am »
if it needs ot be free ... i'd use easytrax ( Altiums great great great granddaddy ). it may be almost 30 years old but at least it is something that works right. and you can run it on a 386 with a simple VGA adapter in 1024x768 under dos 5.0 and it'll blow the socks off any windows or unix based program in terms of speed and usability.  (don't look at dave's 'emulated' dos environment in his video on the old logic analyser he made. that doesn't do it justice as the dos emulator is crap. run it on a real pc under dos without all the emulation junk in the way. it is very fast.  i made many boards with it back in the days . )

« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 06:07:35 am by free_electron »
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2015, 06:13:27 am »
if it needs ot be free ... i'd use easytrax ( Altiums great great great granddaddy ). it may be almost 30 years old but at least it is something that works right. and you can run it on a 386 with a simple VGA adapter in 1024x768 under dos 5.0 and it'll blow the socks off any windows or unix based program in terms of speed and usability.  (don't look at dave's 'emulated' dos environment in his video on the old logic analyser he made. that doesn't do it justice as the dos emulator is crap. run it on a real pc under dos without all the emulation junk in the way. it is very fast.  i made many boards with it back in the days . )


http://www.lupinesystems.com/easytrax/
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Offline Karel

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2015, 06:32:49 am »
what about gEDA?
gEDA only works on Linux and MAC OS X.

So?? Some other packages work only on one platform. At least gEDA works on two platforms.
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2015, 06:39:15 am »
what about gEDA?
gEDA only works on Linux and MAC OS X.

So?? Some other packages work only on one platform. At least gEDA works on two platforms.

True but It still isn't main stream and I haven't fully tried it yet   
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2015, 07:18:20 pm »
No one used TARGET3001! ?
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Offline Tandy

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2015, 07:38:23 pm »
I can honestly say I had never even heard of TARGET3001 let alone used it until you mentioned it.

I would argue that a community around a free package is among the most important reasons people choose it. A free package doesn't come with support so the user has to rely on asking other users for help. Eagle has a big user base by virtue of the fact that there has been a free version for a long time. KiCAD has a growing user base due to it being fully open source.

Most people would be hard pressed to find the amount of resources such as tutorials, libraries, projects etc as you get for those two packages. As a result you would have to have a good reason to choose something else. It could be that you have used a commercial version of the package but now for your personal use have the free version as you are very familiar with it. It could be some killer feature that you just must have, but otherwise most people are going to go with the crowd in the knowledge that if they get stuck there is probably someone who can help them out.
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Offline Sigmoid

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Re: Favorite PCB design tool
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2015, 08:36:17 pm »
You should add Fritzing too. It's a very entry-level tool (as in focused on children and artists), and a bit buggy, but it definitely exists, supported quite heavily in the Arduino space, and is definitely free.

what about gEDA?
gEDA only works on Linux and MAC OS X.

So?? Some other packages work only on one platform. At least gEDA works on two platforms.

It's not that. gEDA is quite thoroughly stuck in the 80s. It may be great if you are the sort of person who doesn't flinch at that - some may even see it as an advantage... but really, it still follows the "UX" design principles of the days of CP/M and the first Unixes.

I once tried wrapping my head around it, and it just didn't feel worth it. Not with KiCAD around, now capable of doing controlled impedance tracks and other high-end stuff like that.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 08:58:26 pm by Sigmoid »
 

Online tom66

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2015, 09:49:39 pm »
I do a lot of work in gEDA. It's pretty powerful if you can work out its quirks.

TBH I've not used KiCAD so can't compare. If it's anything like Eagle though I'll hate it.
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2015, 10:01:59 pm »
I do a lot of work in gEDA. It's pretty powerful if you can work out its quirks.

TBH I've not used KiCAD so can't compare. If it's anything like Eagle though I'll hate it.

Try it. It's free! ;)

I would like to know the feedback about KiCad from a long time gEDA user.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2015, 10:37:08 pm »
I have used gEDA and PCB for some projects about a decade ago but it is extremely tedious to work with.
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Offline ResR

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2015, 03:58:44 pm »
I have used ExpressPCB for years to practice PCB routing.
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2015, 04:07:36 pm »
I have used ExpressPCB for years to practice PCB routing.
isn't ExpressPCB tied to a specific manufacture?
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2015, 04:30:02 pm »
I can honestly say I had never even heard of TARGET3001 let alone used it until you mentioned it.

I would argue that a community around a free package is among the most important reasons people choose it. A free package doesn't come with support so the user has to rely on asking other users for help. Eagle has a big user base by virtue of the fact that there has been a free version for a long time. KiCAD has a growing user base due to it being fully open source.

