Author Topic: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD  (Read 3515 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline sauerwald

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 6
  • Country: us
Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« on: October 11, 2021, 01:24:23 pm »

I have a small business and have been using Eagle as my CAD tool for the past 10 years or so.   When Autodesk bought Eagle, I switched to the subscription model, and have had a full professional license from the beginning.    I currently have about a dozen designs in production, none of which are super complicated as electronic designs go - my biggest board is about 100mm x 160mm, they tend not to be super dense, nothing more than two layers, no super fine pitch lines, no high frequency stuff.  I do have some high power stuff, so aluminum core boards, and thick copper but from a CAD standpoint, that is not an issue.

I have also taken advantage of Fusion 360 to design some of my cases - I do fewer than one mechanical design per year, so it is difficult to justify a lot of cost for mechanical CAD.   I have had limited experience in integrating the ECAD and MCAD designs, but don't trust the results which would be most valuable part of Fusion to me (for example, I did a thermal analysis on one of my designs, with the thought of figuring out what size cooling fan I would need, and the results that I got said that my current design was running with transistors at 600C - which I know is not the case).

I am seriously thinking of transitioning all of my E CAD projects to KiCAD.   I would expect that half of this work would be the designs themselves (The tools by Anool Mahindra on Hackaday look promising), and half or more of the work will be in generating the libraries - I use my own libraries for Eagle with my metadata in there (including my suppliers etc).   I'd love to find a tool which would enable active metadata, so that I could have a field for a Digikey partnumber, and the tool would populate price and availability fields from the Digikey website - does this exist?

I am curious to know if anybody has had experience in moving designs from Eagle to KiCAD, and if so, how that went - for bonus points - suggestions for an open source 3D design tool which will support sheet metal designs.

Thanks

Mark
 

Offline Karel

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1800
  • Country: 00
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2021, 02:16:49 pm »
My advise is to wait untill KiCad 6 has been released.
I still use Eagle V7 Ultimate/professional but also KiCad 5.19.

Stability and speed of Eagle V7 is superior (at least on Linux) but KiCad has a better router and support for 3D models
including a cool 3D viewer to impress clients. However, creating and managing libraries with KiCad 5 is tedious and the built-in
editors lack many functions (most KiCad users seems to use external tools to create new libraries).

KiCad can import Eagle projects but I wasn't satisfied with the results so I started to use another (external) tool to convert all my
Eagle libs to Kicad (Linux only).

Anyway, my plan is to switch completely once KiCad 6 is out and stable.
 

Online kripton2035

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2168
  • Country: fr
    • kripton2035 schematics repository
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2021, 03:50:30 pm »
Freecad is a good mechanical complement to Kicad. there is a module to transfer kicab pcb to freecad design and build a box surrounding the pcb is quite easy.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2021, 03:52:22 pm by kripton2035 »
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1871
  • Country: nl
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2021, 12:36:40 am »
I have some experience with KiCad but had not used the eagle importer yet.
Some time ago I bumped into:

https://hackaday.io/project/164305-roscom68k
https://github.com/rosco-m68k/rosco_m68k

The author of that project had made it in eagle, but in one of his project blogs he mentioned he was interested in KiCad. I thought it was a good Idea to get a bit of hands-on experience with importing an eagle project in KiCad, so I made him an offer to port the project and he accepted.

I pulled a clone from github, opened it in KiCad and just saved it, and it mostly worked in about 5 to 10 minutes, but it looked quite ugly because KiCad handles labels, buses and bus labels differently. After that I think I spend about an evening (4 to 5 hours) of cleaning it up. Probably more then an hour was for figuring out what that project did in the first place and how the different schematic sheets fit together.

All the cleanup I did was in the schematic. The PCB import was (nearly?) flawless.
As with any decent PCB design suite, KiCad also has a full DRC. This means that if there are any errors during the import, then DRC will flag them as long as both the schematic and the PCB do not have the exact same error (and that would be extremely unlikely).

