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Old 13th July 2008, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default PCB Board software?

Is there a software that is available for making tube printed circuit boards?
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Old 13th July 2008, 01:21 PM   #2
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Hi,

Tubes or solid state, it makes no difference to the software....

Eagle (www.cadsoftusa.com) has some libs with tubes.

\\\Jens
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Old 13th July 2008, 01:46 PM   #3
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http://www.expresspcb.com/

Free and as easy as it gets. Boards are a little more expensive.
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Old 13th July 2008, 02:54 PM   #4
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I use the Eagle software for all of my tube PC boards. The freeware version is limited to a small sized PC board that is not useful for complete amplifiers. The full "professional" version that I use is not suitable for casual hobbiests. It costs $1500 USD.

I know a person who makes several small PC boards with the freeware version, then uses a image editor to put them all together. This sounds like a pain to me.
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Old 13th July 2008, 03:05 PM   #5
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I currently am making the move from Eagle to Kicad (http://www.lis.inpg.fr/realise_au_lis/kicad/), for a couple of reasons.

The freeware version of Eagle is limited in utility (1/2 eurocard board, one schematic sheet, two PCB layers) and application (no commercial designs). Kicad is GPL software and has neither of these limitations. Kicad's also got a built-in gerber viewer, which I like better than most standalone programs.

Now, there is some adjustment time required to get used to kicad. It's by no means "easy" to use software, but if you stick with it I'm sure you'll be rewarded. Having board size and schematic sheet requirements lifted from me is like a breath of fresh air. The dealmaker for me: there's a library converter that takes Eagle .lib files and turns them into kicad format .lib and .mod files.

--k

edit: I wanted to agree with tubelab here in that if you've got the cash to spend, Eagle's the way to go. It's worth every penny.
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Old 13th July 2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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I'm trying to find software (freeware) to do a 6 3/8'' x 3 3/8'' board. The limitations on most freeware is 4'' x 3.2''

Can't quite afford $1500 in software to do a larger board. However, maybe the light just turned on. I could probably do one
channel of a driver board in 4'' x 3.2'' if I get lucky.
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Old 13th July 2008, 03:45 PM   #7
Trout is offline Trout  United States
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You might want to check into ExpressPCB

They have a free PCB and schematic software on their website. They also offer a PCB service that is not to outragous.

Just a thought.

Trout
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Old 13th July 2008, 04:06 PM   #8
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If you're only making a few boards, have a laser printer, an iron, and some Staples Photo Basic Gloss # 648181 paper. Any drawing program will work if you use the toner transfer method. You'll have to create your own symbols, routing etc and etch your own boards from copperclad, but it does give you a lot of freedom and flexability and can be almost as fast as breadboarding and have some really nice results if the project only needs single sided boards. Absolutely no size limitations.

You do your drawing, print it on the gloss paper, iron it to the copper clad (the iron re-melts the toner - actually small plastic particles) on to the copper. Put the bord in water for a while and peel off the paper backing. The tomer is left as a resist. clean up the residue of the paper with your fingers or soft bristle tooth brush and etch your board. Etch the board, then remove the toner with acetone.
The process is well documented, just do a Google search. There's even a YouTube video or three out there. Been doin this for one off's fo over 10 years. Unless I need mass quantities of PCBs and more than one side, this is the bees knees. Oh, and you'll need to drill the holes... use small diameter carbide bits that available and prefereably a drill press to get straight vertical holes. I use a product called "Cool-Amp" that puts a silver plate on the raw copper traces by simply rubbing the powder with water over the traces. Then after the boards are stuffed, I give them a conformal coating.

JD
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Old 13th July 2008, 04:23 PM   #9
es44 is offline es44  Denmark
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I have become addicted to Diptrace, that was easy for me to learn.
No limit in board size, but a max. of 250 pins in the free version.
The reason i love it so much, is amongst other things, that i can make single sided boards. I'm using the toner transfer method.
It comes with quite a big library, and possibilities to define your own parts.

Best regards
Ebbe
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Old 13th July 2008, 06:55 PM   #10
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... even when you have a simple cad software you can try the method of engraving

Example here: a Servo circuit ...
Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

best regards
artQuake
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