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The 5 Best Free Online PCB Design Tools Every PCB Engineer Uses

There are so many online PCB designing software programs out there, free or otherwise. These programs can help you draw up your PCB design for industrial or prototyping purposes. However, all these software programs have their unique ups and down, which makes it hard for many people to select the best software program for their project. Due to this reason, we have drawn up a list of the best free online PCB design software programs available in the 21st century. These programs are not just super-efficient. They also don’t cost you a penny to use.

Eagle

If you are looking for free online PCB design software to convert your idea into reality, then Eagle might help you out. Eagle is simply an EDA (Electronic Structural Automation) Software program that lets multiple PCB developers connect component layouts, comprehensive library information, routing of PCBs, and schematic diagrams with ease. 

With Eagle, you can quickly test your ideas while simultaneously simulating your circuit to confirm that it performs perfectly using the Spice simulator. That means you do not have to construct your PCB to verify it is working efficiently. In doing so, you get to save a lot of money and cash. What’s more, you can test out different ideas before settling on one, giving you multiple options.

Benefits of utilizing Eagle

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Real-time PCB Design Sync

Using Eagle, you get real-time PCB design synchronization. Therefore, all your changes are automatically synchronized to all your devices.

3D Mode

Eagle has a unique feature that lets you view your PCB design in three dimensions for inspection purposes.

Online Libraries

Eagle bears an online library that is pretty manageable compared to other software programs. You can utilize this library to help develop the design for your panel.

Support Resources

Using Eagle gives you access to multiple support sources and a team ready to train you. Therefore, you do not dive into the app not knowing anything. You always have support all through.

KiCad PCB Design Tool

KiCad PCB designing software is an open-source, cross-platform program that helps in terms of electronic design automation. The software program function perfectly in:

–          Windows

–          Mac OS

–          Linux

Moreover, using KiCad’s PCB editor, you can quickly generate a customized PCB circuit with ease and without incurring any extra charges.

The Program’s built-in symbol editor and symbol library help make your circuit designing process that much easier. Using these two features, you can quickly generate professional manufacturing grade Printed Circuit Board layouts bearing up to thirty-two copper layers.

What’s more, KiCad also bears a shove and push router that you can utilize to interactively alter trace length and route differential pairs.

Benefits of utilizing KiCad

FULL PCB MANUFACTURING Quote

When utilizing KiCad, you get to enjoy the following benefits:

Trace Length Setting

Kicad lets you set a custom trace length. Therefore, you can alter the default trace length to make your PCB design feel more custom and more efficient.

Extensive Community Library

KiCad bears an extensive library that holds a lot of information. You can utilize this library to gain more information on making the most out of this Program. Moreover, KiCad also provides a three-dimensional view for your PCB design. Therefore, you can gain a better look at your design and make proper changes before you decide to print it out.

Auto Electrical Rules

KiCad bears an auto electrical rules checking option, and it also exports your netlists in varying formats.

Cons of Utilizing KiCad

Incomplete Library

Even though KiCad bears an extensive library, it is not well organized. Unfortunately, that means you might have some challenges finding the content you require from the library.

Fritzing for the Electronics Industry

Fritzing PCB design software is an excellent open-source program that helps out hobbyists, researchers, artists, and designers develop their electronic projects by working creatively with interactive electronics.

Using Fritzing, you get more than just PCB designing software; you also gain access to a great community that helps you throughout your journey. Moreover, the Program also provides you with services such as Arduino and Processing, which makes your work much more manageable.

Fritzing is the best free Printed Circuit Board designing software that lets you document your prototypes and then share them with others. Moreover, the Program also helps you manufacture pro circuit boards and teach electronics stuff in classrooms.

Bearing an excellent interface and an extensive community, Fritzing is, without a doubt, the best PCB designing software for amateurs, students and new designers. Moreover, the Program functions efficiently on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.

Benefits of utilizing Fritzing

Ease of Use

Fritzing has a great UI that makes it easy to utilize. Therefore, you get to produce pro-like software programs without breaking a sweat.

Community Website

Fritzing bears an extensive community that can help you grow your PCB designing skills immensely.