This does leave some remnants, as KiCad also imports all schematic symbols (including power symbols) from eagle and these do not look very "beautiful" in KiCad. Same for the footprints on the PCB. I easily could have spent much more time on the "cleanup" by replacing imported eagle symbols by native KiCad equivalents, but it was not my project, I reached my goal of verifying the importer works, and I did not want to change too much on someone else's project.

And KiCad is FOSS, which means you can just install it, make a backup copy of one of your eagle projects and then open it in KiCad and see for yourself how good it works.

------ 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<---
About the KiCad version...
KiCad V6 was expected early this year, somewhere around February, and it's being ... delayed a bit. At the moment it's becoming unsure if the Release Candidate for KiCad V6 will be released this year, and the official release of KiCad V6 will probably be a few months later.
The differences between KiCad V5.1.x and KiCad-nightly V5.99 (which will become V6) are quite significant. Starting now with KiCad V5 would seem illogical.
KiCad-nightly V5.99 is quite far developed, but still about 7 issues per day are being fixed. If you're adventurous, or curious, then I'd say give it a try. If your conservative or your bread and butter depends on it, then using it for "serious" work is not such a good idea and you'd probably better wait for KiCad V6.

But if you port an eagle project to KiCad, you still have the eagle project. So there is not much keeping you back to just try how good it works. I also advise to start with something small and not too serious. The Idea is that if you make mistakes out of inexperience, you can just start over without loosing a lot of time. Bigger projects have much more repetitive work, and this makes it more tedious, and is a hindrance to the process of learning KiCad itself. Projects of around 10 to 20 schematic symbols and below 100 pins are probably best to learn with.

------ 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<--------- 8<---
About mechanical CAD...
There is a "KiCadStepUp" workbench for FreeCAD.
In the two and a half minute video below it is used to create a PCB outline from a .STEP file, apply an offset to get a clearance, and then export it to a KiCad project.

https://forum.kicad.info/t/pcb-shape-from-enclosure-step-file/30935/14

FreeCAD has a lot of powerful capabilities, but it's not an easy program to learn or use.
It has also made quite some progress in the last 5 or so years.
I've been using it for hobby things for a few years now, and each workbench is a separate struggle to master.
 
The following users thanked this post: I wanted a rude username

Offline wasyoungonce

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 489
  • Country: au
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2021, 01:07:55 am »
I've been fiddling with freecad as a newbie......love it.   So much to learn.  ALso an eagle 7.5 user and looking to go KiCad.  Tried before but found it clunky so looking for Kicad ver 6.   

Especially the 3D view.   

There are a huge number of Freecad tutorials indeed finding many relating to Kicad and freecad PCB import/export.  Looking forward to changing now i'm into freecad
I'd forget my Head if it wasn't screwed on!
 

Offline phil from seattle

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 951
  • Country: us
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2021, 03:25:21 pm »
I switched to KiCAD from Eagle about a year ago after 20+ years. It is a bit of a culture shock for sure. My fingers knew Eagle well... Two areas that challenged me:
- libraries are radically different. Symbol and Footprint are split.  Once I got over that hurdle, it make sense. There are things like "rescue libraries" that add to the confusion (feels like a Band-Aid). Sharing a design with custom symbols/footprints is kind of a cluster f*ck. Eagle is too simple, KiCAD is too complex. where's goldilocks?
- schematic and pcb layout are very loosely connected. that makes maintaining different versions way too much work.  In eagle, you just save under a different file name and you have a new schematic and PCB version. you can go back to the previous one by just opening the old file.  in KiCAD, that leads to chaos.  I make a whole copy of the directory. Some people a use source control system like github but that doesn't work for me.

That is with KiCAD 5.  I understand 6 fixes some things (and has lots of cool new features) and 5.99 is supposedly stable so maybe it's safe to jump in.  6 will be out end of December...

But beyond those two issues, I have found that KiCAD is way better than Eagle.

