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KICAD Free and Open Source EDA Tool

CompositeKICAD is free and open source engineering design software, including schematic capture and PCB layout tools. There is even a plug-in that does 3D modeling of your PCB. Versions for Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX are available From what I can tell after playing with it a short time, it is complete and well done. I can not see why KICAD would not become the standard tool for open source hardware design efforts.

The main KICAD web site includes a good overview with screen shots. Find the windows installer download from the main site. Then study the tutorial to get started. There is also a site devoted to public part libraries
to get you started.

I found out about KICAD from uCHobby regular “follower” while looking around his “Rancid Bacon” web site. The “Rancid Bacon” web site includes great resources for the microcontroller hobbyist. Pay special attention to the Notes section.

Leave a comment to let us know what you think about KICAD. Unless I find something wrong with it, I plan to make KICAD my standard EDA tool.

Posted in Development Tools, Electronics Links, Review, Workshop Tools.

11 Responses

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  1. Andrew W. said

    Where is the Mac version? You’re breaking my heart here. I was so hopeful.

  2. I use and much prefer Eagle, also I will admit it sucks being restricted to 100mmm by 160mmm.

  3. dfowler said

    Andrew,

    Looks like its an unoffical build. I found it at the Rancid Bacon site below. I have a Mac Book Pro so please let me know if you get this working. Perhaps Follower will give us some insight.

    http://code.rancidbacon.com/LearningAboutKiCad

  4. Yeah, unfortunately the guy took down his binaries and my laptop with them on is in need of serious repairs so I can’t access them. Ditto the build I made… :-(

    If you follow some of the details in http://code.rancidbacon.com/BuildingKiCadOnMacOSX you might be able to rebuild it yourself.

    Unfortunately as I note on the page, the version I built seemed to have more issues than the older version built by the other guy.

    The biggest issue was with the cursor/marquee lines not being erased properly. This would probably make using it on OS X a pretty miserable experience.

    If/when I get my PowerBook fixed I’ll probably try again.

    –Phil.

  5. I’m very interested in getting an OSX version, too…

    Please keep us updated (-:

    S

  6. I think this link could be of interest, there is a link to a OSX version, how to build it, tutorials, etc.

    http://www.kicadlib.org/Kicad_related_links.html

  7. @Jaime:

    Unfortunately the link to the binaries on that page is to a site whose owner removed the binaries… :-(

    Assuming you meant http://lothar.dnsalias.net/wordpress/?page_id=30 for the second site, I do recall seeing that information before–from memory it was either included into the source, or some dicussion around it faded out… I could be wrong on that tho.

    –Phil.

  8. Daniel said

    What is the version for VISTA? I hate when they don’t tell you which to download.

  9. Daniel said

    Update: Grab the windowsxp self installer version, if you have vista, no more problems.

  10. If such software would be shifted to community developed CAD platform it could be a great free alternative to eagle cad and other choices among hobbyists. The idea of Kicad really looks promising – I should give a try.

  11. bino balqs said

    i want to try this software for my pcb design.
    thanks.