Tuesday, October 02, 2007


PWM Driver Board v1.0 Render

Recently I've been working on a bit of a side project, namely building modular boards that could be used with an Arduino board. I wanted to try out Eagle. Its not open source, but they do have a free version, which is very full featured. I discovered a plugin called eagle3D, which i used to render this very awesome version of the board design.

the cool thing about eagle, is that it can be run from the command line. i haven't had time to experiment with it, but it would be very excellent if i could write a script to automate the whole process:

* generate Gerber and Drill files
* generate PDF files of schematic and board
* generate 3D rendering of board
* zip it all up into a file for release on the internet.

having a nice, rendered image of the board will give an excellent guide to assembling the board (that is basically automatic) . it even shows the correct resistor colors! not to mention it looks absolutely stunning!!

Wow! Looks great!
Zach: Keep in mind, that Eagle is free for NON commerciale use and have a size limit (4x3.2in or 100x80mm).

Anything that you create with eagle you aren't permitted to sell via rrrf store. (even if rrrf is a foundation, you basically ruled out other future competitors. (anyone who want to sell reprap parts and want to earn some money)).

I think we should stay on the safe side. What do you think?

ps: Im not a lawyer, just read the eagle restrictions...

True. I emailed them to find out exactly what license one would need to cover it.

Eagle is a *very* powerful CAD program, with a variety of time-saving tools that are very important for an open source project. For example: I've spent *hours* laying out boards in Kicad. When a new board version comes out, that means at least 2-3 hours more work just re-laying out the board. Eagle's autorouter means that we can spend more time innovating and less time doing mundane stuff like drawing traces on a board.

If they reply back that one of the inexpensive licenses works, then I'm okay with that. If they want us to pay large fee, then I'll seriously reconsider them.

I don't really want this to turn into a philosophical debate, but the schematic files will *always* be available. There is no problem with distributing those files.

Its a very grey issue when it comes to other people making boards. Licenses are designed for businesses that keep their files secret. Here we are giving our files to everyone. Technically the files we give away would be created with a licensed version of Eagle. Whether that means someone else can then in turn create boards off of them is something I don't know enough about to fully comment. If they wanted to be absolutely safe, they could either:

1. buy their own license of Eagle (worth it, IMHO)
2. re-create the board in a free EDA software.

personally, i think that the pros outweigh the cons in this type of situation.

hopefully this will not even be an issue when Fritzing hits the streets...
Also, the other major open source hardware project Arduino is based in Eagle. It's not like we're dealing with Microsoft here... Eagle loves the hobbyist community and I think they will be very sympathetic towards us.

If not, I hear that gEDA has an autorouter...
Personally I find very difficult to cooperate with eagle. Many people stick at one particular version, and cant upgrade the newer eagle because it cant open the files which was created an older one (this issues basically comes up with cracked versions).

Maybe there are difficulties between the files created with the freeware and commerciale eagle (Im not sure about this).

The pcb design program is not the biggest issue, I think the lack of CAD program is much bigger. There is no 3D CAD program available either for free or as libre.

And Im really hoping,when people start *making*object with reprap, a professional CAD program will be born as a side effect.

Choosing the easier way (Eagle, Autodesk inventor/Solid Edge) not always the best way in the long run.
Hi friend, could you send me the source code for your PWM circuit shown in 3D above?
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