Documentation

Fritzing lets you document your projects and share them with the fritzing community. Through this process, you can gain feedback that will help you make the proper adjustments to your design to make it more optimal. Moreover, this means that you can also access other people’s designs that you can utilize to grow your skill.

Cons of utilizing Fritzing

Settings Options being Limited

Fritzing’s settings options are pretty limited, which lowers your customization abilities.

EasyEDA Free Online PCB Design Software

EasyEDA PCB

EasyEDA PCB design software is a zero installation, free EDA tool that is pretty useful in cloud computing and web application. The Program combines PCB layout, mixed mode simulation, and circuit capture in one cross-platform web environment. What’s more, the Program bears an incorporated LCSC components catalog.

EasyEDA lets multiple people work on a single project remotely. Therefore, you can bring together a group to help you tackle your project in a timely manner. What’s more, the amount of PCB projects you can have on the Program when operating on a free-term basis is not limited. Therefore you can have hundreds of thousands of projects in the program without paying a penny. EasyEDA can also offer read-only authorization access to your project. That means that you can configure specific projects to be viewed by other people without them altering your design.

Benefits of Utilizing EasyEDA

Tutorial Videos

EasyEDA provides multiple tutorial videos that you can utilize to grow your skill. Moreover, these tutorial videos tend to be brief and to the point. Therefore, you get to save a lot of time that you can use to improve your design.

Project Management

EasyEDA tends to have a pretty organized UI. Therefore you do not have difficulty managing and developing your custom PCBs.

Over One Million Libraries

When working with EasyEDA, you have over one million free libraries at your disposal. These libraries contain all you need to start and finish your PCB designing project.

Cons of Working with EasyEDA

Experienced Users Experience Fewer Features

Most of the features in EasyEDA help out beginners to grow their skills. However, experienced users tend to have a shortage of features at their disposal.

Altium Circuit Maker free PCB Design Software

Altium Circuit Maker stands among the most powerful free online PCB design software programs out there. The software is developed using Altium Designer technology which makes this Program pretty efficient.

Altium Circuit provides a design capacity that reaches up to sixteen planes and sixteen signal layers with zero printed circuit board dimensional constraints. What’s more, the Program provides easy and efficient placement of different circuit components as all you have to do is search for the manufacturing part number, and you are done.

Additionally, Altium circuit maker lets you bring a team to help you complete your project. Working with a team helps boost your overall productivity and enables you to complete your project in time. Moreover, any modifications or edits made by one team member are all dynamically updated, making them visible to all team members.

Altium Circuit Maker also offers complex multi-sheet designs that bears hierarchical design blocks. You can easily create a smartPDF output for your PCB project using this feature. The Program also provides a push and shove routing capability that enables interactive routing that you can even utilize for differential routing of signals efficiently. Lastly, Altium Circuit Maker function only on a Windows Operating System.

Benefits of Working with Altium Circuit Maker

DFM and DRC Validated Output

Altium Circuit Maker provides DFM and DRC validated output, which is necessary for experienced PCB developers undertaking professional PCB manufacturing practices.

An Auto Router

Altium Circuit Maker bears a situs topological auto router feature. Using this feature, you can easily route complex circuits, avoiding the hassle of manual routing. You can then utilize the saved time to focus on creating a better design.

Cons of utilizing Altium Circuit Maker

Portability Issues

Altium Circuit Maker runs efficiently on a Window Operating System and with some limitations on Ubuntu which poses a portability issue.

Offline Saving

Altium Circuit Maker doesn’t support offline savings of any design resource. Unfortunately, you will require internet access to work well with this Program.

Conclusion

In the Printed Circuit Boards industry, most PCB manufacturers prefer to utilize paid EDA tools since they bear some sophisticated features. However, these PCB design tools we discussed above also have some pretty nifty tricky. When you utilize them properly, you as a PCB manufacturer can easily generate a production-grade output without incurring any extra costs. Start-up firms can use free design tools such as Circuit Maker to gain high-quality designs. Those new to PCB designing can opt to utilize KiCad as it has a simple UI that makes it easy to generate a PCB design. However, the PCB designing software you choose will depend on various parameters, for example, your PC’s operating system, your expertise in PCB designing, and more. So do not be in a rush; choose the one that suits you as all of them are uniquely efficient.