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Re: Have you tried design spark?


On Fri, 10 Sep 2010, Alex G wrote:

Well, then this makes kicad "God's Free Schematic and PCB Layout Tool".

Only bad things thus-far. :)

Not true, I actually like their schematic drag, it's better than kicad's
one (but could be even better)

- Plots are very customizable (something like the eagle postpro)

- They have truetype support for gerber... a raster fill implementation
  like that I suggested. Results are... well... questionable :P Most
  probably they didn't hinted during rasterizing.

- It can import DXFs for the board

Sounds interesting...

Don't worry, I think someone is working on that too probably :P:P
There was someone playing with dxflib (and we *export* dxf, already :P);
as for font support the big problem is how handle metrics, which are
more or less hardwired in kicad. I already have a truetype to bitmap
rasterizer but I worry that showing label as they would (i.e. using
line rasters) would render display too slow; now we have about 5-10
strokes for each letter, rasterizing them would signify about 1-5
strokes for *each raster line*. And using the system rasterizer on
screen would be a major PITA because it wants *screen* metrics.

And I would lose my beautiful ISO technical set 1 :D:D (that's an
in-house patch, because people here wants ISO lettering... yes, I know
there is an open source ISO TT font).

Maybe (just maybe) I'll take this project in hand when I get some
free time.

Aren't all things windows bloated by definition?

That's not the question :D kicad could use a kind of 'design rule
template' anyway.

- It supports courtyards (using assembly layers). Well, there is no
  'fixed' layer, they're customizable (but I don't know if it flips them
  correctly, then...)

I _want_ this in kicad One top courtyard, and one bottom courtyard. I'm
not requesting from anyone to implement this, but it is a much coveted

It should be relatively easy to implement, eating the ECO layers (the
problem is that we're already using all the 32 bit for the layer bitmask
:D). Or maybe just step over to a 64 bit mask (woohoo). Anyway the
autoplacer and DRC checker would greatly benefit from assembly layers.

Yes, we can learn from their mistakes. :p

That's what my review was about. /me will remember correct hinting using
truetypes :D

Oh, their website says:
Please be encouraged to share your designs, libraries and tips so other users can benefit from your experience.

That's hypocritical coming from any proprietary/closed-source software.

No, that's not. They only want to build a user community; the strange
thing is the mandatory activation for a 'free' cad system (like: now is
in beta and free, tomorrow you'll have to pay).

And, of course, it is integrated with the RS website :D:D (didn't tried
that function), just like designlink for farnell (note to sellers: *why*
make it a proprietary controlled protocol? wouldn't they benefit if
other people used their catalog to buy stuff at the end?)

Lorenzo Marcantonio
Logos Srl

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