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4 FREE Tools Everyone in Electronic Manufacturing Should Be Using

When it comes to printed circuit board design software, who doesn’t love free? There are several PCB software programs to choose from, but most of them come with a hefty price tag. We’ve scoured the internet to find the most reliable and robust software tools available for free. These free electronic design tools are some of the best PCB design software on the market, and hopefully, you’ll find a new addition to your toolkit that will improve your productivity. 

Please keep in mind that one software tool will seldom be applicable to all circuit board design projects. One tool may be useful for certain types of projects, while another tool may be useful for others.

The following tools made our list in no particular order:

1. KiCad

KiCad is a free cross-platform and open source electronic design automation suite. The top features include schematic capture, pcb layout designer, and an awesome 3D viewer for a realistic 3D inspection. 


2. EEWeb – Microstrip Impedance Calculator

The microstrip is a very simple yet useful way to create a transmission line with a PCB. There are some advantages to using a microstrip transmission line over other alternatives. Modeling approximation can be used to design the microstrip trace. By understanding the microstrip transmission line, designers can properly build these structures to meet their needs. Simply choose your microstrip type, enter your PCB specs, and your impedance will be calculated for you.


3. PCBWeb Designer

PCBWeb is a free CAD application for designing and manufacturing electronics hardware. Design multi-sheet schematics with our fast and easy-to-use wiring tool. Route multi-layer boards with support for copper pours and DRC checking. Integrated Digi-Key Parts Catalog with Bill of Materials Manager.


4. TinyCAD

This program is designed to help you draw circuit diagrams. It comes complete with symbol libraries to get you started straight away. As well as being able to simply print your designs, you can use TinyCAD to publish your drawings by copying and pasting into a Word document or saving as a PNG bitmap for the web.