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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

All posts tagged gsch2pcb

Learning more CAD

Week 1 is finished, here is a progress update with some things that have been learned.

One of the problems with Eagle is that if you want to make boards commercially, you have to buy a $50 license. It also constrains the size. To put it in perspective, you wouldn’t be able to make a shield for an Arduino Mega.

There are two other popular ones out there, KiCAD and gEDA. So I figured I might as well try both of them and see which one will be the best. At first, I thought learning these two things would be quick, and I’d be able to do it without a tutorial. That assumption turned out wrong.

Here are two timelapse videos of me learning these two things. Watching schematic timelapse videos kind of fun, and it is a good record of how fast time goes as it takes a screenshot every 10 seconds.

Watch on YouTube

Watch on YouTube

The set up for KiCAD was on Ubuntu 11.10 through a VirtualBox VM. I was having issues with possibly the version from apt-get being out of date, so I followed this excellent tutorial on Wayne & Layne on how to build it from source. The Mac version is not user-friendly at all, but I did look at it for a bit.

In KiCAD, the 3d viewer is neat.

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 6.01.30 PM

The bmp tool is fun to play with:

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 6.06.13 PM

This is what the LM317 board looks like so far:

Screen Shot 2011-12-18 at 1.57.46 PM

Screen Shot 2011-12-18 at 1.58.35 PM

Here are some good resources in KiCAD that were used:
Building Kicad on Ubuntu (Wayne and Layne)
Kicad step by step tutorial
Kicad wiki
Kicad wiki FAQ
Kicad resources (Meat and Networking)
Arduino modules on thingiverse
Clock3 resources
Adding kicad libraries
Kicad libraries converted from Eagle
Kicad libraries
Kicad on Mac OS X
Compiling Kicad on Mac OS X

This is what the schematic looks like in gEDA:

Screen Shot 2011-12-18 at 8.05.44 PM

Having some issues with using a custom footprint in gsch2pcb:

Screen Shot 2011-12-18 at 8.05.34 PM

Also having some issues with xgsch2pcb through the launchers:

Screen Shot 2011-12-15 at 2.59.49 PM

Luckily the people at Evil Mad Science are super knowledgable in gEDA, so I asked two questions on their forum. Here, and here.

Here are some good resources in gEDA that were used:
gEDA Homepage
gsch2pcb tutorial
DJ Delorie’s Getting Started With PCB tutorial
EMSL gEDA wiki
EMSL gEDA Resources
gEDA Symbols
PCB Footprints
Pcb Library Creation
PCB tips

All in all, the pace of this progress is not as fast as it should be. There’s a lot to learn about the CAD programs that is kind of hard as a computer science brain to adjust to. Once I get more familiarized with these programs, it will be quicker (hopefully).

In addition to learning these two cad programs, research was done in determining what chip to use in RB’s brain board. It is a choice between an atmega32u4 and a atmega328P. There are major pitfalls to both choices, but this will be discussed in more depth in the next week’s progress post.

The Robot Party was fantastic last week too. You can watch all of the videos with this YouTube playlist! There will be another Robot Party again this week too, Thursday at 8PM ET, so bring your robots and hope to see ya there!

The goal for this week’s progress is to have a first cad version of the RB brain complete, and begin planning about the pieces/size constraints.

On Twitter and Google+ the progress throughout the week is micro-blogged. Here’s the Google+ post where I dive in to comparing upverter, Eagle, KiCAD, and gEDA crazy robot style. Thanks everyone for the replies to the questions, they are really helping with learning the new tools!