Design Con 2015
Breaking News
Comments
Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
<<   <   Page 4 / 5   >   >>
VBH
User Rank
Rookie
TinyCad and FreePCB, a pair of elegant PCB tools.
VBH   10/29/2013 3:35:41 PM
NO RATINGS
I use TinyCad available at

http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/tinycad/index.php?title=TinyCAD'

as a schematic entry package.  It is an elegantly simple schematic entry program that makes it easy to create a library of your own symbols.  It has a nice design-rule checker for schematics.  I like the fact that you can use color in your symbols to create visually meaningful circuit designs.  You can also add metadata (e.g. Distributor, Manuacturer, Circuit Parameters, etc.) to each symbol or symbol instance and create both BOMs and Net Lists with this information.  I export the PCB net list into FreePCB to do the actuall layout.  I've found that it is also fairly easy to create part footprints in FreePCB.  The user interface in FreePCB is attractive to me becuase it seems to have been designed to make creating manual layouts easy.  A small number of aptly named keystrokes makes it easy change layers, run traces, wire and unwire segments, etc.  My collegues and I have created about 30 PCBs over the past couple of years using these tools and we've been very pleased with the results.

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Re: How good are PCB 3D models?
TonyTib   10/29/2013 3:35:03 PM
NO RATINGS
Two comments:

1.  How much does ePlan 3D cost?  I've looked into machine schematic software, and most of it is way too expensive.

2. I'm pretty sure ePlan 3D still isn't a good fit, because it's designed for wire harness and control cabinet design, not PCB design.


If the PCB software can't handle good 3D design, then probably the best flow is PCB software with IDF export to MCAD with IDF import.

 

docdivakar
User Rank
CEO
Re: How good are PCB 3D models?
docdivakar   10/29/2013 3:16:38 PM
NO RATINGS
@TonyTib  I agree... one other tool that is more CAD-friendly is Rittal / ePlan's harness & connector design tool, ePlan3D. One nice thing about this tool is that it lets you calculate the equivalent length of straightened cables (nail board model) before you can shape it in 3D. It supports all major CAD tool formats.

MP Divakar

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
Re: How good are PCB 3D models?
TonyTib   10/29/2013 3:07:47 PM
NO RATINGS
Yup, that's fine for chips and such (which are pretty simple mechanically), but pretty useless for connectors (which I use a lot).  Here's a model of a break out board I designed in Eagle PCB, and then did the 3D model in Alibre Design (now Geomagic Design Elements).

Breakout board model
How easy is it to create an equivalent model in PCB software only?

BTW, I haven't got played with it yet, but my quick impression of RS Design Mech is that it should be pretty good for PCB modelling, but not competition for traditional MCAD (e.g. Solid Edge, Solid Works)

alex_m1
User Rank
CEO
Re: Funnily enough...
alex_m1   10/29/2013 2:31:05 PM
NO RATINGS
@Aeroengineer , another free cost tool is circuits.io which have a unique way to modularize schematics and PCB and to share them in a way that can save tons of time and complexity.

It seems like something that can have a big effect on the electronics indsutry if liked by people and semi companies.

docdivakar
User Rank
CEO
Re: How good are PCB 3D models?
docdivakar   10/29/2013 2:07:50 PM
NO RATINGS
@TonyTib  typically one has to define the package dimensions and store in the library for 3D visualization. At the bare minimum, one has to define the component height.

Regarding usable output formats like STEP or IGES, very few or none(?) do that at the moment. Cadence's Allegro does have 3D visualization of the board assembly but the current version does not export to the mentioned formats. STL is good for 3D printing (as are the other models) but not ideal for importing to CAD assemblies.

MP Divakar

tom-ii
User Rank
Blogger
Re: PCB Tools
tom-ii   10/29/2013 6:53:52 AM
NO RATINGS
FreePCB has been around a long time.  I don't think it's updated any more, but:

 

1) up to 14 layers

2) it can import a PSPICE netlist (with some work)

3) it has a tie-in to a Java-based autorouter (which is helpful for little things)

4) The footprint editor is fairly easy to use.

