There are many CAD developed to assist the electronic designers during drawing of PCBs and schematics; often they are integrated in complete suite to project, simulate and realize a whole electronic system. Besides the many commercial versions, there are also free CADs available. Today we’d like to analyze one of the most diffused and known software: Eaglecad (eagle does not mean the powerful bird but it is the acronym of Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) made by Cadsoft, actually at version 6.2.0. We have chosen this one because, as you know as an Arduino’s fan, the official pcbs and schematic files of the boards are developed and available free of charge to everybody in Eaglecad format; you can find also a lot of libraries and circuits made by famous DIY website (Sparkfun for first) available for free.
How to make an Arduino shield with Eagle CAD - [Link]
Rik shows how to design PCBs with more than two layers in Cadsoft Eagle. The tutorial covers the basics, as well as some advanced subjects like BGA escape routing. Keep in mind you’ll need a standard or pro version of Eagle, as the free version doesn’t support designs with more then 2 layers. [via]
Designing multilayer PCBs in Cadsoft Eagle - [Link]
ZofzPCB is a gerber viewer geared to make verification quick and easy. It shows the board and layers in 3D so it’s easier to spot errors. It can also make each trace a different color so the location is clearer. [via]
- ZofzPCB 3D Gerber Viewer can display 3D PCB model, using your design CAM files.
- Gerber and Excellon files are assigned to layers in auto or manual mode. – Stackup dimensions are fully editable.
3D approach allows more direct visual examination of your design.
- ZofzPCB 3D Gerber Viewer aided by DirectX and modern graphic hardware, brings impressive real-time images to your desk.
- ZofzPCB recreates netlist and can mark each net with different color.
- ZofzPCB allows you to take mechanical measurements, also between layers.
ZofzPCB 3D gerber viewer - [Link]
As consumer devices continue to shrink in size, power considerations and appropriate thermal design become increasingly important for circuit designers and board layout engineers. This tutorial helps designers to ensure that a board is both electrically sound and thermally balanced for proper operation and optimum efficiency.
Layout Considerations for High-Power Circuits - [Link]
Most chips have multiple power pins that need to be connected to the same power supply, but Eagle doesn’t allow you to give 2 different pins the same name. This short tutorial shows how to get around this and name multiple part pins the same thing.
Create Eagle parts with pins that have the same name - [Link]
If you start tinkering with electronics, eventually you will want to make your own printed circuit board. In the olden days you could just buy an etching kit at your local radio shack. Now, most electronic projects are much more complex, the boards are much smaller, and you need to deal with 2 layers, surface mount components and vias. Rather than being just another PCB tutorial, this extensive two part overview covers the myriad of problems you may encounter and the methods available for solving these problems.
Mayhew Labs writes:
Whether you’re a first-time circuit board designer or you’ve been doing it for years, you know how difficult it can be to visualize layout, spacing, and relative size in PCB layout software. You might have also experienced that uneasy “I hope everything is right” feeling when you submit your design files for manufacturing. You’re not alone! I’ve ordered boards with silkscreen text way too small to read, components on the wrong side of the board, and even had my silkscreen and soldermask layers reversed by mistake! Each of these times, the real problem was not having a good view of the design.
I came up with a solution to these problems and designed (with the help of a web developer) an online 3D Gerber viewer that anyone can use. If you’re not familiar with Gerber files, they are the files that layout software (like Eagle, Altium, etc) export for manufacturing. They describe everything pertinent about your board that will be required to actually create your PCB.
View Your PCB Design in 3D Online for Free - [Link]
Some PCB fab houses (like SeeedStudio, with their Fusion PCB service) will allow you to panelize smaller PCBs. For example, if you have a 2.5cm x 5cm board, you could panelize two of them on to a single 5mm x 5mm PCB. Or, put a 7cm x 7cm board and a bunch of 3cm x 3cm boards onto a 10cm x 10cm panel. Seeed will allow up to 5 sub-boards on a panel.
The freeware and light versions of Cadsoft Eagle limit the design area of the PCB to 10cm x 8cm. This is enough to do many projects, but when you want to try and panelize to fill a 10cm x 10 cm board, it won’t work. Plus, maintaining separate projects and updating them on the panel, and maintaining consistency of labels and reference designators can be a pain.
Panelizing PCBs for Seeed Using Eagle Free - [Link]
View and share gerber files for your printed circuit board design online. So simple!
Circuitpeople.com – View and share gerber files online - [Link]
How would you like to make a single or multiple Printed Circuit Boards in less than 2 minutes?
crreed @ instructables.com writes:
This project has been in my mind for quite some time and I thought it would be a good time to finally build it. The idea began when I was tired of spending 25 minutes sloshing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB from now on) around in a plastic tray and waiting for it to finish etching. It was messy and wasted a lot of time. I began to search for an alternative and did not get much farther than a bucket with a fish tank bubble machine and perhaps a heater. Sprayers seemed like the most practical solution but the commercial available ones cost thousands of dollars and there was no guide that allowed someone to create one to use in their own shop. That is, until now.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Sprayer Machine - [Link]