Free Pcb Layout Tools

Many free software tools can help you to layout a printed circuit board.

Printed Circuit Boards, known as PCBs, are used in a vast range of electronic products, from stereos to televisions to computers. Laying out a PCB can be a very difficult and tedious process, especially for a beginner. Each circuit board contains many different components with many different interrelationships. Therefore, it is much easier to work out the layout of a circuit board in advance. Many free software tools are available to accomplish this goal.

Free PCB

Free PCB is available for free download online. It only works with Microsoft Windows and is designed to be easy to use while at the same time provided the ability to do serious work. The program allows for circuit boards as large as 60 by 60 inches, between 1 and 16 copper layers, allowing the use of either metric or English measurement and a built in design checker.

EAGLE Layout Editor

CADSoft online offers any Internet user the use of the EAGLE Layout Editor, which stands for Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor. This PCB layout tool consists of three major parts: a layout editor, a schematic editor and an autorouter. The layout editor allows the user to design how components will be placed on the circuit board, the schematic editor allows the user to organize the flow of power through the PCB, and the autorouter directs the flow of power. This tool is available for use on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

gEDA

gEDA stands for GPL (General Public License) Electronic Design Automation. It is actually a full suite of tools dealing with all aspects of PCB board design, schematic capture, prototyping, testing and production. Among the tools in this suite is a PCB layout editor. This system can run under any unix-like operating system. The features of the layout editor are an autorouter and trace optimizer.

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Kicad

Kicad is another open source PCB layout editor and schematic diagram creating program. Kicad was created by a French electrical engineering professor and researcher. Kicad actually comes with four different softwares. Eeschema controls schematic entry. Pcbnew is the PCB layout editor. Gerbview allows for the creation of photoplotter documents. Cvpcb is a footprint selector for the components used in the design, while Kicad acts as a project manager, which guides the board from design to prototype. This program can run with either Windows or Linux.