Screaming Circuits: Virtual Questions

Virtual Questions

Here's a question I received during my Virtual-PCB chat session back on March 8th.:

From Jack: "Here's my default question (as a designer), what is your biggest headache from designers?"

My answer: "Probably the most common difficulty has to do with CAD library footprints. That's really a headache caused by the CAD software"

Jack: "ha, well it seems like the majority of problems stem from incorrect library fottprints (including mask, silk, etc.) maybe we just need to get together and make a universal library for everyone, eh?"

I've been hearing a lot of lamentations over the last year regarding CAD library footprints. It seems to be one of those issues that has been around long enough and is now reaching a criticle mass of attention. There are a few partial solutions in the works. PCB123 is trying to make the most complete set of libraries possible. NXP has been supplying factory libraries to PCB123. There is the IPC-7351B land pattern generator. Some manufacturers give good footprint guidance at least (Ti, Freescale). Sparkfun and Adafruit are supplying libraries for most of the components that they use and sell.

All good things and all in the right direction, but still not a consolidated univeral effort. There's also talk flaoting around of croudsourcing libraries. I can see that working for Eagle and a few other packages, but I question whether large companies using expensive CAD systems would rely on such a thing. I guess that all means that we don't have a solution in sight, but if the problem is getting broad-based visibility, than maybe someone will come up with an actual complete answer.

Duane Benson
Esperanto for CAD libraries


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I'm trying to crowdsource them at the Artisan's Asylum by teaching a class in schematic capture/layout, having each student pick and make a component or three according to my standard process, and then checking them all over afterwards before adding them to a common library on a shared drive.

One of these days soon I'll add a web form for uploading them...

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