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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-08-01 4:17 pm  

Just thought I;d start a separate topic for those on the Forum with an interest in KiCAD.

At the moment there are just two of us, to my knowledge, that have made boards for our DB1 robots using KiCAD, and then ordered from PCBWay.

I'm hoping there are others on the forum that might have more experience with KiCAD and will help the rest of us out.

Even if you are not going to have boards made it is a good tool for doing schematics of your sketches,

Join in and happy KiCADing1

SteveG


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-08-01 4:59 pm  

I'm hesitant to put any more software on my Windows machines.  Simply because they are older machines and already have a lot of software on them.  However, I see that KiCAD can be run on Linux.   I'm might try it on my Linux OS.  I'm not even sure what version I'm running, I think it might be Linux Mint but I'll  have to look at see.  I notice on the KiCAD site there are different downloads for different versions of Linux.

I'm also wondering if instead of downloading it if I can install it using the apt-get install function from the Linux command prompt?   I tend to prefer that method of installing apts when its available.  I'm not a heavy Linux user so I'm not sure what all the capabilities are there.  But I might try to install KiCAD on my Linux OS.  I already have a PCB program installed that I use.  It actually called Free PCB and it's probably close to being obsolete software.  It's been serving my purposes because I've only been using it for designing homemade PCBs.  But I'll probably want to move up to KiCAD if I'm going to be ordering PCBs from PCBWay.

Also, I'm not building an exact replica of DB1 so I probably won't be designing PCBs for that specific robot design.  But I will be building something very similar to DB1 so I'll probably be making PCBs that are very close.  I also tend to use STM32 blue pill or black pills in my designs a lot, so I'll most likely be making PCBs specifically designed for use with the STM32 boards.

I'll try to look into installing KiCAD on my Linux OS sometime today and see how it goes.   If I get it installed I might ask if I can get a file for a board you've designed just to see if I can open it.   Do you put your design files on GitHub?

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-08-01 5:29 pm  

@robo-pi

So far I've only put KiCAD on a Windows machine, but would like to try it on a Linux machine eventually.  I'm somewhat a Linux Noob, so can't really answer your question about apt-get installs.  Wonder what it would run like on a Pi4?  Probably would want to store files on external drives,

KiCAD seems to be becoming a 'standard' for PCB design and so it is well worthwhile you taking a look.

While I haven't yet put my boards on GitHub, I have been contemplating doing so, and it would be well worth it to share designs even if we never produced a board from each others designs.  Might be a good learning tool for all of us newbies to KiCAD as well. 

SteveG


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-08-01 7:16 pm  
Posted by: @codecage

KiCAD seems to be becoming a 'standard' for PCB design and so it is well worthwhile you taking a look.

That's what I'm thinking.  Plus we already know that it's compatible with what PCBWay wants and that's most likely where I'll be ordering my boards so I may as well get started with it now.

I just booted up my Linux OS.   KiCAD is apparently a 5GB package.   Everything is so huge anymore.

I have it installing vid the sudo apt install command.   It's currently downloading the 5GB.   So this is going to take hours.   I'm going to go out and work on my truck today and see if this gets installed by this evening.

5GB seems like overkill to me.  I can't help but believe that modern day software is just very poorly written in terms of efficiency.   That's an awful lot of code!

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-08-01 8:18 pm  

Surprise! Surprise!  It's installed already.  I don't have time to play with it right now, but it didn't take nearly as long to install as I had thought it might.  I only have a 2Mbs download speed so I was thinking this should take all day but it's all done already.

@stven uploaded some KiCAD files to GitHub so I'll try to take a look at those later tonight.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-08-01 10:38 pm  

@robo-pi

Part of that size is the library of symbols and footprints need to utilize the program to it's fullest.  The program itself, well actually a whole host of programs not just one program, is probably just a small portion of that 5GB.

SteveG


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-08-01 11:07 pm  

@codecage

I almost skipped loading the libraries since I often end up designing my own component footprints anyway.   But then I realized that if I hope to be able to open up other people's files I might need to have the libraries installed.   That's hard to say for sure.  Often times individual files will actually contain the footprints that they use.  In any case, I downloaded the whole shebang so I probably have 4GB of footprints and components on my hard drive now that I'll most likely never use.   But it's on there now so I guess I'm ready to design a spaceship to Mars.  ? 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Robotics Engineer Moderator
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 1590
2019-08-04 4:37 am  

I have a question about PCBWay boards.   I was just looking at their site and calculating what it might cost to have my Arduino shields made.  They offer up a quick estimate without even seeing the board design.  They base it just on the size of the board and other generic factors.