Most people would be hard pressed to find the amount of resources such as tutorials, libraries, projects etc as you get for those two packages. As a result you would have to have a good reason to choose something else. It could be that you have used a commercial version of the package but now for your personal use have the free version as you are very familiar with it. It could be some killer feature that you just must have, but otherwise most people are going to go with the crowd in the knowledge that if they get stuck there is probably someone who can help them out.
Will you try it?
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Offline ResR

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2015, 04:32:30 pm »
isn't ExpressPCB tied to a specific manufacture?
Maybe, it does make a .pcb file that seems to be used by multiple CAD softwares like Altium P-Cad and Cadstar, I'm unsure about the compatibility though, haven't tried one file on another program.
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2015, 11:01:49 am »
isn't ExpressPCB tied to a specific manufacture?
Maybe, it does make a .pcb file that seems to be used by multiple CAD softwares like Altium P-Cad and Cadstar, I'm unsure about the compatibility though, haven't tried one file on another program.
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Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2015, 03:58:18 am »
Has any one tried AutoDesk Circuits?
https://123d.circuits.io
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Offline Josephine85

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2015, 12:30:51 pm »
i voted for eagle. for me, as hobbyist, its the perfect piece of free software. and btw they win prices over prices: http://blog.cadsoftusa.com/2015/03/eagle-won/  :clap:
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2015, 11:12:35 pm »
i voted for eagle. for me, as hobbyist, its the perfect piece of free software. and btw they win prices over prices: http://blog.cadsoftusa.com/2015/03/eagle-won/  :clap:
:palm: It must be a lot better then last time I used it.
I think the prices are far far to high for what it gives you.
AutoTrax DEX is 100x better for free or $49 :-+.
All the other programs mentioned above are cheaper and better.
Even circuit studio is cheaper.
Aultium Designer might even be cheaper?
My avatar was made in Target 3001!
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« Last Edit: June 28, 2015, 12:21:46 am by abdullahseba »
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2015, 12:22:35 am »
I only use Altium Designer.

I do not know of anyone who is sufficiently experienced to have used all the packages listed along with Altium designer and Orcad. I don't know of any good website that compares the features, ease-of-use, flexibility, bugs, cost, performance and available libraries between each of the packages.

It would take a month of Sundays for any one person to evaluated all of them and to keep the data up to date. So collaboratively, there would be only somewhat biased opinions.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 12:42:05 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline timofonic

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2015, 03:04:54 am »
I only use Altium Designer.

I do not know of anyone who is sufficiently experienced to have used all the packages listed along with Altium designer and Orcad. I don't know of any good website that compares the features, ease-of-use, flexibility, bugs, cost, performance and available libraries between each of the packages.

It would take a month of Sundays for any one person to evaluated all of them and to keep the data up to date. So collaboratively, there would be only somewhat biased opinions.

That could be a very nice crowdfunding project for Dave or other. Add an UX expert in the equation and it can be amazing to see.
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2015, 08:03:55 am »
I only use Altium Designer.

I do not know of anyone who is sufficiently experienced to have used all the packages listed along with Altium designer and Orcad. I don't know of any good website that compares the features, ease-of-use, flexibility, bugs, cost, performance and available libraries between each of the packages.

It would take a month of Sundays for any one person to evaluated all of them and to keep the data up to date. So collaboratively, there would be only somewhat biased opinions.

That could be a very nice crowdfunding project for Dave or other. Add an UX expert in the equation and it can be amazing to see.

Very interesting point. You'd want about $30K to do it properly just for the labour alone (ie: 300 hours at $100 per hour), because there would be many hours involved learning everything about each and every package. Or do it all out of love for the electronics community. Altium, for example, is not very intuitive and some of the features like the Vault are rarely used. Also, as few if any people use non core features like the FPGA stuff in Altium, so you'd probably want to limit the scope. Also, there are some nice tips and hints in Altium that are not obvious. You'd have to research all those. Demo packages are the go... Altium is roughly $10K to buy.

It could be done and you'd want to do it well. I'd consider it if I was offered $30K plus $10k per annum to keep it up to date, not including subscription costs plus website costs.

Anyone else maybe?
 

Offline abdullahseba

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Re: Favorite free PCB design tool
« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2015, 11:56:48 pm »
I only use Altium Designer.

I do not know of anyone who is sufficiently experienced to have used all the packages listed along with Altium designer and Orcad. I don't know of any good website that compares the features, ease-of-use, flexibility, bugs, cost, performance and available libraries between each of the packages.

It would take a month of Sundays for any one person to evaluated all of them and to keep the data up to date. So collaboratively, there would be only somewhat biased opinions.
here is a few basic comparison:
http://pcbshopper.com/cad/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_EDA_software
Do you know why a Eagle is more expensive then Altium Designer?
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