The first thing you probably asked yourself when learning how to lay out PCBs was “can’t the computer do this?” which inevitably led to the phrase “never trust the autorouter!”. Even if it hooks up a few traces the result will probably be strange to human eyes; not a design you’d want to use.
But what if the autorouter was better? What if it was so far removed from the autorouter you know that it was something else? That’s the technology that JITX provides. JITX is a company that has developed new tools that can translate a coarse textual specification of a board to KiCAD outputs autonomously.
How do you use JITX? At this point the company provides a front end to their tools; you use their website contact form to talk to a human (we assume) about what you want to make and how. But watching their demo videos (see the bottom of this post) gives a hint about how the tooling actually works. In brief; it takes a specification in a domain specific language that describes the components to use, then compiles (synthesizes?) that into KiCAD files that can be sent to fab.
Advice from the Intelligent Toasters blog on how to do tented vias in DesignSpark PCB software:
Tented Vias – who’d have thought they play such an essential role? If you have no idea what tented vias are, then you’re not alone and I’m here to enlighten you.
For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking about trusting the autorouter. The autorouter is just a tool, and like any tool, it will do exactly what you tell it. The problem, therefore, is being smart enough to use the autorouter.
Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat is Ben Jordan, Director of Community Tools and Content at Altium. Ben is a Computer Systems engineer, with 25 years experience in board-level hardware and embedded systems design. He picked up a soldering iron at 8, and wrote some assembly at 12. He’s also an expert at using an autorouter successfully.
Friday, January 5, 2018 12:00 pm PST
- What new features are on the roadmap for 2018?
- What new features were developed since we chatted in January 2017?
- Under the hood- how KiCad development works
- How can a developer get started helping out?
This is the third and final installment of a series of posts on how to create a PCB in KiCad, and part of an overarching series where I make the same schematic and board in dozens of different software tools
The 4.0.5 stable version contains critical bug fixes and version string improvements since the last release. The stable release version 4.0.5 is made from the stable 4.0 branch with bug fixes cherry picked from the development branch of KiCad.
KiCad binaries for Windows, OS X, and several GNU/Linux distributions can be found on the download page:
Please note that KiCad board files (.kicad_pcb) can be uploaded directly to our website:
Wayne also presented at FOSDEM 2016 back in March, but the audio and video quality is worse than the 2015 video.
In the last (and first) post in this series, we took a look at Eagle. Specifically, we learned how to create a custom part in Eagle. Our goal isn’t just to make our own parts in Eagle, we want to make schematics, boards, and eventually solder a few PCBs. The board we’ll be making, like…