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Topic: Kicad is garbage (Read 19840 times) previous topic - next topic


I use Eagle ,I have 2 Eagles on my system one is 6.1.0 which has the restriction and the other one is 6.4.0 Full with 16 layers   ]:D   ]:) and no size restrictions  :smiley-yell:
"Real Men can Accomplish  Anything"

- skype : nishants5  
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     This is my first post to Arduino.cc.  This thread is dated, but perhaps not past its expiration date.  I arrived here searching for a specific Kicad error I was experiencing after compiling the latest "bleeding edge" version on the Windows platform.

     Regarding the topic at hand - experience with software such as Kicad is a very personal experience.  Not everyone is going to have the same impression because not everyone uses the software in the same manner and may use different portions of the software in different ways.  Your issue seems primarily with the layout side of Kicat (pcbnew) so I will focus on the layout.

     Due to the "personal experience" factor - I do not discount your experience and recognize I may not be using the same features exactly that have caused your SVG/PDF/etc export issues.  However, I have tried the same "sort" of actions and have a arrived at a different conclusion.

      The software version I am using is the latest stable Windows release as reported by the primary distribution website: 2013-07-07 BZR 4022. 

SVG Export:

       "Export SVG" using build 4022 offers the best control over what to export as I have more control over what layers to export vs. the DXF export.  FYI - my purpose for doing any of these exports was to pass a 2D model of the board to the mechanical team for checking hole locations/sizes, board outline, etc. in AutoCAD or Solidworks.

        What I found with SVG export is that the board output looks good - including traces and silkscreens that were generated with the bitmap2component (bitmap to module) utility.  The issue I had with the SVG was in terms of units.  I could not get the scale of the generated SVG file correct to allow for conversion of SVG to DXF and have the DXF result in the correct scale.  However, all SVG output always appeared fine - scale aside.

        Note: there are multiple ways to create an SVG - one way is under the "File" menu-bar and "Export SVG" icon.  This is the method I have used.  Another way is under "File" and the "Plot" icon -- then select "SVG" as the "Plot format:".  I have not tried this method.

DXF Export:

        I found the DXF export (under the "Plot" option - change from "Gerber" to "DXF" in the drop-down box) created DXFs similar to the SVG output in terms of quality of exported data (good quality).  Using the direct DXF export (or plot) the scale was also correct as seen in mechanical CAD packages.  The issue I have with this build and the DXF export is that there is a different set of layer controls using DXF export vs. the SVG.   I believe primarily the SVG output allowed for a "flattened" view where all selected layers could be combined and the DXF plot did not have this option.  I have found an external solution which works - but it would be nice to have this feature native in Kicad.  Newer builds may have this native - I have not yet reviewed any newer builds. 

         In addition to the lack of flattened DXF (instead, DXF output creates a new file for each layer) - I believe there was also a limitation in finer layer control that SVG - for what I was trying to output - allowed for filtering.  That said, both methods produced usable outputs and ultimately the DXF output was used to pass to the mechanical team after I used an external program to combine several DXF files (layers).

General summary of usage:

        Overall, I have found that Kicad is useful for generating gerbers, mechanical files, and documentation (screen shot of 3D viewer, etc).  Generating schematics and layout has been fairly straight-forward.  Every once and a while I run into the situation where there is an operation I have to do that is less efficient due to the Kicad workflow of this particular item (such as forward annotation from schematic after a pinswap and the amount of clicks necessary to reload the netlist after such an operation) -- but I do ultimately find for any requirement there is a method to accomplish what I need to do and these methods are not beyond my personal threshold of usefulness.
         Although not an option for everyone, lately I have decided to compile my own versions and modify the code to modify Kicad's behavior.  Although the compile worked - I am still working through the 1st day "growing pains" of getting my first usable set of binaries.


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