Basics: Project 102
Project name: Best of Free PCB Design Software
Tags: Free PCB Design Software, Free PCB
After the official birth of commercial EDA since 1981, different design software as been produced from the EDA industry. Printed Circuit Boards, also known as PCBs, are the foundation of any hardware-based product. Before EDA software, Engineers usually designed electronics circuitry and integrated circuits by hand or some other manual process.
Do you need a free PCB design software or tool to put in practice the new electronic project you’ve just designed? We will present you the best PCB software tools available on the internet that will help you to develop your printed circuit board faster and with ease.
KiCAD is a Cross-Platform and Open Source Electronics Design Automation Suite. It includes a schematic editor for creating and editing schematic designs, a PCB Editor for making professional PCB layouts with up to 32 copper layers, and a 3D viewer which can be used to inspect the design in a 3D form. Unlike Eagle, KiCAD is entirely free, and no paywall is needed to use some of its features. KiCAD is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can find more information and download the program here.
The official KiCad libraries are available for download at https://kicad.github.io. Library data are provided as compressed archives of the individual libraries within the following categories:
- Schematic symbols: https://kicad.github.io/symbols
- PCB footprints: https://kicad.github.io/footprints
- 3D models: https://kicad.github.io/packages3d
2. Autodesk Eagle
Eagle is arguably one of the most well know schematics and PCB design software. Formerly known as Cadsoft Eagle, but now called Autodesk Eagle after its purchase from Autodesk. Autodesk EAGLE contains a schematic editor, for designing circuit diagrams and a PCB layout editor for designing PCBs. It provides component placement, PCB routing, a comprehensive library content, a thriving community, and many more. A free version of Autodesk EAGLE is available called EAGLE FREE. It includes 2 schematic sheets, 2 signal layers, and an 80cm2 board area. Eagle is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can find more information about it here.
Fritzing software is an interesting open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics and develop electronic projects. Fritzing helps you learn more about electronic circuits, to document your projects and even let’s you prepare them for production.
The software is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can find more information and download program here. Fritzing is installed with a Parts Library–and with every new release we are adding new parts. You can also find the parts other users have submitted.
4. DesignSpark PCB
DesignSpark PCB is the world’s most accessible electronics design software. Easy to easy to learn and easy to use, it is designed to significantly reduce your concept-to-production time. At the core of this unique approach is a powerful software engine that enables you to capture Schematics, design PCB boards and layouts. DesignSpark PCB is only available for Windows. You can find more information here.
EasyEDA is a free, zero-install, Web and cloud-based EDA tool suite, integrating powerful schematic capture, mixed-mode circuit simulation and PCB layout in a seamless cross-platform browser environment, for electronic engineers, educators, students and hobbyists. EasyEDA also has an integration with LCSC.com component catalog for providing real-time stocks and pricing information about components used. EasyEDA is online based and also desktop based. It is cross-platform and supports Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can find more information and download the program here.
6. PCBWeb Designer
PCBWeb is a free CAD application for designing and manufacturing electronics hardware. Design multi-sheet schematics with our fast and easy-to-use wiring tool. Route multi-layer boards with support for copper pours and DRC checking. Integrated Digi-Key Parts Catalog with Bill of Materials Manager. PCBWeb is available only for Windows. You can find more information and download the program here.
TinyCAD is a simple and basic electronic circuit schematic and PCB designer. It is an open-source software project. It supports standard and custom symbol libraries. It supports PCB layout programs with several netlist formats and can also produce SPICE simulation netlists.
It’s a program to help you draw circuit diagrams. It comes complete with symbol libraries to get you started straight away. As well as being able to simply print your designs, you can use TinyCAD to publish your drawings by copying and pasting into a Word document or saving as a PNG bitmap for the web. TinyCAD is only available in the Windows version. You can read more here.
8. Osmond PCB
Osmond PCB is an only MAC-based EDA tool. It supports schematic capture and PCB layout design. The software provides many features such as unlimited board sizes, multiple board layers, and can be used to design boards up to 700 pins. You can read more about it here.
9. Express PCB
ExpressPCB Plus is an EDA software for creating and designing of electronics circuitry. It includes ExpressSCH Classic for drawing schematics and ExpressPCB Plus for circuit board layout. ExpressPCB Plus provides the option to see the instant quotes for your PCB board and even order the board for fabrication from inside the program itself. ExpressPCB is available for use on Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can find more information here.
Upverter is a web-based EDA just like EasyEDA for enabling hardware engineers to design, share, and review schematics and PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards). It does for open-source hardware design what GitHub have done for open-source software development, providing a collaboration platform. It comes with a schematics capture, PCB editor, a system designer, 3D viewer, team collaboration, and many more. You can find more information here.
11. Zenit PCB
It’s an excellent PCB layout design software tool to create professional printed circuit board (PCB). It is a flexible easy to use CAD program, which allow you to realize your projects in a short time. With ZenitPCB Layout is possible to create the project starting both from the schematic capture or by the layout itself. You can read more about it here.
It’s a schematic capture program for Windows Vista/7/8/10. The name “BSch” is an abbreviation of “Basic Schematic”. It has only basic functions, in order to simplify operation. You can read more about it here.
Runs on Linux and has produced tools which are used for electrical circuit design, schematic capture, simulation, prototyping, and production. Currently, the gEDA project offers a mature suite of free software applications for electronics 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. You can read more about it here.
Besides being a collaborative community for electronic design content, CircuitMaker is Schematic & PCB design software, built upon Altium Designer technology. With a streamlined interface and powerful engine to boot, you’ll never have to worry about your software holding you back. This is a free design tool unlike anything you’ve seen before.
For turning great ideas into real products, you need design tools that won’t limit your imagination or hold you back. CircuitMaker has all the power you need to design high quality schematics and Printed Circuit Boards, with no artificial limits on layer counts or board area. You can find more information about it here.
Feel free to share your own favorite EDA tool or suggest what you think might be better on this list.