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Eagle PCB or......?


#1

So I did some searching and the discussion I found on the topic were about a year ago. Is Eagle still the go to PCB layout software for most of you? Ive only used ExpressPCB and want to move to something better. Most of the discussion I see says Eagle has a bit of a learning curve, so before I start getting into it I thought Id gather opinions.

Im thinking my design is going to come in at around 10 square inches 2 layer and I was considering BatchPCB for the prototype. Or is there another service youd recommend?


#2

Eagle, few quirks but once you get past them easy peasy lemon squeezy

dfrobot for the boards, cheap and excellent service.

cant say enough good things about them.


#3

Yeah it’s been seeming like all roads lead to Eagle. I read a Sparkfun blog where they supplied a custom design rules file… but it was in 2008: https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/115

Would you recommend using something like this?

Thanks, I’ll look into the DFRobot service… I’ve been hearing about their PCB fab. When it comes time for prototype I don’t mind paying a little more for quick turnaround so I’ll weigh my options.


#4

Dfrobot have their own dru file.
8-10 day turn around to Uk or US…


#5

So for 10 boards in black with max size of 10x10cm its around $43 landed in the US


#6

Alright I suppose I won’t totally lose my mind waiting 10 days lol… I’ll get their DRU and start learning.

But wait a minute… I’ve gone to DFRobot’s PCB service to confirm (and it seems to)… but you’re saying Qty of 10 boards for $43 total!!! If I’m not misunderstanding, they pretty much slay ExpressPCB’s prices.


#7

Yup, cheap as chips but the quality and service is excellent.
When you submit your first job introduce yourself to Lauren and say Justin sent you from tinyclr and you will be well looked after :wink:

jeepers i should be getting a commission…


#8

I too agree that Eagle has it’s quirks, but once you learn how Eagle expects you to do certain things, it’s reasonable to use (I think there’s a known 6.4 bug on x64 machines that causes crashing, so 6.3 is “current” product for me). I wouldn’t have said it’s any easier than any other product to use or learn, because I haven’t learnt any other products :slight_smile: and personally if I hadn’t spent that effort I might consider alternatives. As a total hobbyist, I can’t justify spending hard earned cash on a tool, and the 100mm x 80mm limit is a pain that I’d prefer not to have (but again, not going to pay $$ to get around that limit).

So is it the right tool? Maybe. Since you haven’t already learnt it, I would seriously consider if the limits the free version imposes will constrain you; if you think it won’t, then go for it; if you think it will, then now is the right time to choose a different product (KiCAD?)


#9

Sweeeeet I’ll definitely be going DF and I’ll pass on your name, Justin.

On Brett’s point… that 100x80 limit is pretty unfortunate alongside the 100x100 size allowed on the DFRobot boards. I guess I [em]might[/em] be able to get everything into 100x50 then get 2 copies per board… but I think that’ll be really challenging if possible in 2 layer for a newb like me.

The only other name I’m seeing a lot as a free software for a hobbyist is DesignSpark… but it seems like a major plus for Eagle is the available DRU files from manufacturers.

I do think just going for the Eagle 100x80 size should be doable for what I have in mind, so at worst I suppose I just won’t get to use the whole board I’m paying for.


#10

Note, none of the “cheap” prototyping services allow you to squeeze two into one. You could manually panelise them but most prohibit the use of long routed openings, so you have to be mega creative to avoid that I’m afraid.


#11

@ FireyFate - i’m sure some of us can help you squeeze it into 100x50 if you need the help or i can help if you need to go outside 100x80…


#12

Ah, I guess that means Justin has progressed past the “hobbyist” level


#13

im still playing…but it was time to front with some coin…


#14

DFRobot’s 10x10cm board has a drop down for PCB Copy. An extra $15 for 2 copies… and their FAQ explains that this means 2 copies per 10x10 board.

So unless I’m missing something, that would mean double the boards for $15 more provided I could keep them to 10x5cm?

Thanks again Justin, I’ll keep that in mind. I’m going to be putting a Cerb40 on the board along with a few molex connectors, 12V power relay, 5 and 3.3 V regulation, and at least 4 16 pin ICs… so I fear 100x50 size might just not be feasible.


#15

@ FireyFate - correct, if your design is 100x25 you can get 4 copies so 40 boards…etc…


#16

I think I ninja’d an edit before your last post regarding the size… but it’s good to hear that the copies thing is a viable option.

This is for my Radio design if you saw that thread I posted earlier… I want to migrate from the Panda II and rework the whole thing a bit, so I’m going to start bread boarding, porting code, and concurrently drawing up the schematic in Eagle.

Once I figure out the final requirements I might be able to squeeze in 2 copies per board… but at worst under $5 a board is still WAY better than I hoped for.


#17

Just a quick one. If you guys need boards bigger than 100x100 then I recommend checking out ezPCB in China. I have been using them for the last 6+ years and have had excellent service. The costs are a little more than the DFRobot price but there is very few restrictions on size and shape. I have had boards with cutouts and odd shapes with no problems.

Must admit though, the DFRobot price for 4 layer is very tempting but I need to see what the hole size and track width restrictions are first.


#18

6mil traces & 12mil holes


#19

Excellent. This is more than good enough for what I have in mind. Now to finish off this 4-layer design :slight_smile:


#20

@ Dave McLaughlin - i sent in a 4 layer 2 days ago so can let you know how it goes…
and its not square :slight_smile: