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PCB Design program of your choice

  1. Sep 10, 2014 #1

    what PCB Design program do you prefer? What's the reason for your choice?
    I am freshman to PCB design and working on PADS from Mentor Graphics. But I have to admit it seems me a little bit unintuitive and I am unhappy with non-perfectly fitting transmission lines and prolonged editing of lines. I've seen Altium and was enthusted but by other hand PADS is quickly to learn and I've heard it's one of the most efficiently PCB design program.
    My mentor also told me some of our customers makes their own PCB design in AutoCAD (madness, isn't? :D) due to lack of ultra-high frequency drawing possibilities in all design programs.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2014 #2
    pcb elegance is the last pcb program I used (2001), It was a breeze to use.
  4. Sep 10, 2014 #3
    EAGLE by CadSoft is supposedly quite popular, although I do not have enough experience with various software to tell how it compares to others.

    Informi (informit.com) BTW has a sale on an book on creating circuit boards using EAGLE, although I do not yet know how good the book is (I bought it earlier today). The book, called "Designing Circuit Boards with EAGLE", is written by Matthew Scarpino and is discounted with a discount code "2014BESTOF" (valid until Sept. 30th 2014).
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2014
  5. Sep 11, 2014 #4
    I am not familiar with PCB Elegance but it looks really like "sit and work". Altium takes a couple of week to mastered it due to my first impression. But supposedly the most hard to learn program for me is OrCAD by Cadance which we were taught at school. Hence I've grew up at Eagle as probably the most popular PCB Designer program known to hobbistics. Since in commercial sphere can be found mainly Altium and PADS I've never noticed why Eagle is referred as hobby PCB program for differential pairs and trace length restriction is included beside to option of CS-ROUTER. But I don't remembered if I can for e.g. group figures by it's selecting in schematic as possible in PADS.
  6. Sep 12, 2014 #5
    http://expresspcb.com/ [Broken]

    good free pcb software for small runs of boards but last time I used it it didn't have save to gerber file which is what you want if you want to shop around for pcb production houses.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Sep 12, 2014 #6
    Thanks for the link. ExpressPCB looks like interesting program for a rapid prototyping. Unless gerber data export is a need.
  8. Oct 22, 2014 #7
    i would recommend cadsoft eagle, find it here: http://www.cadsoftusa.com
    we also used in school and i think it was very easy to learn and use.
  9. Oct 22, 2014 #8


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    You can also check out the "Similar Threads" listed at the bottom of the page to get more opinions from previous threads about this topic. :-)
  10. May 13, 2015 #9
    i usually use the Altium to do the design, but there are always some problems when generate gerber file. sometimes, the file is not complete. can you give me some advise?
    by the way, after comparing some manufacturers, i found the china manufacturer's price is competitive, a worthy large production country. jaja. i had brought from pcbpool for one time, very good quality, but the price is expensive. my friend recommend to use: http://www.pcbway.com/j, [Broken] a manufacturer from china, it's good, low price with good quality, i was amazing.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  11. May 16, 2015 #10
    I've used Eagle. I got a site license years ago. Perhaps that's not the best reason since it's a bit of a pain entering all the components. I haven't used any others.

    There are some nice YouTube videos that work as tutorials.

    I did need to figure some waveguides by hand, but that's not hard, since it was all simple 50Ω, on board work.
  12. May 18, 2015 #11
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  13. May 18, 2015 #12
    Have you checked YouTube?
  14. Sep 30, 2015 #13
    I use eagle to make the designs,but I have problem when generating RS-274X format files, got to learn more lessons. For PCB manufacturing, China PCB price is actually better, but the PCB quality is not always as good as expected.
    I've been using http://www.syspcb.com [Broken] recently. They have very low prices and the quality so far is good.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  15. Sep 30, 2015 #14


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  16. Sep 30, 2015 #15
    I used Altium for one board design. Not at all intuitive. It took a couple of weeks to get where I could use it effectively.
  17. Sep 30, 2015 #16


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    I will put in my vote for cadsoft eagle also. :)
  18. Oct 1, 2015 #17


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    Another vote for Eagle. I'd say it's the easiest to get started with and to learn. Plus, the new autorouter in Version 7 is very good.
  19. Oct 1, 2015 #18


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    KiCad seems to be rapidly gaining support from the Physics community. KiCad has the backing of CERN.
    It is cross platform, open source, unlimited, freeware.

    Now is the time to take a look at KiCad. http://kicad-pcb.org/
  20. Oct 1, 2015 #19


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    Having to spend two weeks, learning a package is no really a reason for preferring not to use it. A two week investment is very little in the wider scheme of things. How good do experts say it is?
  21. Oct 1, 2015 #20


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    Having to spend two weeks, learning a package is no really a reason for preferring not to use it. A two week investment is very little in the wider scheme of things. How good do experts say it is?
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