PCB Software

bigmike216 said:
Hi!

I've been messing around with ExpressPCB, and it's quite easy to use... but I can't sem to find a way to actually make your own pcb's from it.. when you print, it comes out on a gray background with a grid..

What's some other good pcb software? or is there a way to do it with ExpressPCB?


I use eagle on linux.

www.cadsoft.de Wicked software too. !!
 
U can try PCB123 too:D

Regarding the grid and background of Express PCB,u need a few tricks to get rid of them.

Hardware way:print out the thing u want,scan back into ur PC using a scanner,save as .jpg files,process it using photo/picture editing software(ie:photoshop,Paint.....),then print again(watch for the scale)

Software way:U need some sort of "virtual printer"(most of them are shareware:( )for the first 2 steps mentioned above.
 
I think I said this a while ago:
**
I either
1) just print the express pcb image and manipulate
with photo copier if need sizing -
2) use grabit pro or similar and capture the screen (bmp etc) then
manipulate further in photoshop

ok, maybe learning eagle is not a bad idea....
**
I don't think the dots in express pcb interfered with photo
processes but photoshop was able to fix it up
too much work...

In the end I did switch to eagle
 

tess

Member
2004-10-09 8:31 pm
This what I used to do, but its far easier to print if you learn Eagle.

copied from: http://www.robotroom.com/PCB.html


Printing Around ExpressPCB

Although it would be nice to print from within ExpressPCB, printing from their File menu includes a grid and grayscale background that messes up the copper layer. (Version 2.1.0 through 4.1.2 tested.)

I wonder if this was on purpose to prevent hobbyists from creating their own homemade printed circuit boards using ExpressPCB software? I don't see how it hurts them for newbies to learn PCB layout on their software. To the contrary, this prevents potential customers from testing their circuit before ordering. (Dear ExpressPCB, If you're reading this, please clean up the printing! Be confident that the quality of your product and service is enough to attract regular business away from home-etched boards as people get tired of etching their own or create a successful design that they want multiple copies of.)

No problem, you just need to take a screen shot and print from a graphics program! Here's how:

1. Choose Options in the View menu.
2. Turn off "Show Grid".
3. Turn off "View top copper layer" or "View bottom copper layer" depending on which you don't want to print.
4. Turn off "View silkscreen layer".
5. Turn off "View corners".
6. Switch to the Colors tab.
7. Change Background to white.
8. Change Top layer to black.
9. Change Bottom layer to black.
10. Change Board edges to black (if you want a border to help align or cut on).
11. Click the OK button.

Now the window appears exactly as it needs to be printed. All extraneous parts are hidden and all copper parts are in black.

12. Zoom (enlarge) until the board image is as large as can possibly fit completely within the window.
13. Take a screen shot (press both the Alt and Print Screen keys simultaneously).
14. Run a paint program. For example, Microsoft Photo Editor or Paint Shop Pro.
15. Choose Paste (or Paste As New Image) from the Edit menu. The screen shot should now appear in the paint window.
16. Crop as desired.
17. Print from the File menu. Microsoft Photo Editor's print dialog allows a final size to be specified in inches, which is handy. Otherwise use the percent % scaling option until the printed image matches the desired size.

What a pain! Okay, that's what I get for using free software.
 
i found that pcb123 was a piece of crap.

expresspcb is the way to go.

maybe its because i like how expressPCB works... it just feels more intuitive.

pcb123 has been frantically upgrading... i belive its on version 2.1... i bet when it gets around 4.0 it will be a solid program and smooth program like expressPCB.. until then, expressPCB is what i use.
 
Well I've done it.

I changed the background to black, and the top, bottom, and silkscreen to white. Then I used printscreen for each individual layer (turning all off but the one I wanted) and then pasted into photoshop, all three ontop of eachother on seperate layers. I cropped them at the same time (thus the three on top of each other) and then split them up into indivudal gif's, flipping to top and silkscreen while at it. Then I printed it out with irfran view, specifying the size in printing. Worked perfetly!
 
frdchang said:
i found that pcb123 was a piece of crap.

expresspcb is the way to go.

maybe its because i like how expressPCB works... it just feels more intuitive.

pcb123 has been frantically upgrading... i belive its on version 2.1... i bet when it gets around 4.0 it will be a solid program and smooth program like expressPCB.. until then, expressPCB is what i use.

PCB123's schematic capture (which they didn't write but purchased) is pretty user unfriendly and unintuitive, fairly slow to lay out circuits, and has a few bugs. They're in the process of writing their own cap software I believe.

But the layout software (which they wrote from the ground up) works great. It does what you need to, has no real limitation unless you need a highly multilayered board, and is very intuitive. The best thing about PCB123 is that when you encounter any problem (whether it be user error or a real program bug) you can bet that the support will be superlative... good forums, phone support if needed, they'll create custom part footprints if you are having problems figuring it out, and if you're really stumped you can email a file and they'll fix errors and provide feedback on the design.