On the subject of converting eagle designs to kicad.  I suggest you don't bother and just redo them in KiCAD.  I tried to do several.  One with about 100 parts on it was successful in getting an actual board made. However, the converted schematic was especially ugly. I had to replace a number of converted symbols and in the end it was a gawdawful unprofessional mishmash. I never actually released that board choosing to redesigned in KiCAD.  Mixing Eagle and KiCAD footprints makes for a schitzoid looking PCB. And labels (I used a lot in Eagle) come out all different sizes and locations.  So much clean up.  After trying 3 boards, I had gotten enough KiCAD under my belt that I bit the bullet and redid them. 

Every time I go back to use Eagle, I am reminded of how much better KiCAD is.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2021, 03:30:17 pm by phil from seattle »
 

Offline Bassman59

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2218
  • Country: us
  • Yes, I do this for a living
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2021, 05:49:02 am »
On the subject of converting eagle designs to kicad.  I suggest you don't bother and just redo them in KiCAD.

THIS.

All of the effort put into converters is wasted. The biggest job will always be in migrating libraries, so use the move to a new tool as an opportunity to weed out your library.

For design maintenance use the original tool. For new work, use Kicad.
 

Offline Karel

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1800
  • Country: 00
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2021, 07:19:42 am »
I used this tool to convert Eagle libs to KiCad libs:

https://www.teuniz.net/eagle2kicad/

For me it works.
 

Online bson

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 2080
  • Country: us
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2021, 04:07:00 am »
I don't think the Eagle converter is wasted effort.  While the results may not be stellar, it still lets you access your old projects after you stop paying rans^h^h^h^hsubscription fees to Altium.  Of course, if you're actually going to do something other than order more boards, check the design for something you can't recall, or make some trivial change - and then order boards it's probably well-spent effort to simply redo it.  But being able to access your old designs and make trivial changes is golden.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1871
  • Country: nl
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2021, 01:47:54 pm »
I agree with bson here.

Conversion of an Eagle project to KiCad works quite good.

It sure does look ugly, but you have a working conversion (Both schematic and PCB) in just a few minutes.
And the main reason it looks "ugly" is because KiCad just imports Eagles symbols, so they do not look like KiCad, and some issues with labels.

Cleaning such a converted project up is a lot quicker compared with re-entering the project from scratch, and it's also a lot more reliable. When exchanging the "old Eagle" schematic symbols with native KiCad symbols the chance of making errors is very small, while when entering the schematic again it's easy to make all kinds of sloppy mistakes.

The PCB import from Eagle is also quite good. Footprints from KiCad are a bit different (in pad sizes, silkscreen, etc) but KiCad just imports what is in the Eagle project. It is possible to update the footprints to KiCad's default footprints if you want to, and this is also easy. You can snap new footprints to the ends of existing copper tracks to put them in the right location. This way you do not have to change anything about the copper tracks, and you re-use the exact same placement.

If you have a valid Eagle license which you can just keep on using, then there is not much incentive to convert those projects to KiCad.
But if you find for example an "open sourced" Eagle project on the 'web, but have no Eagle, then importing it in KiCad (and optionally cleaning it up a bit) is a good option.
If you want to say Eagle farewell because of subscription based licensing or other reasons then converting your existing projects to KiCad is also a very usable option.

You do have to invest a bit of time into figuring out how to do the cleanup efficiently, but if you've figured that out it does not take too much time to do the cleanup.
 

Offline Calvin

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 143
  • Country: de
    • Calvin´s audio page
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2021, 07:45:52 am »
Hi,

I also switched from an older Eagle version to KICAD not long ago .... and there´s certainly no turning back.  :-+
Could convert my Eagle files without serious hassles to KICAD 5.x and 6.0.
Admittedly I cursed alot the first week (due to all those small differences in handling and commands), less over the second (due to many YT tutorials), eventually beeing very happy with KICAD.  :)
Haven´t tried much with FreeCAD so far, but it´s nice to see, that both progs are working well hand in hand.

regards
Calvin
..... it builds character!
 

