KiCad class starts July 7th

Anool Mahidharia will be teaching an introduction to KiCAD and FreeCAD:

Classes are Tuesdays at 19:00 IST. Classes are recorded and released on the course page within a few weeks so you can learn at your convenience. Office Hours are Fridays at 1630 IST and limited to 30 people per session. A second session in evening PDT will be offered August 2020.

The complete course is 4 classes long. For those who would like to attend each class, please sign up for each class individually.

Overview: We’ll start off with a hand drawn schematic, and progress from schematic capture to creating production files such as Gerbers, BoM, and 3D CAD export. We’ll then switch to FreeCAD and do a simple enclosure design for our project.

Schedule: The course will consist of four sessions total. Each section will contain a video component and an office hour component where the instructor will be available for questions.

Prerequisites: It will help to have a good understanding of electronics and some basic understanding of engineering drawing.

KiCad class starts July 7th

Tidy Laser Cut Packaging For PCBs With KiCAD

A laser cutter is a useful tool to have in any workshop. While many hackers use them for their cutting abilities, it’s important to remember that they can be great as engravers, too. [Wrickert] was well aware of this when he set his to work, producing attractive packaging for his Tindie orders.

[Wrickert] sells a variety of small PCB-based devices on Tindie, and it’s nice to have something to package them up with, rather than just sending a bare board. To do this quickly and effectively, KiCAD is used to help generate the packaging from the original PCB geometry itself. The board outlines are exported as an SVG file, reopened in KiCAD, and then used to create the required cardboard parts. The laser can then also be used to engrave the cardboard too.

It’s a tidy packaging solution that requires no messy inks or printers, and can be designed in the same software as the device itself. We’ve covered this area before, talking about what it takes to go from a home project to a saleable kit. If you’re in the game, you might find [Wrickert]’s hack to be just the ticket!

via Tidy Laser Cut Packaging For PCBs With KiCAD — Hackaday


Custom themes for KiCad

Thanks to the wonderful hardware designer Greg Davill for this suggestion on Twitter:

Several custom themes for KiCad are available from this GitHub repo:

pcbnew (1)


Want to change the color scheme of KiCad? Look here for Inspiration.
Check out the readme to see all the options.  Here are a few:

Screenshot from 2020-05-30 22-11-37Screenshot from 2020-05-30 22-11-20

Custom themes for KiCad

KiCad 5.1.6 released

Screenshot from 2020-05-16 21-51-10

KiCad 5.1.6 has been released:

The KiCad project is proud to announce the latest series 5 stable release. The 5.1.6 stable version contains critical bug fixes and other minor improvements since the 5.1.5 release. It also includes improved footprint, symbol, and 3D model libraries, translations, and documentation.

This is also the first stable point release made since switching to gitlab for main kicad source code hosting.

A list of all of the fixed bugs since the 5.1.5 release can be found on the KiCad 5.1.6 milestone page. This release contains several critical bug fixes so please consider upgrading as soon as possible.

Read more…

KiCad 5.1.6 released

KiCad and FreeCAD meetup with Anool on Sat. May 2nd


There will be another KiCAD and FreeCAD meetup tomorrow with Anool on Saturday, May 2nd, at:

  • 9:00 US EDT / 13:30 UTC / 15:30 CEST / 19:00 India

TechDraw basics – I’ll demo using the FreeCAD TECHDRAW workbench to produce dimension drawings of KiCAD PCB.

Sometimes, it is useful to add this to project documentation.

Will try & answer questions too.

Join the Jitsi Meeting


KiCad and FreeCAD meetup with Anool on Sat. May 2nd

KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Exciting news from the KiCad blog:


Altium PCB Importer

As a preview of a feature coming in the next major release, the ability to import Altium PcbDoc files is now available in the latest nightly builds. This was thanks to the work of Thomas Pointhuber in MR#60

The board import option can be found under the File > Import Non-Kicad Board File option and changing the file type filter



After selecting your PcbDoc file and a short delay. Pcbnew will display it’s best attempt at a import and provide warnings if it had any difficulties importing the file.


If you want to give the board import a spin, simply download the latest KiCad nightly and take it for a spin. Feel free to report any issues.

Both this feature and nightly builds are in development, please only use them for testing and experimentation

KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Intro to Python scripting in KiCad

Great introduction to Python scripting in KiCad from Maciej ‘Orson’ Suminski:

“The Python Whisperer Guide”

The Python scripting interface in KiCad is a powerful tool that can relieve you from repetitive and tedious tasks. It is also a great method to address issues that are specific to your workflow and are not likely to be solved in the upstream code. In this talk, I will show you how to start your scripting adventure with KiCad by explaining the principles of python scripting and exploring a few examples. Do not be afraid…pythons are not venomous.

Screenshot from 2020-04-20 16-55-50Slides are available:

Screenshot from 2020-04-24 12-22-27

Intro to Python scripting in KiCad

Altium to KiCad converter


Around these parts we tend to be exponents of the KiCad lifestyle; what better way to design a PCBA than with free and open source tools that run anywhere? But there are still capabilities in commercial EDA packages that haven’t found their way into KiCad yet, so it may not always be the best tool for the job. Altium Designer is a popular non-libre option, but at up to tens of thousands of USD per seat it’s not always a good fit for users and businesses without a serious need.

It’s hard to find an exciting photo of a dialog box

What do you do as a KiCad user who encounters a design in Altium you’d like to work with? Well as of April 3rd 2020, [Thomas Pointhuber] has merged the beginnings of a native Altium importer into KiCad which looks to be slated for the 6.0 release. As [Thomas] himself points out in the patch submission, this is hardly the first time a 3rd party Altium importer has been published. His new work is a translation of the Perl plugin altium2kicad by [thesourcerer8]. And back in January another user left a comment with links to four other (non-KiCad) tools to handle Altium files.

If you’d like to try out this nifty new feature for yourself, CNX has a great walkthrough starting at building KiCad from source. As for documents to test against the classic BeagleBone Black sources seen above can be found at on GitHub. Head past the break to check out the very boring, but very exciting video of the importer at work, courtesy of [Thomas] himself. We can’t wait to give this a shot!

via Altium has its 2kicad Moment — Hackaday