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]
Global electronics community, element14, announced it has teamed up with CadSoft Computer GmbH and Microchip to present the EAGLE Design Competition – a four-month competition aimed to unite the most innovative design engineering communities using CadSoft EAGLE’s Version 6.
To enter the competition, applicants can register on the element14 community and post a screenshot of their project’s design layout, along with a written description of the build. Prizes will be awarded to the most creative idea, and include a Dell Alienware computer, a Microchip Eval kit, and a fully-loaded version of CadSoft EAGLE.
Additional contest details and judging criteria are available here
element14 helps drives innovation with EAGLE Design Competition - [Link]
Make parts in Cadsoft Eagle @ Dangerous Prototypes – [via]
Eagle’s popularity is partly due to the sheer number of parts and footprint libraries available for it. Sometimes you can’t find the part you need in an existing library though, and it’s time to make your own. Making a new part in Cadsoft Eagle can be intimidating for new users, but the guide below shows how we make our own Eagle parts step by step.
Make parts in Cadsoft Eagle - [Link]
If you need to know the exact length of a trace in Eagle — for differential signals, for example, or if you have a high-speed data bus like on SDRAM and you’re not using a buffer so you need to make sure all the traces are the same length, and make sure they’re no too long for the strict timing constraints, etc. — Eagle has a nice little ULP script that will display some basic information on every trace on your PCB, including the maximum theoretical current you can draw through the traces, etc. Just type “run length-freq-ri” in the command window of the PCB view and you should get the displayed info above! (Note that by default this ULP assumes 1oz/0.035mm copper, though this is the most common anyway.)
Eagle QuickTip: Measure Trace Length (and more) - [Link]
EagleUp is a new way to render Eagle PCBs in 3D. It integrates with Google Sketchup so it’s possible to design cases around the PCB model:
version 4 has been released. Most of the import and export procedures have been automatized to simplify the process, so that you can focus in design, and not in the conversion 2D/3D.
With the version 4, you export from Eagle in 2 clicks, and import into sketchup in 3 clicks. No more tiring image creation and manual import necessary. Give it a try !
EagleUP brings PCBs to Google Sketchup - [Link]
Global online community element14 is dedicated to providing engineers with end-to-end resources and the latest technology to help get their jobs done faster and easier than ever before. Following are a few noteworthy additions to the community:
- CadSoft launches EAGLE version 6: The newest version of the award-winning PCB software, available via the element14 knode, not only helps in board design, but also saves engineers time by providing direct connections to experienced, high-quality PCB manufacturers for fast quotes on PCB fabrication. Plus, with Accelerated Design’s Ultra Librarian users can quickly create parts, symbols and footprints that can be exported to various PCB design flows. An introductory video is available for download here.
- element14 partners with PCB prototype manufacturer Screaming Circuits: Effective Dec. 13, 2011, design engineers using the Knode on element14 can access Screaming Circuits’ services, including instant quotes and efficiently produced high-quality prototypes that adhere to shorter design cycles, saving engineers countless resources and helping shave weeks off the design process
element14: CadSoft’s EAGLE version 6 now available & new supplier partnership in effect - [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]