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Open source free downloadable PCB CAD design software

Design Spark

This is a free cut-down (but functional) downloadable version of Easy-PC. http://www.designspark.com/pcb

Kicad, free PCB CAD software

Kicad is an open source (GPL) software for the creation of electronic schematic diagrams and printed circuit board artwork. It can be downloaded from http://iut-tice.ujf-grenoble.fr/kicad/index.html Since the software is open source, there is no charge, and there are no limits on the number of pins and nets.

FreePCB

http://www.freepcb.com/FreePCB
FreePCB is a free, open-source PCB editor for Microsoft Windows, released under the GNU General Public License. It was designed to be easy to learn and easy to use, yet capable of professional-quality work. It does not have a built-in autorouter, but it can use the FreeRoute web-based autorouter at www.freerouting.net. The website has a comprehensive tutorial and user forum.

Program features are:
1 to 16 copper layers
Board size up to 60 inches by 60 inches
Uses English or metric units (i.e. mils or mm) for most functions.
Footprint libraries courtesy of Ivex Design International Inc.
Copper fill areas
Footprint Wizard and Footprint Editor for creating or modifying footprints
Imports and exports PADS-PCB netlists
Exports extended Gerber files (RS274X) and Excellon drill files
Design rule checker
Autosave

TinyCAD

http://sourceforge.net/projects/tinycad/
This is a schematic design program. which supports standard and custom symbol libraries. It supports PCB layout programs with several netlist formats and can also produce SPICE simulation netlists.

PCB design tutorial by David L.Jones

http://www.alternatezone.com/electronics/files/PCBDesignTutorialRevA.pdf
This is a free downloadable beginners guide to the principles of PCB CAD layout. It gives clear advice on good practice and "rules of thumb" on professional standard PCB design and layout.

Make my own PCB

Home PCB production

www.freepcb.com/downloads/pcb-0.0.2.pdf
Describes how to manufacture pcbs at home. An etch resist is created by hot transfer printing office toner ink (using a domestic iron) from a paper print to clean copper laminate. Etching is achieved using a mixture of hyrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide.

Another way to make PCBs at home

http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/pcbs.html
Shows you how to make your own pcbs. Informative and practical. Be amazed how much work goes into making a pcb. If you just don't have the time to do it yourself, consider whether our PCB Train Express next day service, complete with PTH holes, is good value.

Home SMD reflow described

http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/smtoast.html
Shows you how to turn a £5.00 toaster into a SMD reflow oven. This is not how we do it. Our reflow oven cost £35,000, but that's what you have to spend to get repeatable temperature control which does not destroy components.

Where to get those PCB bits and chemicals

http://www.megauk.com/
An online store which supplies all the materials and equipment to make your own pcbs. But you don't have to buy all this gear to make a pcb. We will do it for you at far lower cost than you might expect.

Design

http://www.smartgroup.org/
The SMART Group download page provides a wide range of technical articles related to the assembly process and common process defects.

http://www.pcbstandards.com/
Useful chart comprehensively illustrating and explaining all aspects of pcb manufacture. Site index for vast collection of free downloadable data relevant to pcb design, e.g. pad patterns, current capacity calculators, impedance calculators, flex circuit design advice, etc.

http://www.ipc.org/
Large amount of free downloadable CAD information. eg. smd land patterns, impedance calculators, IPC Standards, etc.

http://www.yelo.co.uk/area3/pcbtester.htm
Guidelines for Testing PCB's. The following are guidelines to assist companies who are laying out PCBs which they wish to test using bed of nails, both in-circuit and functionally.

http://emclab.mst.edu/pcbtlc2/
PCB track impedance calculator which calculates the characteristic impedance and per-unit-length parameters of typical printed circuit board track geometries.

http://www.intel.com/design/packtech/ch_14.pdf
Fully comprehensive treatise on BGA's, from foot-prints to re-work.

http://www.pcblibraries.com/resources/
Free downloadable pcb design checklists, advice, documentation, & libraries amongst a wide range of useful information for novice CAD designers.