Offline nigelwright7557

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 461
  • Country: gb
    • Electronic controls
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2021, 08:21:15 am »
The suggestion of copying my projects across to another package would be horrendous as I have about 300 projects !
My PCBCAD software cost £3.99 and is a lifetime license with free updates.
It does everything I want so changing just because I feel like it makes no sense at all.

Kicad has its place,  especially for those paying silly money licenses.
Free ? well not necessarily as they now ask for a donation of $45 when you go to download it.
Even if your not paying for it someone else is.
And if your not donating you should be a shamed of yourself you tight wad.
It would be a shame if kicad went down the pan due to lack of funds.
 

Offline PKTKS

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1388
  • Country: br
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2021, 09:27:06 am »
Supporting  projects like BLENDER..  FREECAD and KICAD
..

Became a necessity..  BLENDER seems to have it fine

So does KICAD

Paul
 

Offline Karel

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1800
  • Country: 00
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2021, 03:00:36 pm »
 
The following users thanked this post: nctnico, Bassman59

Online Simon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 16298
  • Country: gb
  • Did that just blow up? No? might work after all !!
    • Simon's Electronics
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2021, 05:50:51 pm »
The suggestion of ...

Again? Really??  :-DD

Yea, he told me he was jacking all that crap in, now he's at it again shilling his own software. Won't bother with warnings this time!
 

Offline Bassman59

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2218
  • Country: us
  • Yes, I do this for a living
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2021, 06:15:22 pm »
The suggestion of copying my projects across to another package would be horrendous as I have about 300 projects !
My PCBCAD software cost £3.99 and is a lifetime license with free updates.
It does everything I want so changing just because I feel like it makes no sense at all.

Kicad has its place,  especially for those paying silly money licenses.
Free ? well not necessarily as they now ask for a donation of $45 when you go to download it.
Even if your not paying for it someone else is.
And if your not donating you should be a shamed of yourself you tight wad.
It would be a shame if kicad went down the pan due to lack of funds.

All right -- I will say what everyone else is thinking.

What the fuck is wrong with you?
 
The following users thanked this post: nctnico

Online Simon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 16298
  • Country: gb
  • Did that just blow up? No? might work after all !!
    • Simon's Electronics
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2021, 07:30:16 pm »
The suggestion of copying my projects across to another package would be horrendous as I have about 300 projects !
My PCBCAD software cost £3.99 and is a lifetime license with free updates.
It does everything I want so changing just because I feel like it makes no sense at all.

Kicad has its place,  especially for those paying silly money licenses.
Free ? well not necessarily as they now ask for a donation of $45 when you go to download it.
Even if your not paying for it someone else is.
And if your not donating you should be a shamed of yourself you tight wad.
It would be a shame if kicad went down the pan due to lack of funds.

All right -- I will say what everyone else is thinking.

What the fuck is wrong with you?
He's a bit delusional.
He is talking I suspect about his very own software he has been touting on here for years. Some time ago just as he was about to be banned for it he claimed that he had jack the software in, not so apparently. I won't be so patient again.
 

Offline udok

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Country: at
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2021, 01:45:19 pm »
But at least he has written a PCB Software package,
which is more than most people here have done.

And his arguments are not wrong.

Nobody can compete with zero cost open source software,
especially if it is indirectly funded by tax money.

I personally would be really pissed off, if i get laid off,
because a clever student does my work and give it away for free,
just because he is bored and has no girl friend...

Especially if i have paid the clever student education with my taxes.
 

Offline thinkfat

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1823
  • Country: de
    • Matthias' Hackerstübchen
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2021, 04:46:04 pm »
Of course you can compete with Zero Cost. Your product just needs to be better than what can be done for free.
Everybody likes gadgets. Until they try to make them.
 

Offline JohnG

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 413
  • Country: us
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2021, 05:52:01 pm »
But at least he has written a PCB Software package,
which is more than most people here have done.

