by Dave Young
Anyone who has learned a layout package like EAGLE and sent a board off to a fab knows the trepidation felt when submitting the final gerbers. It doesn’t matter if the order is for 3 PCBs or 3,000 PCBs. The time lost from an error can ruin a project’s momentum, especially if it is a boneheaded error.
There is a better way to check all of the footprints with a layout: Paper PCB Protos. This low-tech technique only takes an hour, but can provide 100% confidence in the footprints checked. Thanks to proper scaling of the PCB, it is possible to create a PDF and print out an exact representation of the board. The designer can then place parts on the paper to quickly determine if a component’s footprint will be suitable, at least for a pilot production build.
Using Paper Protos to Check Footprints with EAGLE – [Link]
At Dangerous Prototypes we have a team of amazing PCB designers. We crank out a lot of boards publicly and privately, but even we can’t keep these hungry routing addicts busy all the time. Now we’re lending our routing skills to you for your open hardware project through a new site: Dirty Circuits.
If you have an open hardware project and would like help routing the PCB, we’re here to help.
Dirty Circuits PCB routing for open hardware designs – [Link]
With Texas Instruments’ WEBENCH Schematic Editor, engineers can customize power-management designs and simulate the circuit created within the WEBENCH environment. According to the company, the new feature reduces design and verification time from hours to minutes. The editing and simulation package maintains a library of over 40,000 components. As a result, it’s possible to incorporate multiple mixed output capacitors, filtering, board parasitics, and snubber circuits into WEBENCH power-supply designs. Then those customized power designs can be simulated (using the WEBENCH Power Designer’s Spice simulator) before they’re exported to CAD development platforms like Cadence OrCAD Capture CIS, Mentor Graphics Xpedition xDX Designer, CADSoft EAGLE, and Altium formats (e.g., Altium Designer). The WEBENCH environment consists of online tools such as Designer and Architect that enable end-to-end analog circuit design.
Customize Power-Management Designs With Editing/Simulation Environment – [Link]
Here is a nice series of 3 video tutorials, covering basic functionality of Cadsoft Eagle from Schematic Capture to CAM Export and PCB manufacturing. The 3 parts are:
- Tutorial 1 for CadSoft Eagle: Schematic Design
- Tutorial 2 for CadSoft Eagle: Printed Circuit Board Layout
- Tutorial 3 for CadSoft Eagle: CAM Output and DFM
Check them out!
CadSoft Eagle Tutorials by jeremyblum.com – [Link]
cmiyc @ instructables.com writes:
Creating a solder paste stencil for a toaster reflow oven or hot plate is simple when you have access to a laser cutter. I used the Laser Cutter at my local TechShop to create this and other PCB stencils.
This Instructable assumes you have created a PCB and are able to generate the Gerber Files for it. Specific directions will be given for EAGLE, but other PCB software can be used. The board used in this example is an Arduino RTC Shield based on the DS3231. Follow the link for the EAGLE design files if you want to follow along.
Polyimide (Kapton) PCB Solder Paste Stencil – [Link]
Tom Hausherr’s blog is dealing with component package technology and libraries standards and providing lots of great and clear information. If you are designing your own libraries for your next project you definatelly have to check it out!
Tom Hausherr’s Blog – [Link]
Author: James Connors
Description: This ULP is quite creative and simple to use. Draw a 0 with wire on the milling layer. Run the ULP, the dialog box selection will provide options to either draw an array of holes or vias. Parameters such as Diameter, signal name amount of holes and distance can be defined.
Eagle UPL: Create Drill Line Array – [Link]
Christian Aurich developed a script to import Eagle boards into FreeCAD. This way he is able to design custom enclosures.
The common solution until now is to export your board with eagleUp and assemble it with a case in Sketchup. This also gives you some drawbacks. The most important to me was that the Sketchup files are mesh based like the data used for 3D printing usually, but for further use in CAD systems this is not really usable. You also will not be able to get a STEP model that you can give to your costumers out of this data.
Script lets you import Eagle boards for use in FreeCAD – [Link]
HackEDA is an online automatic circuit design tool that compiles different Eagle schematics and boards to build a complete schematic. This is now possible because Cadsoft switched to an open XML text format for board files: [via]
At it’s core, it’s a system for collecting reusable-sized pieces of electronic designs, along with the knowledge necessary to reuse them in new designs. The library is available to browse online, you can download the individual bits, and there’s also a tool for creating custom circuits by simply selecting the features your project needs.
HackEDA builds Eagle schematics and PCBs from standard circuit blocks – [Link]
Eagle PCB Tip: Pin and Gateswapping
To optimize board routing, there are times that interchanging pins or gates is necessary. Recent article on Dangerous Prototypes gives us a full description and procedure to make this happen in EAGLE.
Eagle Tip: Gateswap and Pinswap tool – [Link]