Flex

http://www.pcdandf.com/cms/magazine/95/2948
Article about rigid-flex design considerations, useful over-view which explains the cost differences between flexibles with a rigidiser (cheap), and rigid-flex (not so cheap).

http://www.allflexinc.com/guid.shtml
A comprehensive downloadable flexible circuit design guide.

Lead-free

http://www.npl.co.uk/ei/news/faqs.html
The most frequently asked questions and answers on lead-free soldering and components. Highly recommended.

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/netregs/legislation/
Gives details on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (ROHS) Directive (2002/95/EC)

It effects manufacturers, sellers, distributors and recyclers of electrical and electronic equipment containing lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers. This Directive covers the same scope as the Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) except for medical devices and monitoring and control instruments. It also applies to electric light bulbs and light fittings in households.

http://www.npl.co.uk/ei/research/leadfree.html
National Physics Laboratory: reports on the scientific programme on measuring and modelling the materials properties impact on solder joint reliability.

http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/
Envirowise offers UK businesses free, independent, confidential advice and support on practical ways to increase profits, minimise waste and reduce environmental impact. It explains the effects of the Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).

Materials

http://www.isola-group.com
This is the site of Isola, a major laminate supplier with the technical specifications for a wide variety of laminates. e.g. CEM1, FR3, FR4, FR5, BT resin, Polyimide, Cyanate ester, FR5 aramide.

http://www.rogerscorporation.com/
Rogers are a major manufacturer of high frequency laminates. This site contains technical specifications for PTFE laminates, and other materials. There is also a downloadable impedance calculator.

http://www2.dupont.com/Pyralux/en_US/index.html
Information about flexible printed circuit materials supplied by Du Pont

http://www.taconic-add.com/en--products.php
RF, microwave, & high-speed digital laminates for all applications from Taconic

http://www.holders.co.uk/index.htm
Distributors of Arlon laminate for microwave applications and a wide variety of related materials

http://www.lamargroup.co.uk/
Distributors of Nelco, Panasonic and Shanghai NanYa Laminates including microwave, Polyimide and BT laminates.

Software

http://www.graphicode.com/
Download the GC-Prevue gerber viewer from this site. It is highly recommended and free of charge.

http://www.numberone.com
The site of the authors of EasyPC software. You can download demo software. It also contains links for downloadable component data sheets.

http://www.polarinstruments.com/
This site mostly deals with controlled impedance issues. It offers free downloads of useful software such as a 2D Field solving Impedance design system supporting 39 controlled impedance structures. Other items are freeware PCB track resistance calculator, gerber files for a typical impedance test coupon, graphical pcb test and repair software which replaces schematics and reads most popular CAD formats plus IPC.

Standards

http://www.ipc.org/
This site has the IPC Standards.

http://www.ul-europe.com/
The UL Library helps with standards, certification issues, technical requirements, and how they are applied. It also has downloadable marks.

http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/index.htm
The Underwriters Laboratory database of approvals is an essential tool if you are selling into the US. Searches can be made by a company name, UL file number, or keyword.

PCB CAD Design Software

http://iut-tice.ujf-grenoble.fr/kicad/index.html
Kicad is a CAD layout programme for the creation of schematic diagrams and printed circuit boards up to 16 layers. The software is free and downloadable with no restrictions and runs on Windows XP. Gerber data can be viewed and Gerber files for photoplotters, drilling files and component location files can be output for manufacturing. Documentation is multi-lingual. The software is widely used and constantly updated. It is designed and written by Jean-Pierre Charras, a researcher at LIS (Laboratoire des Images et des Signaux) and a teacher in IUT de Saint Martin d'H?res.(France), in the field of electrical engineering and image processing. Kicad was highly recommended by an Elector Magazine review article in July-August 2007.

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Seetrax XL Designer Lite Software Download: The Lite version of the Seetrax XL Designer software is a fully functional version of the full software but limited to designs with a maximum of: 30 parts & 50 nets. It is not time-limited. The downloaded file is a self-contained, licensed copy of the software for new installations. It can also be used to update an existing installation of the Seetrax XL Designer Lite (or Demo) software.

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