Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are used in all but the simplest electronic products. They are more costly to design but they allow automated manufacturing and assembly. As a result, products become faster and cheaper to manufacture, while being more reliable.
Here are a few of the best PCB design software programs available for personal use. They aren’t listed in any specific order, the project’s requirements will determine which one will be better suited to that project.
A great tool to create professional printed circuit boards. It is flexible and an easy to use CAD program which allows you to create your project in a shorter time frame. ZenitPCB is completely freeware for personal or semi-personal use, limited to 800 pins, which is the distinction between a hobby and a professional job.
This 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 use, while being capable of professional-quality work. FreePCB doesn’t have a built-in autorouter, but it can use the FreeRoute web-based autorouter.
TinyCAD is an open source schematic capture program for Microsoft Windows. It comes with symbol libraries to get you started quickly. Able to simply print your designs, you can also use TinyCAD to publish your drawings by copying and pasting them into a Word document or save them as a PNG bitmap for the Web.
Osmond PCB for Macintosh allows you to design boards of any size and shape with as many layers as you choose. The resolution of 10 nanometers gives you all the precision you need. You can place parts anywhere on the board with any orientation and run traces of any width along any path and at any angle.
BSch stand for “Basic Schematic”, the program is designed to run on Windows and it has only basic functions in order to simplify the operation.
This free PCB software is easy to learn and use for beginners who are designing circuit boards, while being efficient enough for a professional.
An open source (GPL) software for the creation of electronic schematic diagrams and PCB artwork. It can be used by anyone working in electronic design, including schematic diagrams and Printed Board up to 16 layers.
This software runs on Linux and has created tools used for electrical circuit design, schematic capture, simulation, prototyping and production. The gEDA project offers a variety of free software applications for electronic design, including schematic capture, attribute management, bill of materials (BOM) generation, netlisting into over 20 netlist formats, analog and digital simulation, and printed circuit board (PCB) design layout.
A powerful and affordable schematic capture and PCB design software package. CadSoft offers user friendly, powerful and affordable solutions for PCB design, including Schematic Capture, Board Layout, and Autorouter.
With unlimited schematic sheets per project, up to 1M squared of board size and no limits on layers, which allow you to get your creativity flowing without restraints. The software can be used for schematic capture, PCB board design & layout, generating impressive 3D View to visualise your design in real time and generating manufacturing files.
Image cc Flickr via g.p.macklin