Question about PCB software (and making the boards at home)

Started by Gunnar April 23, 2005
Hi all,

I stumbled over an ad on www.circuitcellar.com about free PCB software 
(http://www.pcb123.com/).
I would like to have some feedback about this software from anyone using it, 
possibly comparing it to other PCB software out there.

My needs are simple, I am planning to build small projects for personal use.
On that note, how many of you are making your own boards at home? I used to 
make boards 20-30 years ago, but at the time I used parts such as 
transistors and TTL ICs. Now with surface mount ICs it is scary trying to 
make boards...

My own thought is that it is better to have the boards made by a 
professional outfit.

Thanks.

Gunnar. 


Gunnar wrote:

>Hi all,
Hey!
>I stumbled over an ad on www.circuitcellar.com about free PCB software >(http://www.pcb123.com/). >I would like to have some feedback about this software from anyone using it, >possibly comparing it to other PCB software out there.
I've not used PCB123 but have used ExpressPCB (http://www.expresspcb.com/) with success and satisfaction.
>My needs are simple, I am planning to build small projects for personal use. >On that note, how many of you are making your own boards at home? I used to >make boards 20-30 years ago, but at the time I used parts such as >transistors and TTL ICs. Now with surface mount ICs it is scary trying to >make boards... > >My own thought is that it is better to have the boards made by a >professional outfit.
I agree, and it's so much easier to let them deal with the ugly details of board production. Just not having to deal with spent echant disposal makes it worth the price!
>Thanks.
Yer welcome. -- ======================================================================== Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make | two, one and one make one." mkesti@gv.net | - The Who, Bargain
"Michael R. Kesti" wrote:


>I've not used PCB123 but have used ExpressPCB (http://www.expresspcb.com/) >with success and satisfaction.
I meant to add this link to an 8051-based MIDI Timecode display I did using ExpressPCB's software and services. http://www.gv.net/~mkesti/MTCdisplay/ -- ======================================================================== Michael Kesti | "And like, one and one don't make | two, one and one make one." mkesti@gv.net | - The Who, Bargain
Gunnar wrote:

> Hi all, > > I stumbled over an ad on www.circuitcellar.com about free PCB software > (http://www.pcb123.com/). > I would like to have some feedback about this software from anyone using > it, possibly comparing it to other PCB software out there. > > My needs are simple, I am planning to build small projects for personal > use. On that note, how many of you are making your own boards at home? I > used to make boards 20-30 years ago, but at the time I used parts such as > transistors and TTL ICs. Now with surface mount ICs it is scary trying to > make boards... > > My own thought is that it is better to have the boards made by a > professional outfit. > > Thanks. > > Gunnar.
I agree that getting a professional board fabrication outfit to build the board is often better than doing it yourself. Unless you have plenty of time and the right equipment at home you will find that the cost of doing the board building can often be met by some more overtime at your normal day job. As for decent CAD tools then I suggest looking at:- <http://www.vutrax.co.uk/> They apparently do a Linux version as well as a Windows version. There is a free download that you can use for small projects. If you need a bigger board capability then you can buy the extra capacity. -- ******************************************************************** Paul E. Bennett ....................<email://peb@amleth.demon.co.uk> Forth based HIDECS Consultancy .....<http://www.amleth.demon.co.uk/> Mob: +44 (0)7811-639972 Tel: +44 (0)1235-811095 Going Forth Safely ....EBA. http://www.electric-boat-association.org.uk/ ********************************************************************
>Hi all, > >I stumbled over an ad on www.circuitcellar.com about free PCB software >(http://www.pcb123.com/). >I would like to have some feedback about this software from anyone using it, >possibly comparing it to other PCB software out there. > >My needs are simple, I am planning to build small projects for personal use. >On that note, how many of you are making your own boards at home? I used to >make boards 20-30 years ago, but at the time I used parts such as >transistors and TTL ICs. Now with surface mount ICs it is scary trying to >make boards... > >My own thought is that it is better to have the boards made by a >professional outfit.
Gunnar I can't comment on the free PCB software you mentioned, but some words about home PCB production: - SMD does not complicate things. In fact it's making things often easier. - Making your own boards is having a lot of advantages, but the degree of the advantage may vary great&#2013266166;y on where you are located etc. I.e. where I live, "in country" made PCB's are horribly expensive and haveing them made at cheaper locations add's a lot of aditional delay. - You can do quite cool PCB's at home if you are dedicated. I.e. I'm making my own though plated multi layer PCB's at home. See www.myhome.ch/mzingg/pcbstuff/tps If you need ~50 PCBs/year, you will end up with ~$10/board asuming we talk about four layers, 200 holes and 4x4" size. To me, the biggest advantage is not necesarily cost saving. It's the fact that you have the PCB in your hands just some hours after you decided that you need one. Just my 2&#2013266082; of course Markus PS: The home made ones are for prototyping and personal use only. Production runs are always made in a boardhouse.
On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 16:36:54 GMT, "Gunnar" <sorry@nomail.com> wrote:

>Hi all, > >I stumbled over an ad on www.circuitcellar.com about free PCB software >(http://www.pcb123.com/). >I would like to have some feedback about this software from anyone using it, >possibly comparing it to other PCB software out there. > >My needs are simple, I am planning to build small projects for personal use. >On that note, how many of you are making your own boards at home? I used to >make boards 20-30 years ago, but at the time I used parts such as >transistors and TTL ICs. Now with surface mount ICs it is scary trying to >make boards... > >My own thought is that it is better to have the boards made by a >professional outfit. > >Thanks. > >Gunnar. >
If you have enough space to set up equipment permanently, and can live without through-plating, homebrew PCBs can be fast and easy. For lots of info on making good quality PCBs, see www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html
Hi Mike,

good info! Thanks,

Gunnar,

"Mike Harrison" <mike@whitewing.co.uk> wrote in message 
news:3l8n619hsuvjrcp7e8236bcss801d0108k@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 16:36:54 GMT, "Gunnar" <sorry@nomail.com> wrote:
> If you have enough space to set up equipment permanently, and can live > without through-plating, > homebrew PCBs can be fast and easy. > For lots of info on making good quality PCBs, see > www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html >
"Markus Zingg" <m.zingg@nct.ch> wrote in message 
news:uial61tq9a6s7clm5hmhg3evn5cm127br8@4ax.com...

> - You can do quite cool PCB's at home if you are dedicated. I.e. I'm > making my own though plated multi layer PCB's at home. See > www.myhome.ch/mzingg/pcbstuff/tps If you need ~50 PCBs/year, you will > end up with ~$10/board asuming we talk about four layers, 200 holes > and 4x4" size. To me, the biggest advantage is not necesarily cost > saving. It's the fact that you have the PCB in your hands just some > hours after you decided that you need one. > Markus >
Markus, pretty cool! It seems overkill for me though at the moment. Will keep a link to your site though, one never knows when this might come in handy... Gunnar
"Paul E. Bennett" <peb@amleth.demon.co.uk> wrote in message 
news:d4dvns$oso$1$8300dec7@news.demon.co.uk...
> Gunnar wrote:
[snip]
> > As for decent CAD tools then I suggest looking at:- > > <http://www.vutrax.co.uk/> > > They apparently do a Linux version as well as a Windows version. There is > a > free download that you can use for small projects. If you need a bigger > board capability then you can buy the extra capacity. >
Thanks Paul. Gunnar.
"Michael R. Kesti" <mkesti@gv.net> wrote in message 
news:426A8006.94FED6E2@gv.net...
> "Michael R. Kesti" wrote: > > >>I've not used PCB123 but have used ExpressPCB (http://www.expresspcb.com/) >>with success and satisfaction. > > I meant to add this link to an 8051-based MIDI Timecode display I did > using ExpressPCB's software and services. > > http://www.gv.net/~mkesti/MTCdisplay/ >
Thanks for the links Michael. Gunnar.