by Michael Dunn:
Mentor Graphics, in conjunction with Digikey, has announced the public beta of their $299 Designer Schematic, joining companies like CadSoft (Eagle), RS (DesignSpark), and DipTrace in offering entry-level software in the triple-, double-, or even single-digit price range. Designer Schematic is a scaled-down version of DX Designer, and features integration with Digikey’s massive part inventory.
Mentor surprises with $299 EDA - [Link]
A new, free 3D design tool aims to help engineers with 3D modeling of their designs by being easy to use. RS Components and SpaceClaim joined forces to develop the tool, which can be used to model physical elements of designs, such as enclosures or interface panels, without having to learn complex feature-based 3D tools. It can also be used to develop early prototypes, either as a PDF file or on a 3D printer.
DesignSpark Mechanical aims to overcome the two major entry barriers faced by potential users: the cost and steep learning curve of traditional 3D CAD tools. DesignSpark Mechanical is free, and it uses direct modeling so that engineers and others involved in product development can learn to use the software within minutes. [via]
Free 3D Modeling Tool Facilitates Mechanical Design - [Link]
Clive Maxfield writes:
OMG! All the electronic and mechanical engineers I know (and even most of the marketing folks) are going to squeal like schoolgirls when they get their sticky little hands on this amazing, free 3D design software that will enable conceptualization and rapid prototyping, reduce costs, and dramatically accelerate product development. In short, this software is like a “Gift of invention that will bring your ideas to life!”
Quiet down my racing heart! I just heard the most amazing “hot-off-the-press” news. In just a few days as I pen these words, all of us who wish to will be able to design 3D models, assemblies, and enclosures for our designs using some incredibly intuitive, fully-featured 3D modeling software. And, best of all, it’s free! (And when I say “free” I really mean free, as in free for both commercial and non-commercial use with no limitations or licensing.)
Allied/RS Bring Free 3D Design Software to Everyone on the Planet! - [Link]
Elektor and Circuit Cellar, in participation with DesignSpark, are pleased to present the winners of the DesignSpark chipKIT Challenge! Engineers from around the globe submitted their eco-friendly and energy efficient designs which were built around a Digilent chipKIT Max32 microcontroller board.
Congratulations to Dean Boman, whose Energy Monitoring System earned him First Prize honors and $5,000! Providing real-time home electrical usage data, this chipKIT-based system helps occupants make informed consumption-related decisions. [via]
- First Prize — Dean Boman
Energy Monitoring System
- Second Prize — Raul Alvarez Torrico
Home Energy Gateway
- Third Prize — Graig Pearen
SunSeeker (PV Array Tracker)
- Jaromir Sukuba – Handheld PIC18 IDE
- John Schuch – Wireless Mesh Network Time Server
- Ian Johnson, Sajjad Lalji, David Weight – MPPT Boost Converter
- Manuel Iglesias Abbatemarco - Eco-Friendly Home Automation Controller
- Curtis Brooks – Internet-Enabled Multizone Thermostat
DesignSpark chipKIT Challenge Winners Announced - [Link]
Now includes an interface to design simulators, enhanced circuit-element grouping capability and design calculators – [via]
RS Components (RS), on November 7 unveiled Version 3 of DesignSpark PCB, the company’s free professional standard PCB design software, used by professional designers, hobbyists and students.
Developed by RS, in conjunction with Number One Systems, the latest version of DesignSpark PCB provides extra functionality and enables the PCB design software to be used with Spice simulation tools from several major manufacturers. In addition to the tool’s new simulation interface, Version 3 includes enhancements such as component and circuit element grouping, and design calculators, which model circuit performance characteristics.
“The success of DesignSpark PCB, the world’s most powerful free PCB design tool, is unparalleled in our industry,” said Mark Cundle, Technical Marketing Manager at RS Components. “The release of the third version of this award-winning software clearly demonstrates the commitment from RS to continually improve this highly successful product. We promise to carry on supporting DesignSpark PCB and continue to make it available free-of-charge to users. We’ve gathered feedback from engineers through our fast-growing DesignSpark community to integrate the new features they’ve requested in Version 3,” added Cundle. “Additionally, the tool is fully functional – with no limitations or locked features – and is well suited to commercial use, which is not always the case with some free tools.”
DesignSpark PCB design software upgraded to version 3 - [Link]
Comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists… [via]
I don’t do a lot of PCB design, just the occasional hobbyist odd and end… but I DO know computers, freeware, etc… I’ve used Eagle (some), but really like what I’ve seen of KiCad so far, and would commend it. Another interesting option is DesignSpark. I’ve published a comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists… Goes into pros / cons of Eagle, KiCad, DesignSpark, plus less extensive comments on some other options.
Comparative review of PCB CAD software for hobbyists - [Link]
Since the widespread commercial use of the transistor, electronics minded people have assembled their circuits on a printed circuit board (PCB). Even if the circuits are increasingly complex, PCB design is actually becoming easier thanks to the availability of efficient design tools in the CAD realms. Whereas ten years ago CAD software to accomplish serious PCB design was beyond the reach of many, today you can download some of these tools for free on the internet. Often these tools are free but with limitations of some kind in terms of board size, number of components or file exporting. By contrast, a recently launched product called DesignSpark PCB has no restrictions, says the supplier RS Components. [via]
DesignSpark PCB is a free PCB design tool from RS. It has no limitation on board size, layouts, pin count etc. It is able to be used for schematic capture and for generation of manufacturing files. It’s support multi page schematic capture, gerber ouput so you can manufacture the PCB on your favorite vendor. Find more details on the link below. [via]
DesignSpark PCB – Free PCB Design Software - [Link]