PCB CAD software

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Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Computer Aided Design (CAD) software lets you design circuit diagrams using a schematic editor and a layout editor lets you place components in the schematic and automatically connect traces based on the connections defined in the schematic (auto-route). PCB CAD software is also known as Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software and Electronic CAD (ECAD) software.

PCB CAD software also enables you to generate the Gerber files and Excellon drill files necessary to have the PCB manufactured by a fabricator (FAB). There are a number of cheap [PCB_prototyping_services prototyping services] who will send your files to a FAB to be turned into PCBs which you will receive.

The two most common CAD software programs used by hobbyists are:

  • Kicad GNU GPL; free; Windows, *BSD, Linux, OS X; used for Pinguino boards.
  • Eagle Commercial; free version with restrictions, heavily discounted maker/hobbyist versions for non-commercial use; Windows, Linux, OS X.

Other CAD software

There is also quite a number of other PCB CAD software programs including:

  • DipTrace Commercial; free version with restrictions; Windows, OS X.
  • gEDA GNU GPL; free; *BSD, Linux, OS X, Windows.
  • AutoTRAX Commercial, cheap; Windows only.
  • EasyEDA free, zero-install, Web and Cloud-based EDA tool suite.
  • Fritzing free; includes breadboard view; Windows, Linux, OS X.
  • Orcad Commercial; free Lite version with significant restrictions; Windows only.
  • ZenitPCB free; 800 pin limit; Windows only.
  • Osmond PCB Commercial, cheapish; free version 700 pin limit; OS X only!