I stumbled upon this today I was wondering if anybody has tried it and has any thoughts on it.
No experience yet - not surprising really as it has just been released by the looks of things.
I downloaded and it starts up pretty well. Tried to add a copper fill to the sample board and it just removed all the tracks, nor could I work out how to connect the fill to a net.
In 5 minutes I reckon:
- It has a clean interface
- It seem to have pretty extensive set of Design Rules
- It will take some time to 'unlearn' your old habits and learn how to use it
- The Library is impressive
- the Price is excellent
Are do going to try it out too? let us know how you go.
Has anyone that has used this tool (DesignSparkPCB?) since the OP able to comment on it? I'm jumping in to design my first PCB and the candidates are KiCad, EaglePCB and DesignSparkPCB. I'd like to learn just one (that means getting it right the first time). Linkage of schematic to board is a requirement. I would go with Eagle since I plan to use SeeedStudio for fabrication, but I think I'll be exceeding the 4"x3" size limit for the free version. I see some have posted positive comments about KiCad, but how rich are the available component libraries? DesignSparkPCB looks pretty good, the free version has no limitations, is not tied to any manufacturer (exports Gerber and Excellon files) and claims to import any Eagle component libraries. That seems almost too good to be true. Any thoughts? Thanks.
I only played with it for a little bit but it seems pretty nice. The latest version even has a 3d viewer which is pretty cool. I do think that you'll find that you will need to make some of your own components which isn't hard, just kind of annoying. If you look around I think spark fun also has their component library converted for it.
If you think you are close to the 3x4 limit of eagle you might still be able to use it. Mac and I discovered that the size limit only applies to the component pads. There is no limit on the board dimensions, copper pour area, drill holes or silk screen. The last set of boards that Mac had made were created with eagle and measured 4x4. All of the RJ-45 jacks were hanging well over edge of eagle's "usable area" but the pads were inside so there were no errors and it worked great. This trick doesn't get you a lot of extra room but it was just enough for what we needed.
Blinky Flashy on a budget since 2009
2009: 32 channels of Grench
2010: 80 channels of home etched Ren-16 Simple and Home etched SSRneons.
Another alternative is PCB Artist from Advanced Circuits - they have a model similar to ExpressPCB where you have to buy boards before getting the Gerbers from them but the SW is very easy to use. You may want to give it a look anyway. If you are going to home etch, you can create your layouts for it free of charge. It has a better library than ExpressPCB as well.
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FWIW, I just finished a project on Diptrace ... boards went out about an hour ago, wish me luck ;-) ... Tired: the schematic conversion was so bad, I ended up starting the PCB from scratch; the silks look like they were created by a five-year-old; flags design flaws but gives no hint or clue how to fix them. ... Wired: limit for free usage is in the pin count, not board size (300); PCB and schematic interface identical; now with a Mac OS X (Snow Leopard, 6.x) port via Wine of all things.