Since Autodesk acquired Eagle CAD, big changes have been made to Eagle CAD. Regardless of the new licensing system using subscription model, which was a subject to criticism by a lot of users, the new management of Eagle from Autodesk has successfully added a lot of demanding features that old team failed to bring out.
Eagle 8 came with a lot of new features like BGA auto-router and “Past Block Design” tool to add a complete block of connected components both in schematic and board.
The new release 8.1.1 brought PCB alignment tool to align a group of objects in different positions; top, bottom, left, right, center, and distribute horizontally / distribute vertically.
Another improvement in eagle 8.1.1 that deserves mention is that a new category has been added to DRC (Design Rule Check) called Airewire. It’s an important improvement because airwires is one of the most common things designer should be aware of. In older Eagle releases, you should work with your eyes wide open and never forget to hit ratsnest at the end of your work and read the magic sentence in the bottom corner “Ratsnest: Nothing to do !”.
Back to basics. Here is a tutorial on autodesk.com blog on how to read schematics:
The schematic forms the building block of every electrical circuit, and even if you aren’t designing one yourself, knowing how to read one is invaluable. And with some schematic reading knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to design, build and ultimately troubleshoot your way through your design logic before heading on to your PCB layout.
How to Read Your First Autodesk EAGLE Schematic – [Link]
Although the new Eagle subscription model by Autodesk will bring much-needed features to the software, many users after the announcement had decided to move their work to other alternatives, such as KiCad, Altium, Cadence, etc.
One of the challenges was to convert the libraries made by Eagle to be compatible with other software programs. SnapEDA solved that by offering a new free tool that translates Eagle libraries to KiCad, Altium, OrCad and other formats.
SnapEDA is a parts library for circuit board design provides free symbols, footprints, and 3D models for millions of electronic components. The goal behind SnapEDA is to build one trusted, canonical source of electronics design content that everyone can benefit from.
To convert your Eagle library just upload your file here, then you can re-download it in any format through your uploaded models page. The video below demonstrates the converting process:
Currently, all the uploaded parts will be public on SnapEDA until the private version is released. All parts are clearly marked as user-generated content and attributed to the uploader, and can be deleted at any time.
“We are big fans of Eagle and the new changes they’re making, and are confident that the subscription model will bring much-needed features to the software. But we also understand that it is (for many) a showstopper. Hopefully this free tool is helpful to those for whom this is the case.” – SnapEDA
After acquiring CadSoft in June 2016, Autodesk released a new version of EAGLE with new features that improve program functions and a new pricing plan.
The new version of Eagle added a modular design blocks feature to the schematic editor that allows you to quickly replicate sections of circuitry between multiple projects. Even better, any change you make stays synchronized between your schematics and PCB.
The route engine comes with new, interactive routing features that make it easy to design beautifully precise PCB layouts. It includes a whole set of trace clean-up tools that makes it much easier to tidy up your board and make adjustments to existing paths. There is also an automated loop removal, cornering for super-smooth tracks, quick and easy via placement while routing.
Autodesk said that upgrading EAGLE will be available as a monthly or yearly subscription, providing continuous updates and better support, and it said to be budget friendly. Which means that users will get more consistent and frequent updates backed with dedicated support from the PCB design pros at Autodesk, and cheaper than buying a cup of coffee every day for a year.
Many Eagle users found it a bad deal, because having the old Standard option will cost $100/year instead of the one-time $69 payment. Autodesk also killed the lower cost options for non-commercial use, what used to be a $169 version that was positioned for hobbyists.
“We know it’s not easy paying a lump sum for software updates every few years. It can be hard on your budget, and you never know when you need to have funds ready for the next upgrade.”
You can download the free version from here, but for anyone using Eagle for commercial purposes this is a big change. Even if you agree with the new pricing, a subscription model means you never actually own the software. This model will require licensing software that needs to phone home periodically and can be killed remotely. If you need to look back at a design a few years from now, you better hope that your subscription is valid, that Autodesk is still running the license server, and that you have an active internet connection.
Regarding new @ADSKEAGLE subscription plan: previously paid $1591.21 for 88 months == $18.08/mo. Moving to $65/mo? KICAD looks better.
Panelizing is done by machining a slot between two or more boards, but keep them attached by a small amount of PCB material (mousebites). I used to do it by hand: generated all the schematics into multiple sheets and then route the board and finally add the slots with mousebites in the PCB editor. I generally use slotwidth of 50 mil and the smallest drill possible (12 mil) 12.5 mil apart as breakingline. I tend to place the mousebites about 2cm from each other to maintain PCB strength.
sfcircuits.com compares the top 5 PCB CAD Programs, DipTrace, Eagle, Altium, Pads and Orcad:
There are several programs available that range from simple and intuitive to highly sophisticated.
They range from free or inexpensive to high-end/premium.
They come feature-less or feature-heavy.
All of the tools are different and unique in their own way. Ultimately, your needs and preferences should drive what CAD program you use. This guide is structured to help you decide which is optimal or explore alternatives.
After the acquisition, they redesigned the website and changed the domain name from cadsoftusa.com to cadsoft.io. It seems that Autodesk is going very fast toward sharing with community what they intend to do with Eagle CAD tool after a lot of debates about the future of Eagle CAD.
Now and after about one month of the acquisition, they announced the release of EAGLE beta (7.6.2). “A number of items are “in development” but we’re looking for feedback, so it was better to push these early!” stated by the announcement.
The new features in this beta release include net names on tracks in the PCB editor.
The 7.6.2 beta version introduced a new button. It’s called MAKE button.
MAKE button produces the necessary outputs for fabrication, assembly, test, etc and upload your design files (including schematic, PCB, BOM, etc) to your user profile on Autodesk’s Circuits.io site.
Another new button is called MCAD. This button will upload your design to ECAD.io which is an online Electrical CAD (ECAD) to Mechanical CAD (MCAD) file converter.
Visit eagle.io to see the announcement and to download the new beta version.
The video below demonstrates how MAKE button works.
If you’re one of EAGLE CAD fans, and you were wondering how some boards like Arduino boards have what’s called a negative silkscreen, hollow rectangles or shapes by text or logo, then you will learn how to do it with Ishaan’s video tutorial.
Ishaan used a ULP called “negasilk.ulp” in his tutorial. It is written by Christian Bohrer, and it can be downloaded here.
We’ve tested this trick in ElectronicsLab using these steps:
Adding some texts on layer 41tRestrict.
Drawing a rectangular polygon in 1Top layer with width 8 mil (according to Ishaan, this ULP accepts only this width), and don’t forget to hit ratsnest.
A script file is generated in the same directory of your .brd file, open it and make the following modification using any text editor (adding layer 21 line). Set Wire_Bend 2; LAYER 21; GRID MM;
Finally, delete the unwanted polygon and text from layer 41 and layer 1.
You can see these steps in the following GIF(click to view):
Omniblox is a very good 3D Eagle .brd 3D viewer created by Benjamin D. Richards and David ten Have, but some script knowledge is needed to use it.
Looking to render printed circuit boards (PCBs)? Look no further. This script loads and renders them visually using a .brd file created by CadSoft EAGLE (version 6.0 or later).
There are a number of ways to render PCBs, but this script visualizes them as THREE.js models.
We’re still working on this, so the script isn’t 100% accurate. With that in mind, it’s probably best to use this as a visualization aid only — so don’t use it for to build anything ‘mission critical’ (for now…). And we’ve done our best to flag stuff that needs sorting.