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Top Free DIY Tools Every EE Needs

4/30/2014 04:10 PM EDT
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joe_hufford
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Don't Forget
joe_hufford   4/30/2014 5:54:20 PM
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Don't forget scilab. I use it all the time. Like matlab but free.

przem
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You missed several excellent Free programs
przem   4/30/2014 11:03:55 PM
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You missed several excellent Free programs

KiCAD for schematics/PCB/gerber viewing

FreeCAD for 3D Mechanical CAD

Octave as Matlab clone

libreCAD (fork of qcad) 2D mechanical CAD

zeeglen
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Re: You missed several excellent Free programs
zeeglen   4/30/2014 11:42:39 PM
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The author has covered many good examples of freeware but obviously cannot list all of them.  KiCAD is already fairly well known, as is LTspice.  I think the author's intent is to list not-so-well-known freeware, and I applaud his efforts.

Readers' comments as to other good examples of freeware are very useful too, and add informative detail to the original article.

elizabethsimon
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Re: You missed several excellent Free programs
elizabethsimon   4/30/2014 11:43:33 PM
Not to forget LTSpice either

 

betajet
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Re: You missed several excellent Free programs
betajet   5/1/2014 12:02:55 AM
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gplEDA on page 12 include KiCAD and other tools, so Cabe probably figures that if you follow his "must have" list you'll get KiCAD automatically.

ChristophZ
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Alternative to Mach3
ChristophZ   5/1/2014 5:03:10 AM
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Page15 about Mach3: Unfortunately, the software is currently for Windows only, so Linux users will have to beg, borrow, or steal a machine outfitted with the OS until it's been converted.

You don't need to change the OS. For Linux there is LinuxCNC (originally known as EMC2, enhanced machine controller). It's based on a realtime extenstion to the Linux kernel (Xenomai) for the critical parts and a GUI. It also includes a ladder-logic PLC to automate parts of a machine. The G-Code preview is rendered using OpenGL.

There is a quite strong community around LinuxCNC (as with Mach3 as well), both are used very successfully to retrofit old machines (with broken controllers or to upgrade manual machines).

Measurement.Blues
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Re: You missed several excellent Free programs
Measurement.Blues   5/1/2014 9:18:09 AM
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Nice list, but nothing here for test & measurement

Any suggestions?

fpgaeng
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need a verilog simulator
fpgaeng   5/1/2014 4:53:00 PM
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what about a good verilog/vhdl simulator?

Crusty1
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Re: need a verilog simulator
Crusty1   5/4/2014 5:06:34 AM
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@fpgaeng: I would agree that a good free simulation suite/ide would be great.

So many of the free environments provided by the FPGA chip vendors comes with too much capability turned off and awaiting a fee to activate.

Thats waht I like about Atmel IDE's very little, if any, functions or features are disabled, why cripple your product line at the time a user is thinking about implimenting your chip.

The Free version of VeeCad takes a Tiny Cad schematic and will help layout on perfboard (vero board) the circuit. Been using thes two for years as a quick breadboard development set of tools.

 

kfield
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Re: You missed several excellent Free programs
kfield   5/5/2014 9:51:50 AM
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Martin - sounds like a good topic for you to research!!! 

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