And it doesn't hurt that their prototype boards are very cost competitive (better than expressPCB IIRC, but I haven't looked in a while).

Oh... and the artwork printing works perfectly to scale... pads, traces, silkscreening, drill chart...
 
bigmike216 said:
Hi!

I've been messing around with ExpressPCB, and it's quite easy to use... but I can't sem to find a way to actually make your own pcb's from it.. when you print, it comes out on a gray background with a grid..

What's some other good pcb software? or is there a way to do it with ExpressPCB?

I use circuitmaker and trackmaker

is nice software
:)
 
RHosch said:


PCB123's schematic capture (which they didn't write but purchased) is pretty user unfriendly and unintuitive, fairly slow to lay out circuits, and has a few bugs. They're in the process of writing their own cap software I believe.

But the layout software (which they wrote from the ground up) works great. It does what you need to, has no real limitation unless you need a highly multilayered board, and is very intuitive. The best thing about PCB123 is that when you encounter any problem (whether it be user error or a real program bug) you can bet that the support will be superlative... good forums, phone support if needed, they'll create custom part footprints if you are having problems figuring it out, and if you're really stumped you can email a file and they'll fix errors and provide feedback on the design.

And it doesn't hurt that their prototype boards are very cost competitive (better than expressPCB IIRC, but I haven't looked in a while).

Oh... and the artwork printing works perfectly to scale... pads, traces, silkscreening, drill chart...

lol, i see. i always wondered why there was such a discrepency between the layout and schematic editor.
 
Hi all
ExpressPCB is an attractive layout program for those of us who want something simple and intuitive. The only problem is that when you print your layout you have a grey background and a lot of dots. I know no simple way to solve this problem, but this is a method that seems to work:

1.
Install a postscript printer on your computer. I chose HP Color LaserJet 4550 PS as it appears on the list in WinXP. Choose the option FILE when asked which port to use.

2.
Install Ghostscript and GSview on your computer if you have not already.

3.
Open ExpressPCB and print your layout using the above printer. This saves your pcb as a postscript file on your harddisk. Choose an appropriate name with the extension .ps.

4.
Open the postscript file with Wordpad and find the section containing the following:

end reinitialize
N 1239 2650 M 3519 2650 I 3519 4150 I 1239 4150 I C
0.879 0.879 0.879 1 scol O : N 1239 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1299 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1359 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1419 2650 7 7 rp C

5.
Delete the second of the above lines (the one starting with N. This removes the greyish background.

6.
Replace all of the 7 7 rp C with a blank (use the edit -> replace -> replace all command). This removes the dots.

7.
Save the file and open in GSview. Print your pcb-layout on your default printer.


I have tried the above method with a few simple layouts today and it seems to work. I have only tested with ExpressPCB 5.10.

Torben Herrmann
 

maxw

Member
2004-06-10 7:23 am
Berlin
Herrmann said:
Hi all
ExpressPCB is an attractive layout program for those of us who want something simple and intuitive. The only problem is that when you print your layout you have a grey background and a lot of dots. I know no simple way to solve this problem, but this is a method that seems to work:

1.
Install a postscript printer on your computer. I chose HP Color LaserJet 4550 PS as it appears on the list in WinXP. Choose the option FILE when asked which port to use.

2.
Install Ghostscript and GSview on your computer if you have not already.

3.
Open ExpressPCB and print your layout using the above printer. This saves your pcb as a postscript file on your harddisk. Choose an appropriate name with the extension .ps.

4.
Open the postscript file with Wordpad and find the section containing the following:

end reinitialize
N 1239 2650 M 3519 2650 I 3519 4150 I 1239 4150 I C
0.879 0.879 0.879 1 scol O : N 1239 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1299 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1359 2650 7 7 rp C
0 0 0 1 scol L ; : N 1419 2650 7 7 rp C

5.
Delete the second of the above lines (the one starting with N. This removes the greyish background.

6.
Replace all of the 7 7 rp C with a blank (use the edit -> replace -> replace all command). This removes the dots.

7.
Save the file and open in GSview. Print your pcb-layout on your default printer.


I have tried the above method with a few simple layouts today and it seems to work. I have only tested with ExpressPCB 5.10.

Torben Herrmann

LOL this whole elaborate proceedure just to use ExpressPCB? :smash:

I have used it before and been down this path too. Now I use Eagle PCB and love it. You should really just take a short time to learn how to use eagle, its soo much better once you know how ;)
Here is my example:
http://max8888.orcon.net.nz/pcbs.htm
 
Hi

The procedure does look elaborate, but note that some of the steps only needs to be done once. In fact it takes me less than one minute to make a print.
About EAGLE: The free lite version only supports small PCBs and to many people the GUI is not at all appealing. But it is used by a lot of people and most of them seem happy and do impressive work too.

Torben