I've found it to be a really useful tool for smaller PCBs that I do at home, and sometimes even work....

TonyTib
User Rank
CEO
How good are PCB 3D models?
TonyTib   10/28/2013 8:33:12 PM
NO RATINGS
Where does the PCB software get its information for the 3D model?  Also, can they output the 3D model is a useful file format (e.g. STEP, not just STL)?

At work, I design our PCS (which are pretty simple) in Eagle PCB, and then pass a DXF footprint over to the ME's, who use 3D models from the manufacturers (typically STEP or IGES) to model the board (occasionally they have to model a new part)   This process works well for us; the ME's can model a board pretty quickly, and we don't do it that often.

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: PCB Tools
Aeroengineer   10/28/2013 7:53:44 PM
NO RATINGS
I had not come across FreePCB before, I will take a look.  What are the features that you like about it?  How does it compare/contrast to other software packages?

 

I believe that some of the tools that I mentioned had the ability to push to a spice simulation, but I am not too sure about the import.  I will see if I can look into that.

Aeroengineer
User Rank
Blogger
Re: PCB Tools
Aeroengineer   10/28/2013 7:46:51 PM
NO RATINGS
MP, I am glad that you have enjoyed the articles, and yes I have seen that I have a few mechanical guys and gals following along.  I really do appreciate the support.  If there are topics that you would like me to write on, please let me know.  I am always open to considering new things, or perhaps I may already have some experience in these areas.

 

As to the mention of KiCAD, I had not see that thread that you mentioned.  Thanks for pointing it out.  I look forward to seeing the promised blog posts.  I have heard that KiCAD is planning on making a few upgrades.  I had heard that they upgraded their 3D viewer and I hear that they will soon have a footprint generator.  This was the biggest thing for me.  I am not a fan of having to go and dig up something similar to make a new part.  It is just a poor workflow.

<<   <   Page 4 / 5   >   >>


Top Comments of the Week
Flash Poll
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

Max's BADASS Display: A Comedy of Errors
Max Maxfield
3 comments
Good grief -- where does the time go? I first determined to build my Bodacious Acoustic Diagnostic Astoundingly Superior Spectromatic (BADASS) display way back in the mists of time we used ...

<b><a href=Betajet">

The Circle – The Future's Imperfect in the Present Tense
Betajet
5 comments
The Circle, a satirical, dystopian novel published in 2013 by San Francisco-based writer Dave Eggers, is about a large, very powerful technology company that combines aspects of Google, ...

Martin Rowe

Make This Engineering Museum a Reality
Martin Rowe
Post a comment
Vincent Valentine is a man on a mission. He wants to make the first house to ever have a telephone into a telephone museum. Without help, it may not happen.

Rich Quinnell

Making the Grade in Industrial Design
Rich Quinnell
16 comments
As every developer knows, there are the paper specifications for a product design, and then there are the real requirements. The paper specs are dry, bland, and rigidly numeric, making ...

Special Video Section
The LT8640 is a 42V, 5A synchronous step-down regulator ...
The LTC2000 high-speed DAC has low noise and excellent ...
How do you protect the load and ensure output continues to ...
General-purpose DACs have applications in instrumentation, ...
Linear Technology demonstrates its latest measurement ...
10:29
Demos from Maxim Integrated at Electronica 2014 show ...
Bosch CEO Stefan Finkbeiner shows off latest combo and ...
STMicroelectronics demoed this simple gesture control ...
Keysight shows you what signals lurk in real-time at 510MHz ...
TE Connectivity's clear-plastic, full-size model car shows ...
Why culture makes Linear Tech a winner.
Recently formed Architects of Modern Power consortium ...
Specially modified Corvette C7 Stingray responds to ex Indy ...
Avago’s ACPL-K30T is the first solid-state driver qualified ...
NXP launches its line of multi-gate, multifunction, ...
Doug Bailey, VP of marketing at Power Integrations, gives a ...
See how to ease software bring-up with DesignWare IP ...
DesignWare IP Prototyping Kits enable fast software ...
This video explores the LT3086, a new member of our LDO+ ...
In today’s modern electronic systems, the need for power ...