KiCad

KiCad 2013.07

Free
Designs schematic diagrams and circuit boards
4.0  (18 votes)
2013.07.7 (See all)
Design electronic schematic diagrams and printed circuit boards with up to 16 layers, open Gerber files and build netlists with an option to configure the current page settings, perform basic editing operations (cut, copy, paste, delete), undo or redo their actions, zoom in or out, and draw wires and buses in any direction. A set of libraries with preset 3D models is available.

KiCad allows to open Gerber files and build netlists, as well as create electronic diagrams and printed circuit boards.
The installment is quite easy to set up though you may have to arm yourself with a lot of patience because it does take up to 5 minutes to complete.

The program has a basic and intuitive GUI, with original but not so modern toolbar icons, but which offers good time response to user actions. Also, it doesn't have advanced options or other themes to choose from than the default one.

One of the incorporated features is the 3DViewer that can be used to scan your design. It allows you to rotate and pan around to inspect details, while also being able to customize the appearance of the board.

With KiCAD, users are able to realize complex PCB layouts and choose from 32 copper layers. By using the Push and shove router, users can design the boards faster, while it makes sure that DRC constraints are respected.

In conclusion, I can definitely say that KiCad is a reliable tool for designing PCB layouts. However, the auto-routing tool is too complicated, the libraries are poorly designed, and the software often tends to be glitchy.

John Saunders
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Provides up to 32 copper layers
  • Has a Push and shove tool
  • Can customize the board appearance

Cons

  • Has a complicated auto-routing tool
  • Comes with poorly designed libraries
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