Have you tried DesignSpark PCB?

This is a free PCB design software that is capable of importing EAGLE files. http://www.designspark.com/pcb

Has anyone used it before?

Never heard of it before. Main thing I look for are shortcuts - The reason I can’t stand eagle is that you’ve got to run around the screen with your mouse clicking tiny little icons…

Anyways my school pays for altium designer, so I’m sorted :slight_smile:

Interesting. I like that is absolutely free and has no limitations. I will try it later.


Excellent Gus!

I use Ares from Proteus and the cannot read eagle files. Thanks for that link.

Cheers Ian

I just downloaded it and tried it out to create a simple PCB layout. It appears to be much easier then Eagle :slight_smile:

It looks good but with it being not so popular and also free, I am worried about getting stuck with possible bugs

The economic model behind the developpement leaves me a little perplexed. When something is free, I usualy like to understand why ! This does not seem open-source. There is a lot of “partners”. It is enough ?

Trying it !

Exactly! Why is it free and not limited? Who is supporting it? If there is a bug then who is fixing it?

The copyrights are hold by RS components. When I was in Europe, it was one of my main suppliers. It’s big, serious, and highly reliable. The copyright says 1980-2011. That’s a long time for a copyright on software !

You have a little advertisement when running the software. Nothing bad. so far.
I told my firewall not to let it talk outside my computer. So far still working. Just to avoid some designs to “evade” :wall:

Components partners provide their component librairies - then making sure theirs are more used ? Not sure this is enough ?

It seems very easy to use. The 3D rendering is bluffing.
I will try loading some of my eagle’s PCBs into it and see what it can do for real.
I’ll especialy check if a file created by Eagle, modified by this software, can be taken back into eagle in case of problem. Well, within the limits allowed by Eagle (2 layers,…).

The rest of my week end will be dedicated to the kids :stuck_out_tongue:
Thank you for sharing, Gus, I’ll let you know if I find something weird.
Sometimes the best way to have an answer to a question is asking it : we may simply contact them and ask what economic model they are relying on… And analyse the answer !

Seems to work OK in importing Eagle stuff.
RS is a rather pricey distributor who’s success here in Europe was built on their having a lot of stuff in stock and delivering fast. Companies don’t seem to have minded the price then - that may have changed. Maybe just a strategy change after Farnell bought out Eagle in hopes of tying those customers to Farnell. Now RS can possibly tie customers - especially if they deliver tools to import Eagle stuff. Nice shot.

Look promising. Will have to do a whole pcb to really kick the tires end-to-end.

Things I would be need to look for when I get time to play more:

  1. Does it import Eagle parts?
  2. How good is the routing.
  3. Ratsnest tool?
  4. Can you define trace classes (i.e 5v, 3v) like in eagle.
  5. How is the gerber file creation?
  6. Rules checking.
  7. Rip up traces ability?

Seem the UX was at least created with windows in mind. UX on eagle feels dated, but can get used to it. Eagle does have a good direction going with help on sourcing parts add-in and PCB fab house upload from app. When they get those sorted right, those two alone could save tons of time.

apparently the planned economic benefit is about making their BOM-to-order process smooth, so that it’s easy for you to order your parts via their site.

RS bought the rights to some other product that escapes me, 1CAD or something (Dave Jones and Chris Gammell talked about it a while ago on The Amp Hour podcast).

What I love is what I hate about Eagle - unlimited PCB size ! The Light version of eagle is limited to 100mmx80mm. I have a Panda shield PCB I am laying out at the moment, and it’s 104mm wide. Luckily that seems to be just under whatever tolerance they have, but even in rotating some of the parts to get placement optimal for routing I kept getting the warning that the light version can’t perform the action requested. That is just a touch too restrictive in my view, so hopefully DesignSpark will be better. But I have to say, I have spend just enough time with eagle to do what I need, relatively quickly, so re-learning something that I don’t spend much time using might actually be a higher cost to me.

I have tried this software now… It takes a bit to get to use the libraries, but it gets there. Not so happy about the routing, But the 3D imagery is quite good. I can use this tool WITH mt current tool and produce everything I need.

Cheers Ian

I decided to give it a try with my latest project and I am impressed so far. I’m busy creating a Fez Panda based board at the moment.

What sold me on it was the unlimited board size with multiple layers and the ability to create components from DXF files. See my tutorial on that… [url]http://rudieshepherd.wordpress.com/2011/06/13/creating-designspark-library-components-the-easy-way[/url]

Is there someone seriously using it that would like to collaborate with me to make shield templates and component libraries for the GHI products?


Hi guys,

11…7 months after, did anyone of you switched to DesignSpark ?

I have installed it and trying now to route a small board.

Any feedback here ?