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Affordable PCB Layout Software ???

Started by Blackwater July 30, 2008
"James Arthur" <bogusabdsqy@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:As2kk.561$rb5.462@trnddc04...
[...]
> I've done several boards with Sprint-Layout 5.0. > > http://www.abacom-online.de/uk/html/sprint-layout.html > > 39 Euros, download and go. > > (sPlan, their schematic editor, is available for the same > price, but I haven't used it.) > > I like Sprint-Layout quite a lot. Particularly, I find the > menus and functions clear, fast, and logical. It's compact, > and easy to make footprints, outputs Gerbers, etc. Control > of trace widths and pads is wonderfully simple. > > I've never had it hang or crash. > > Its only failing so far is the pin-to-pin autorouter, > which does crappy routings. Protel's EasyTrax did that > very well, and I miss it, but hand-routing isn't difficult. > > I love the rubber-banded wiring feature: quickly click > in wires you plan to place and a blue trace appears to > remind you to make each connection. > > I mean to try gEDA some time, but this is what I use now. > > HTH, > James Arthur
'Till your mention, hadn't come across it before. Just trying the demo'. Seems fast, no fluff. I really like the milling and HPGL stuff , though can't seem to find any library items.
john jardine wrote:
> "James Arthur" <bogusabdsqy@verizon.net> wrote in message > news:As2kk.561$rb5.462@trnddc04... > [...] >> I've done several boards with Sprint-Layout 5.0. >> >> http://www.abacom-online.de/uk/html/sprint-layout.html >> >> 39 Euros, download and go. >> >> (sPlan, their schematic editor, is available for the same >> price, but I haven't used it.) >> >> I like Sprint-Layout quite a lot. Particularly, I find the >> menus and functions clear, fast, and logical. It's compact, >> and easy to make footprints, outputs Gerbers, etc. Control >> of trace widths and pads is wonderfully simple. >> >> I've never had it hang or crash. >> >> Its only failing so far is the pin-to-pin autorouter, >> which does crappy routings. Protel's EasyTrax did that >> very well, and I miss it, but hand-routing isn't difficult. >> >> I love the rubber-banded wiring feature: quickly click >> in wires you plan to place and a blue trace appears to >> remind you to make each connection. >> >> I mean to try gEDA some time, but this is what I use now. >> >> HTH, >> James Arthur > > 'Till your mention, hadn't come across it before. > Just trying the demo'. Seems fast, no fluff. I really like the milling and > HPGL stuff , though can't seem to find any library items. > >
The library is extensive, and super-easily accessed, extended, and modified: items pop up in a toolbar on the right-hand side of the screen. Options-->Show Macro-Library. (I'm not sure how much library you get with the demo.) Oh, it's limited to four trace layers, if that's a problem for some. It's not for me. Large boards are fine, metric or english units, etc. I've more than recouped my 39 euros just in the time saved learning the program and its ease of use -- it's logical and clean to where I've scarcely needed to check the help files. Just click the icons, and it does what I want. Fast. It really is a sweet program. Cheers, James Arthur
Give a try to Proteus (www.labcenter.co.uk), we have switched to it from 
more expensive packages a couple of years ago and we are delighted. 
Especially with the mixed signal VSM simulator of course but the PCB design 
suite has all the features we need even for quite complex RF designs.

Robert



"Blackwater" <bw@barrk.net> a &#2013265929;crit dans le message de news: 
489081d0.15733031@news.east.earthlink.net...
> Um ... has there been some kind of conspiracy at work over > the past few years to totally drain the marketplace of > decent PCB layout/routing software ??? > > Circuitmaker, Protel, Traxmaker ... the sub-$200 kind of > goodies that combined all the good features with intuitive > no-BS interfaces - gone. Seems they've all been bought-up > and destroyed by Altium - which will now generously sell you > their "complete system" for more than your slightly-used > SUV will get you at trade-in nowadays. > > Well, I don't *need* a "complete system" ... I just need to > be able to blast out smallish PCBs using mostly manual routing > and create files that the cheap commercial boardmakers can > use with their latest machines (lately we seem to see a lot > more boards produced by milling technology). > > Oh sure, some of those boardmakers will generously let you > use THEIR layout software ... "theirs" in that they've tweaked > it so you can only send the design to THEIR company instead > of a competitors - unless you want to toss all your old > designs and start from scratch. > > Conspiracy, or racket ? > > For now I'm using my creaky old TraxMaker-3 program. GREAT > package, EASY to use, LOTS of options, point-n-click and > spin and drag stuff anywhere you want ... but it's OLD and > can't do the trick for milled boards. OK if I want to make > phototemplates and do a few prototype boards myself, but ... > > I've looked at some of free/cheap stuff - Vutrax, Pad2Pad, > Eagle etc and frankly they STINK. Not intuitive or overly > attached to autorouting or miniscule component libraries > or mostly some combo of "all of the above". > > Is there some middle ground left out there SOMEWHERE ? > I'd love something that has much the look & feel & ease > of Traxmaker but a more modern selection of capabilities, > libraries and export options. My wallet isn't that deep > however... I could afford maybe $250-$350, somewhere in > there. > > Is there any hope ? Something I've missed ? Winders ? Linux ? > Address of the "Society For The Prevention of Software Rip-Offs" ??? >
"Robert Lacoste" <use-contact-at-www-alciom-com-for-email> wrote in message
news:4891aae3$0$883$ba4acef3@news.orange.fr...
> Give a try to Proteus (www.labcenter.co.uk), we have switched to it from > more expensive packages a couple of years ago and we are delighted. > Especially with the mixed signal VSM simulator of course but the PCB
design
> suite has all the features we need even for quite complex RF designs.
How would Proteus compare to the combo OrCAD Schematich and PCB? I am still running V9.2 here and am very reluctant to upgrade to Cadence. But I also have a lot of designs in OrCAD.... Meindert
lynchaj <lynchaj@yahoo.com> wrote:

