EDA stands for electronic design automation. It consists of a set of tools which are part of a workflow for designing integrated circuits and PCBs. Tools for design as well as analysis exist in a suite.
Some of the industrial standards are OrCAD from Cadence,
Altium, Eagle from CadSoft, etc. None of them are open source, nor are
they free. They either have a freemium model or a free trial thing
going on. Not suitable for doing Open Hardware at all.
KiCad is an open source (GNU GPL v2) EDA tool which recently has
gained momentum (again). It's not up to the mark as the above
tools. Eagle has found a sweet spot in the maker movement because it
offers a hobby version. CERN has taken an interest in taking the
development forward for KiCad and hopefully this'll add more
functionality and make it a de facto standard.
In this tutorial I am going to show how to install it from the source
on a Mac OS X. It's a bit tricky as there is no official .dmg
available (there are some old binaries available, but nothing worth
KiCad devs use GNU Bazaar for version control. It's similar to git. So
we are going to install some dependencies before getting the source
code from launchpad.
brew install glew bzr cmake
You also need Xcode tools installed. You can do that from the App
bzr branch lp:kicad
Uncompress the downloaded archive
mv wxWidgets-3.0.2 wx-src
Change the following line
Now run the following :
kicad/scripts/osx_build_wx.sh wx-src wx-bin kicad 10.10 "-j4"
In case the file isn't executable go to the above directory and
chmod +x osx_build_wx.sh
This will install wxWidgets for you. Next let's create a build
directory for building the latest code base.
cmake ../kicad \
Now your directory structure should look something like the
➜ KiCad ls -lah
drwxr-xr-x 9 anuj staff 306B Jan 9 21:05 .
drwxr-xr-x 13 anuj staff 442B Jan 9 18:24 ..
-rw-r--r--@ 1 anuj staff 6.0K Jan 9 19:04 .DS_Store
drwxr-xr-x 13 anuj staff 442B Jan 10 00:00 bin
drwxr-xr-x 30 anuj staff 1.0K Jan 9 21:05 build
drwxr-xr-x 50 anuj staff 1.7K Jan 9 20:21 kicad
drwxr-xr-x 6 anuj staff 204B Jan 9 20:12 wx-bin
drwxr-xr-x@ 38 anuj staff 1.3K Jan 9 19:19 wx-src
-rw-r--r-- 1 anuj staff 19M Oct 7 03:12 wxWidgets-3.0.2.tar.bz2
Your KiCad binaries will in the bin/ directory.
➜ bin ls -lah
drwxr-xr-x 13 anuj staff 442B Jan 10 00:00 .
drwxr-xr-x 9 anuj staff 306B Jan 9 21:05 ..
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 52B Jan 9 21:05 bitmap2component.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/bitmap2component.app
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 41B Jan 9 21:05 cvpcb.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/cvpcb.app
drwxr-xr-x 14 anuj staff 476B Jan 9 21:05 demos
drwxr-xr-x 4 anuj staff 136B Jan 9 21:05 doc
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 44B Jan 9 21:05 eeschema.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/eeschema.app
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 44B Jan 9 21:05 gerbview.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/gerbview.app
drwxr-xr-x 3 anuj staff 102B Jan 9 21:05 kicad.app
-rw-r--r-- 1 anuj staff 1.3K Jan 10 00:00 noname.pro
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 50B Jan 9 21:05 pcb_calculator.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/pcb_calculator.app
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 42B Jan 9 21:05 pcbnew.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/pcbnew.app
lrwxr-xr-x 1 anuj staff 45B Jan 9 21:05 pl_editor.app -> kicad.app/Contents/Applications/pl_editor.app
One of the interesting things that you can do with KiCad is
python scripting. In the above steps I haven't mentioned how to build to
enable scripting but that's definitely something one should check out
once you get the hang of KiCad.
Chris Gammell of Contextual Electronics (one half of the
Amp Hour podcast) has a nice YouTube
series on getting started with PCB design using KiCad. It's definitely
a great point for getting to know the nitty gritties of this fantastic
open source tool.