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KiCAD RF tools

Round tracks hack:
An easy way to design round tracks in KiCAD with a full DRC support.

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Round tracks are finally available in KiCAD :)
Since legacy canvas, has been dropped in KiCAD 5.1, and the status of round tracks in main source code seems to moving slowly, I started to play a bit with scripts and action plugins for RF tools… Then I developed some RF footprint wizards: Mitered corners, Round corners & Taper for square track ending or track taper. But then I've developed a Track Rounder and a Solder Mask Espander hack for KiCAD as an action script.

Round tracks are finally available in KiCAD :)

Since legacy canvas, has been dropped in KiCAD 5.1, and the status of round tracks in main source code seems to moving slowly, I started to play a bit with scripts and action plugins for RF tools…

Then I developed some RF footprint wizards:

  • Mitered corners
  • Round corners
  • Taper for square track ending or track taper


The Miter script has been developed from an original script I found at KiCAD mailing list  ... unfortunately the message didn’t get many attention and the contribution didn’t get inside kicad code… and after a while I finally decided to revamp the code to align it to kv5.1

Some other scripts came later on: Round (Arc) and Taper footprint wizards. Even if these are useful for RF needs, a simpler method to create round tracks in KiCAD would be useful.

But then I decided to develop a Track Rounder hack for KiCAD as an action script.

and later on I've added also a Solder Mask Expander action plugin:


Still if there is room for improvements, I think KiCAD can now handle many critical aspects that weren’t easily obtainable before.

I have done a small video to show the tools capabilities:

Thanks go Simon K (https://github.com/skuep/) I've merged the Via Fencing code into RF-tools-KiCAD project :D

  • Round corner traces for Flex PCB

    Maurice10/16/2019 at 20:27 0 comments

    The best practice for Flex PCB Design, when the circuit bend is unavoidable, is to keep the track work as gently curving as possible, using conical radius bends.

    This goal could be reached both with Round Tracks plugins (being aware to highly discretize the curve) or even with real arcs, using the Arc footprint Wizard included in the tools.

    Moreover near the connectors it is advisable to taper down from the pads. This can be achieved using the Taper footprint Wizard included in the tools.

  • RF tools: Trace length caliper

    Maurice10/11/2019 at 19:56 0 comments

    An other small tool added ... Trace length caliper

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Jan wrote 10/21/2019 at 10:19 point

Awesome scripts, need to try them asap! I don't do RF stuff but I think rounded traces just look prettier sometimes!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 10/07/2019 at 16:11 point

I don't know much about RF trace design, but would the mitered trace be a problem due to the decreased width of the trace across the miter? Should the inside corner be mitered too? Or is this one of those cases where RF just does weird things and conventional wisdom doesn't apply?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Maurice wrote 10/07/2019 at 21:05 point

@Dan Maloney 

mitered corners are exactly designed to meet RF signal integrity needs

please have a look at:

https://awrcorp.com/download/faq/english/docs/Elements/MBENDA.htm

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dan Maloney wrote 10/08/2019 at 15:32 point

Guess it is RF weirdness. I'd love to get into the physics of it. I'll have to check that reference at the end of the article your linked. Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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