And his arguments are not wrong.

Nobody can compete with zero cost open source software,
especially if it is indirectly funded by tax money.

I personally would be really pissed off, if i get laid off,
because a clever student does my work and give it away for free,
just because he is bored and has no girl friend...

Especially if i have paid the clever student education with my taxes.

Companies successfully compete with open-source software all the time. They start to lose when they take costumers for granted and put their development efforts in to trapping customers rather than improving their customers experience (I'm looking at you, Altium).

Clever students are the main source of the next generation of engineers, and are tremendously valuable to the economy. I would rather have my tax dollars spent on education than many other things. Those societies who care about the future are more likely to have one.

John
"Those who learn the lessons of history are doomed to know when they are repeating the mistakes of the past." Putt's Law of History
 
The following users thanked this post: Bassman59

Offline nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 21991
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2021, 06:03:24 pm »
I personally would be really pissed off, if i get laid off,
because a clever student does my work and give it away for free,
just because he is bored and has no girl friend...
If someone can do for free what you are getting paid for, you need to seriously consider a carreer change. You suck at your job!  :box:
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline fourfathom

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1018
  • Country: us
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2021, 06:18:47 pm »
I personally would be really pissed off, if i get laid off,
because a clever student does my work and give it away for free,
just because he is bored and has no girl friend...
If someone can do for free what you are getting paid for, you need to seriously consider a carreer change. You suck at your job!  :box:

That's pretty harsh.  After I retired I wrote a program that monitored and managed the instrumentation found on boats (I originally wrote it for my own use, because I couldn't find what I wanted in the marketplace).  I ended up giving it away, and there are probably thousands of people around the world who use it.  These days other programs do most of the same jobs as well or better, but for a while it was better at what it did than anything else.  It's still useful, and many still use it because of some particular features (as do I).

The designers of that other software didn't suck at their job, they (or their company) just had different priorities.  Sometimes talented people share their products for free.  Sometimes other people provide support, because they want to.  It has always been so, and we all need to accept this.

And no, I never asked for, or received, financial support.  A few people volunteered to assist in testing and developing feature ideas.
 

Offline nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 21991
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2021, 06:51:27 pm »
Ofcourse my comment is a bit harsh and tongue-in-cheek but I get a bit bored with people whining about how open source software takes their jobs away. The reality is that the majority of the open source software get written by people who get paid to work on it one way or another. And I don't mean donations but simply because the software isn't core business of their employers or clients but does help the company get further. A good example are the CERN contributions to Kicad. CERN isn't doing that out of kindness but they like to share the technology they develop with others to create an ecosystem where they also benefit from. A good example is CERN's White Rabbit time distribution system which has evolved into an industry standard with several companies offering hardware & services. A hindrance to share hardware designs by CERN is the lack of a good, free to use EDA package. People / companies participating often see themselves forced to spend several $k to buy Altium (which they might not even like to use) so they can join the party.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 06:54:11 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline JohnG

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 413
  • Country: us
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2021, 08:59:50 pm »
It is likely that open source creates jobs. After all, how many jobs exist because of Linux, gcc, Python, and so forth? Many engineering jobs are created when you have ready access to usable tools.

John

"Those who learn the lessons of history are doomed to know when they are repeating the mistakes of the past." Putt's Law of History
 

Online Simon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 16298
  • Country: gb
  • Did that just blow up? No? might work after all !!
    • Simon's Electronics
Re: Transitioning from Eagle to KiCAD
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2021, 09:24:37 pm »
But at least he has written a PCB Software package,
which is more than most people here have done.

And his arguments are not wrong.

Nobody can compete with zero cost open source software,
especially if it is indirectly funded by tax money.

I personally would be really pissed off, if i get laid off,
because a clever student does my work and give it away for free,
just because he is bored and has no girl friend...

Especially if i have paid the clever student education with my taxes.


that is not the argument. it is the constant advertising.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf