Author Topic: KiCad and interoperability: File formats of other EDA, use in teams: Any plans?  (Read 9456 times)

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Offline timofonic

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lachlanA is the creator of the Eagle to KiCad ULP script for Eagle. He made me think about this personal OCD topic I have in my mind again:

Why should they care about importing designs done in Eagle or other EDA packages?

Because of interoperability reasons

- vendor lock-in in EDA is done mostly because of using obscure file formats.
* The exceptions extremelly pragmatical, because they are some file formats for final board manufacturing: RS-274X (Extended Gerber Format), IPC-2581 (that won the "ODB++ Wars" with Mentor finally joining "Offspring", "OpenAccess", etc
* This is bad for competition: It gives advantages to bigger developers, creating monopolies and make users very unhappy with (usually) bad done software. This usually ends in abusive DRM, bugs, very expensive costs for certain features, etc.

- Post_Facto_interoperability would fight against [
* This could make users of other EDA tools to try KiCad, not needing to redo their designs from scratch at all and potentially no need to fix them whenever possible (ideal, but not easy at all).

- Some examples:

- Altium Designer is able to:
* Import: Altium, P-CAD, Protel, Allegro, AutoCAD DWG/DXF, Autotrax, CircuitMaker, CadStar, DxDesigner, Eagle, Expedition, IDF, PADS, OrCAD, P-CAD, Protel, SiSoft, Specctra, Tango.
* Export: Altium, Protel, P-CAD, AutoCAD DWG/DXF, OrCAD (SDT, OrCAD v7, SDT, Capture), HyperLynx, Protel, Specctra, SDRC-IDF PCB files, STEP, SiSoft, Ansoft Neutral File.
- FlowCAD They offer a proffesional EDA file format conversion service. They are very attached to Cadence. They provide some of the ways, it seems.
-; It's a cloud service for converting certain file formats, it seems to not have received any update sicne 2015.
* Import Formats: Altium, Eagle, SIMetrix SPICE, EDIF
* Export Formats: Altium, Eagle, SIMetrix, SPICE, EDIF, PNG, SVG, BMP
- schematic-file-converter: Abandoned by Upverter  and this is the latest fork with some impromenents. Programmed in Python.
* Imports and exports betweeb; Upverter OpenJSON, KiCad, gEDA, Fritzing, RS274-X Gerber, NC Drill, Eagle, Eagle XML (in testing), ViewDraw / DxDesigner (in testing), DSN (in testing), PNG Image, Bill of Materials, CSV Netlist, Altium (in development), Telesis Netlist (in development)
* Forum thread about it in EEvBLOG

Altium2KiCad: Forum thread about it in EEvBLOG



rnif2ki: Orcad to KiCAD netlist converter
EDIF2KiCad mirror Last commit  by Frank Bennett 2013-04-24

* Forum thread about it in EEvBLOG

Quote from: [b
Clemens Koller[/b]]

Message on mailing list about interoperability:

cullinan@... [kicad-users] <kicad-users@...>
 2015-05-22 13:04:05 GMT
Hello, KiCad userrs! I'm new on this list, so please be patient in case I'm asking questions which were already answered several times. A little introduction about me: I'm working in an advanced electronics design environment for quite some years now. We do High-Density (100um structures, Laser Drilled Vias), High-Speed (6Gbps) Multi-Layer PCBs (4..16+ Layers) using mostly Mentor Toolchains. (Some partner use AD or Allegro, ...) Out of personal interest, I want to have a look at the capabilities of KiCad beyond the hobbyist PCB design space (1..4 Layers) where i.e. design for manufacturing, teastability, bom generation, assembly data generation, interfacing to databases and ERP systems, etc. are topics which demand some automation. Also out of personal interest I'd like to test how I could integrate KiCad into my existing design environment, which consists out of a (self made) library/part type generator for some often used components and standard connectors as well as an SQL database (MariaDB) where library parts get linked to the stock and ordering information of the shop here as well as to some external board manufacturing houses. Since in our environment with lots of embedded software development, we are now almost completely working on Linux systems. Just "some" design tools have not arrived there yet. The question is if KiCad can step in here mid-term... Just my five cents for now. Regards, Clemens

Offline PCB.Wiz

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  Some nice links there, the Upverter  one says this, but from 3 years ago
"WARNING: Upverter is in the process of overhauling our UPV format to a new version. We don't expect to maintain the current version, however we look forward to sharing our new version with you when it's ready to go!"
- seems to have gone well off the boil, if nothing has appeared in 3 years  ?

 Meanwhile, a new trend appears - I see many Component Distributors are now moving into CAD, with some interesting moves around Libraries.

eg RS have ECAD Part Wizard which can browse by part code, and extract and export SCH and PCB symbols, in a few CAD formats.

Presently, their ASCII format export choice is PADS ASCII, which should not be too difficult to translate to KiCad.
(maybe someone with inside influence can get them to add kiCad directly..?)

This would open up a pretty broad WEB resource, to KiCad users, and save a lot of library time, plus they can port their own libraries.

I like the idea of first doing a Library-based converter, as that keeps things simple, but saves significant time, and it is usually the Libraries Inertia effects that hold CAD users captive.

Full design convert can come off the back of the Library Converter code.
There is apparently some changes/improvements coming in eeschema SCH side,


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