Ah yes, this is true, but you are also comparing a $4,000-$6,000 software against one that is free. So not a totally apples to apples comparison. Though, comparing SpaceClaim to SolidWorks/SolidEdge would be a more complete comparison. There you will find that each has their niche. SpaceClaim is much better for prep work for analysis. It is head and shoulder above SolidWorks or SolidEdge in this area.
We basically agree DS Mech looks good for modeling PCBs. My point is that, for example, it wouldn't be a suitable replacement for SolidWorks at my company (the lack of import & export options alone is enough to eliminate it -- we have to deal with models from various sources, create drawings, etc).
VHB, Thanks for sharing. One thing that concerns me is I am not personally a big fan of having to move things from one package to another. This is a personal preference, but it is based upon me coming from the manufacturing world. It can get very dangerous if data is not connected together. A change can be made, but then not propagate through to the end design. This then makes it hard to trouble shoot a problem. This may not be a concern for others as they may be more organized than I am ;)
I had looked at that one when making this list. It does look like it could end up maturing into something very nice, but it did not quite have all the features that I was looking for. I do appreciate mentioning it. I do like to keep track of these groups. There is another group that I am following as well, hoping that they can get some of these things together into a nice poilshed package.
Most of the PCB packages do not have built in modeling, though one does that I mentioned above. Many of these still do not understand that STEP is the industry standard.
That aside, I mainly do 3D mechanical package design in a cad tool and then attach it to the part library. DesignSpark Mechanical is not as weak as you indicate. In the base package compared to the base packages for SolidWorks and SolidEdge, I would say that it is pretty close to comparable. The biggest thing, and I needed to get some understanding of this, is that the work flow is different in DesignSpark Mechanical. Once I got to learning the new work flow, I have found it to be rather great to use. If you are speaking of lofting and surfacing, the yes, both of the packages that you listed are better than DesignSpark Mechanical. Thankfully, though, most of the people needing to use a low cost MCAD package for designing electronics components should find that DS Mechanical will do what they need.
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.
Blog Make a Frequency Plan Tom Burke 17 comments When designing a printed circuit board, you should develop a frequency plan, something that can be easily overlooked. A frequency plan should be one of your first steps ...