Author Topic: Alternate KiCad Library  (Read 1606 times)

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Offline Dave_C

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Alternate KiCad Library
« on: April 25, 2021, 05:56:27 am »
Current Version 1.1

New features:
  • SMD libraries are now split into 2 variants - standard and hand soldering.
  • Standard libraries have no silkscreen under the parts to avoid problems during machine soldering.
  • Hand soldering libraries have component symbols under the part to improve PCB readability and reduce component placement errors during hand soldering.
  • Minor updates and fixes.

This is a modification of the standard KiCad library, changes include:
  • Component symbols are now a part of a footprint (for example a capacitor footprint now has its symbol printed out on the silkscreen) to help distinguish similarly sized parts from each other.
  • Large integrated circuits now have marks to help with counting pins (handy if you need to test a specific pin)
  • Different looks if you want to add some extra flare to your project

Some of the new footprints in comparison to default KiCad are attatched below.

You can get it here:


You can also find AKL on forum:

Why not contribute to the actual KiCad Library?

Alternate KiCad Library deliberately violates KiCad library convention by placing silkscreen under the parts. I believe it helps during hand soldering and makes the bare PCB easier to 'read'
Also some AKL footprints take physically more space, so there's a strong argument not to use it in high density designs.
SMD footprints with silkscreen under the part might cause problems during machine soldering.


This library has been just a personal project but since then I've expanded it far beyond of what I originally set out to do. And that's not it! Symbol libraries are planned to release some time after KiCad 6 comes out, along with more footprints both modified and brand new. See the showcase folder in the links above .

Please keep in mind that this library is a spare time project of a single person, there might be bugs and new updates will take a long time to come out.


Alternate KiCad Library bt Dawid Cisło is a derivative of KiCad Library made by KiCad Community, used under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 License, with the following exception:

To the extent that the creation of electronic designs that use ‘Licensed Material’ can be considered to be ‘Adapted Material’, then the copyright holder waives article 3 of the license with respect to these designs and any generated files which use data provided as part of the ‘Licensed Material’.

Additional license and attribution information can be found in the 'Readme' file.

If you think that licensing or attribution information included in the AKL files is inadequate please contact me.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 05:00:38 pm by Dave_C »

Online Bassman59

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Re: Alternate KiCad Library
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 02:54:36 am »
There are many parts that can't have silkscreen underneath them. Even the small height of the silkscreen impedes how the part sits on the pads, so automated soldering becomes unreliable.

Online woofy

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Re: Alternate KiCad Library
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 09:05:55 am »
This is fine for hobby/hand soldered use, but on a production line it will cause problems. The component will rock (like a see-saw) on the silk screen and cause tomb-stoning, especially if the component was picked slightly off centre.
If it was ever needed to move a project to production, the footprints would need changing.

Offline Dave_C

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Re: Alternate KiCad Library
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 11:58:59 am »
That's correct, I mainly focused on hand-soldering and hobby projects when making this library. I can release a version with silkscreen re moved from under the parts if people want it.

Online dunkemhigh

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Re: Alternate KiCad Library
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2021, 04:11:51 pm »
As others said, plus you can't see the silk when the component is placed, so anything under the component isn't too useful.

However, I like the idea of the PlCC corner numbers, but have to say that they are confusing: which of the two pads at a corner do they relate to? I think either a positioning adjusment or indicator line would be appropriate.

Offline Dave_C

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Re: Alternate KiCad Library
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2021, 05:01:23 pm »
New update is here!
SMD libraries have been split into two variants, one is intended for machine assembly, and the other keeps the silkscreen under the parts for hand soldering.
You can easily swap between them by using ‘change footprint’ option and renaming the library in footprint properties.

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