This course consists of 4 pre-recorded videos and 4 live office hours. More FAQ here.
Classes are pre-recorded and will be released Tuesdays at 19:00 IST/9:30a EDT/ 6:30a PDT. Office Hours are Fridays at 20:30 IST/11:00a EDT/ 8a PDT. Link to calendar for easy timezone conversion.
ABOUT THIS COURSE
This “Introduction to KiCad and FreeCAD” course will consist of byte sized pre-recorded video tutorials which will walk you from schematic capture onward to PCB and enclosure design. In recent years, the line between hobbyist and professional has blurred. Hobbyists are designing and assembling circuit boards with grain sized components on multi-layer boards and dense parts placements. And thanks to rapid prototyping, modeling enclosures to house the electronics it pretty easy as well. To become a skilled hobbyist / professional, it is essential to have these design skills. But EDA and CAD tools have a very steep learning curve, and its not easy to get started unless you have a lot of guidance along the way. So, join in, and improve your engineering chops by becoming proficient in PCB and mechanical design.
KiCad is an amazing Open Source (free as in freedom!) program that allows you to design your own printed circuit board without arbitrary limitations on board size. KiCad offers an all-in-one solution:
- Full featured EDA suite, GNU GPL license
- Cross-platform - Linux, Windows, Mac OSX
- Large, dedicated support community.
- Extensive Documentation, FAQ's, Mailing List, Tutorials, IRC
FreeCAD is an open-source parametric 3D modeller made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. Parametric modelling allows you to easily modify your design by going back into your model history and changing its parameters.
WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR ?
This course is tailored for the electronic enthusiast who has just started off using KiCad or wants to switch to it from other tools. We will walk through a design from Schematic to Gerbers and answer your “how-to” questions.
Later, we will have a quick introduction to FreeCAD, learning how to model an enclosure after importing a 3D model of the finished PCB.
All you will need is a basic understanding of electronics and mechanical modelling.
Here’s how we will progress over the next four weeks.
Essential KiCad links, discuss KiCad best practices, setup a project directory tree, do a schematic capture, understand symbol library management and create custom symbols
Symbol<>Footprint association, essential PCBnew plugins, PCB layout, footprint library management and creating custom footprints, adding non-technical layers to help production and assembly
Engineering/Manufacturing outputs - GERBERS, vector graphics, 3D CAD formats. BoM management, creating and adding graphics such as logos to the PCB
Essential FreeCAD links, FreeCAD basics, essential workbenches, unifying KiCad and FreeCAD via the KiCad StepUp tools workbench, PCB import, simple enclosure design, Exporting for manufacturing
On your Person, all you need installed is some basic electronics and engineering knowledge, and some drawing skills.
On your computer, you will need to install the two programs, along with some add ons.
- KiCad ver 5.1.6 : https://kicad-pcb.org/download/
- KiCad Libraries : https://kicad-pcb.org/libraries/download/
- Schematic, Footprint, 3D models, Templates
- KiCad Addons
- KiCad StepUp Tools : https://github.com/easyw/kicadStepUpMod/
- Interactive HTML BoM : https://github.com/openscopeproject/InteractiveHtmlBom
- FreeCAD ver 0.18.4 : https://www.freecadweb.org/downloads.php
- FreeCAD workbenches : KiCad StepUp Tools, Exploded Assembly, Fasteners, Manipulator, Sheet Metal
- To activate Workbenches, go to TOOLS > ADDON MANAGER