Autonomous Robotic Hardware Development

Kicad EDA Suite -- Everything Tastes Better When It's Free

I've been playing around with Kicad lately.  I stumbled upon it for the first time playing around in Ubuntu (KDE) some months ago, running on a BeagleBoard XM of all things!  Since then I've loaded the Windows version as well and it works exactly the same.  Looking around the net, it seems that there are some open source projects that are taking advantage of the lack of limitations that other packages may have.  Kicad allows for any size, and layer count, any component count schematic-pcb you could generally need.  There are schematic and pcb footprint libraries included to get started and repositories of them on the web.  There is also an Eagle PCB to Kicad library converter out there but I haven't tried it yet, I like making my own components...helps me sleep better at night.  The 3D viewer is very cool.  Kicad suggests Wings software for 3D body creation, although I'm experimenting with other "free" packages.  Overall, Kicad provides a reasonably professional, no barrier to entry PCB CAD tool that can get the job done.  Open source and cross platform, it provides a pretty good vehicle for deploying design files for Open Hardware compliance. Give it a whirl at:

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