I also discovered that it $5 if I order 5 board, and still only $5 if I double that to 10 boards.  I may as well get 10 of them if that's the same price as 5.

I think I noticed is that they don't have any place to say how many through holes there will be?  Does it not matter whether you use SMD or through-hole components?  I'm getting ready to order some components from AliExpress.  Some things are the same price whether through hole or SMD.   Like 2N3904 transistors for example.   I can get 100 of either one for about 80 cents.   In some ways I prefer the through-hole components because I can use them on breadboard designs and perf boards.   If PCBWay doesn't charge anymore for drilling the holes I may as well use through-hole transistors on my Shield design.  I actually went to the PCBWay site to see if I could save money by using SMD.   But I don't see anywhere where they ask how many holes will be drilled.  If they drill holes for free I may as well make holy boards. ? 

 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-08-05 12:00 am  

@robo-pi

The number of holes for TH or vias is given to them in the gerber files.  I doesn't change the price at all, so it's your choice to use SMD or TH.  And on you first order I think you get a $5.00 coupon effectively giving you your first order for shipping and bank charge.  Shipping is via DHL.

SteveG


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
Prominent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 969
2019-09-09 12:10 pm  

I hate KiCad on macOS.

I have to change to a USB mouse with a wheel to use it because my multi-gesture, touch-sensitive Apple mouse combined with the centre and zoom function of KiCad is driving me insane.

Apart from that, it is not bad!

Unfortunately, I haven't found a way of switching off the centre and zoom function.

This post was modified 7 months ago by Pugwash

SteveC - Topple Rudd Poltman


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byron
(@byron)
Estimable Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 197
2019-09-09 1:32 pm  

@Pugwash

I also use a Mac as my main computer and I had to complement the smart mouse with a good old normal mouse some time back as I found Kindle, Fusion 360, Sketchup, KiCad to name those that spring to mind do not work well with the smart mouse.  (I keep both attached to use at my pleasure).   For KiCad I found I had to change the default colours for the PCB layout module from the default black to better see what was going on.

 


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speculatrix
(@speculatrix)
New Member
Joined: 7 months ago
Posts: 3
2019-09-09 1:35 pm  
Posted by: @codecage

Just thought I;d start a separate topic for those on the Forum with an interest in KiCAD.

I've been using Kicad for a little while now (I have some posts about it on my blog: https://mansfield-devine.com/speculatrix/tag/kicad/ ). While I still prototype most things on perfboard, I really like the way it's now so easy to order up a batch of PCBs for the final design. Makes everything neater, particularly when you use surface mount components.

I'm working on a robot project (not a DB1) and plan to create PCBs for pretty much everything. I've been using JLCPCB and have been very happy with the results. The only downside is that, to keep it affordable (especially when I make a mistake with the design), I have to opt for the cheapest shipping, which usually takes a couple of weeks (I'm in France).


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-09-09 2:22 pm  

@pugwash

Did you not see the light through yon "Window" break... Or something like that!

Would that not have been the first clue to use a Windows machine?

I'm sorry, just couldn't resist myself! ? 

SteveG


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
Prominent Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 969
2019-09-09 2:45 pm  

@codecage

Point taken and treated with the contempt it deserves from a radical Mac convert. 

I have been a die-hard Mac fan since I threw a laptop with Win98SE at the wall of my office after the tenth BSOD in one day, trying to run an emacs program provided by my then employer M.W Kellogg of Houston, now Haliburton I think.

I also invested in Apple stock in 2004 and made a small fortune by 2014. It just happened to be one of the few investments that were unaffected by the collapse of the sub-prime market in 2007/8.

So apart from this bloody mouse, I remain a devoted follower!

Have got Ubuntu on a virtual machine in here too. The only thing I missed about Windows was that MS Access was not in the Office Bundle. I hated Filemaker.

Everyone should go to the church of their choice even if it is Stained Glass Windows10.

No hard feelings! ? ? ? 

This post was modified 7 months ago by Pugwash

SteveC - Topple Rudd Poltman


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Admin
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 507
2019-09-09 3:42 pm  

@pugwash

I have been a die-hard Mac fan since I threw a laptop with Win98SE at the wall

At the wall, not out the window?  Even Bill has that signature line from Wozniak!

I did own a MacIntosh for awhile, and in the late 70's and early 80's before the PC came along, I used a UNIX like system on a Z80 based computer that would support eight users with each user having 63K of ram (yes 63K!).  The OS was called Cromix, from a company called Cromemco.  Man have we come a long way and seen so many changes!

SteveG


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