>On Jul 30, 11:27=A0am, b...@barrk.net (Blackwater) wrote: >> Um ... has there been some kind of conspiracy at work over >> the past few years to totally drain the marketplace of >> decent PCB layout/routing software ??? >> >> Circuitmaker, Protel, Traxmaker ... the sub-$200 kind of >> goodies that combined all the good features with intuitive >> no-BS interfaces - gone. Seems they've all been bought-up >> and destroyed by Altium - which will now generously sell you >> their "complete system" for more than your slightly-used >> SUV will get you at trade-in nowadays. >> >> Well, I don't *need* a "complete system" ... I just need to >> be able to blast out smallish PCBs using mostly manual routing >> and create files that the cheap commercial boardmakers can >> use with their latest machines (lately we seem to see a lot >> more boards produced by milling technology). >> >> >> Is there any hope ? Something I've missed ? Winders ? Linux ? >> Address of the "Society For The Prevention of Software Rip-Offs" ??? > >Hi, > >I recommend the combination of KiCad and FreeRouting.net. It is an >almost unbeatable combination. > >KiCad is free as in beer and speech, runs on Windows and Linux. It >has an interface to use FreeRouting.net for autorouting or manual >routing of PCB traces.
I tried KiCad last night, but I'm not that impressed. The user interface is a bit clumsy and I can't find shortcuts. I like CAD software where most elementary operations have shortcuts so you don't need the mouse too much. -- Programmeren in Almere? E-mail naar nico@nctdevpuntnl (punt=.)
On Jul 31, 8:47 am, n...@puntnl.niks (Nico Coesel) wrote:
> lynchaj <lync...@yahoo.com> wrote: > >On Jul 30, 11:27=A0am, b...@barrk.net (Blackwater) wrote: > >> Um ... has there been some kind of conspiracy at work over > >> the past few years to totally drain the marketplace of > >> decent PCB layout/routing software ??? > > >> Circuitmaker, Protel, Traxmaker ... the sub-$200 kind of > >> goodies that combined all the good features with intuitive > >> no-BS interfaces - gone. Seems they've all been bought-up > >> and destroyed by Altium - which will now generously sell you > >> their "complete system" for more than your slightly-used > >> SUV will get you at trade-in nowadays. > > >> Well, I don't *need* a "complete system" ... I just need to > >> be able to blast out smallish PCBs using mostly manual routing > >> and create files that the cheap commercial boardmakers can > >> use with their latest machines (lately we seem to see a lot > >> more boards produced by milling technology). > > >> Is there any hope ? Something I've missed ? Winders ? Linux ? > >> Address of the "Society For The Prevention of Software Rip-Offs" ??? > > >Hi, > > >I recommend the combination of KiCad and FreeRouting.net. It is an > >almost unbeatable combination. > > >KiCad is free as in beer and speech, runs on Windows and Linux. It > >has an interface to use FreeRouting.net for autorouting or manual > >routing of PCB traces. > > I tried KiCad last night, but I'm not that impressed. The user > interface is a bit clumsy and I can't find shortcuts. I like CAD > software where most elementary operations have shortcuts so you don't > need the mouse too much.
Take a look at FreePCB. Nearly all of the commands are through the Fx keys. In fact, the original versions did not support many commands via the right mouse button or through the menus. In fact, you couldn't even click the hot key labels at the bottom of the screen. That has been changed so that you typically have three options on how to invoke a command and many have four (menu, right click menu, clickable hot key label and the hot key itself). I have been using it enough that I am used to it. There were a few things I had to get used to, but *nothing* like learning Eagle. I think the one that bothered me the most is that when you click something on the screen, if there is overlap it will select a part first. This can make it hard to select a net or vertex. But that is solved by using the selection mask on the left side of the screen. So it works pretty well and a lot of the rough edges have been smoothed off. Since it is not commercial software, but rather a program that was written for the author to use, it gets changed when a rough edge is pointed out. You don't have to deal with a bureaucracy to get something improved. There is a Yahoo group for support, or better, the forum on the freepcb.com web page which is very active. A couple of people write supporting software to provide XYRS files, documentation and the like. All in all it is pretty sweet! Rick
bw@barrk.net (Blackwater) wrote in news:489081d0.15733031
@news.east.earthlink.net:

> Um ... has there been some kind of conspiracy at work over > the past few years to totally drain the marketplace of > decent PCB layout/routing software ???
4pcb has a decent free package. Slightly cripple until after your first order of a board with them, but fully enabled afterward. -- Scott Reverse name to reply


Robert Lacoste wrote:

>Give a try to Proteus (www.labcenter.co.uk), we have switched >to it from more expensive packages a couple of years ago and >we are delighted. Especially with the mixed signal VSM simulator >of course but the PCB design suite has all the features we >need even for quite complex RF designs.
Interesting product! The prices seem quite reasonable for what you get. Current prices: For 150 Pounds Sterling (~300 UD Dollars) you get: 500 pins maximum, One Power Planes per layer Standard Autorouting (not Rip-up and Retry) No 3D Board Visualisation No ODB++ Manufacturing Output No Gate-Swap Optimizer No Autoplace For 295 Pounds Sterling (~590 US Dollars) you get: The above features, except 1000 pins maximum. For 395 Pounds Sterling (~790 US Dollars) you get: The above features, except 2000 pins maximum. For 595 Pounds Sterling (~1190 US Dollars) you get: 1000 pins maximum, Unlimited Power Planes per layer, Rip-up and Retry Autorouting 3D Board Visualisation ODB++ Manufacturing Output Gate-Swap Optimizer Autoplace For 995 Pounds Sterling (~1980 US Dollars) you get: The above features, except 2000 pins maximum. For 1225 Pounds Sterling (~2450 US Dollars) you get: The above features with unlimited pins. All of the above come with basic simulation. For advanced simulation, add 195 Pounds Sterling (~390 US Dollars). Thet also offer Microcontroller Simulation for ARM, AVR, HC11, PIC, 8051, Basic Stamp and USB at prices ranging from 150 Pounds Sterling (~300 US Dollars) to 395 Pounds Sterling (~790 US Dollars). A free demo is available (save and print disabled). References: http://www.labcenter.co.uk/ordering/cprices.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/pcb_overview.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/schematic.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/pcblayout.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/basicsim.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/advancedsim.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/products/vsm_overview.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/vmodels/peripherals.cfm http://www.labcenter.co.uk/download/prodemo_download.cfm -- Guy Macon <http://www.GuyMacon.com/>
On 31 Jul, 13:33, "Meindert Sprang" <m...@NOJUNKcustomORSPAMware.nl>
wrote:
> "Robert Lacoste" <use-contact-at-www-alciom-com-for-email> wrote in message > > news:4891aae3$0$883$ba4acef3@news.orange.fr... > > > Give a try to Proteus (www.labcenter.co.uk), we have switched to it from > > more expensive packages a couple of years ago and we are delighted. > > Especially with the mixed signal VSM simulator of course but the PCB > design > > suite has all the features we need even for quite complex RF designs. > > How would Proteus compare to the combo OrCAD Schematich and PCB? I am still > running V9.2 here and am very reluctant to upgrade to Cadence. > > But I also have a lot of designs in OrCAD.... > > Meindert
The Pulsonix software I use does a good job importing OrCAD designs: http://www.pulsonix.com Leon
On Jul 31, 9:54 am, Scott Seidman <namdiestt...@mindspring.com> wrote:
> b...@barrk.net (Blackwater) wrote in news:489081d0.15733031 > @news.east.earthlink.net: > > > Um ... has there been some kind of conspiracy at work over > > the past few years to totally drain the marketplace of > > decent PCB layout/routing software ??? > > 4pcb has a decent free package. Slightly cripple until after your first > order of a board with them, but fully enabled afterward.
I have to say that is one of the stranger marketing concepts I have ever heard of. Provide free software so that your potential customers can use your services, but cripple it for their first order! When you say crippled, is that in terms of functionality or working with a third party? Rick