Transition from DesignSpark PCB to KiCad

Started by philjynx, September 18, 2023, 09:26:56 AM

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This is a question primarily for Catrinus ( @sixeight) since I've noticed you use KiCad.

I've ditched designspark mechanical for all my engineering and 3D design work in favour of FreeCAD - and what an improvement that has made!

Now it's time to ditch DesignSpark PCB and use KiCad instead.

I'm asking you here as your answer may well be of interest to many besides me.

The question is do you have a recomendation as to who to seek out on YouTube to get tuition?



Now, back to building that boat - it sure is raining something rotten here......


It was years ago and many things have changed in KiCAD. But there are many tutorials available. It does take time to learn, so be patient.


It didn't take long to answer my own question. There's plenty of help to be found on YouTube regarding KiCad.

Possibly because I've spent so much time with DesignSpark PCB, (you could probably substitute any PCB design software name here), I'm finding KiCad exceptionally easy to learn and it is clear to me that the choice to migrate to it was a good one.

Highly recommend it.

Here are my reasons for ditching the two RS programs (DesignSpark Mechanical and DesignSpark PCB:

1. You have to have an internet connection to launch the latest versions.

2. The latest Designspark Mechanical has broken some of my older 3D models - not a good feature, especially since you now cannot run the older versions - not for technical reasons but because RS say so!

3. They are both Windows only programs. Whilst I'm more than happy with my Windows 10 setup, Microsoft have drastically contracted the expected support lifetime for Windows 10 in comparison to some of their earlier orphaned OS. There's an increasing loss of ownership of your PC as you move to 11 and at some point 12 - besides which I don't have the budget or inclination to throw out perfectly good hardware just to continue to do what I was already doing.

Now that I'm moving to KiCad I'll be in a position to move all of my activities to Linux at a time of my choosing in the future before Windows 10 becomes (more) insecure.

I use VS Code and PlatformIO for firmware design (eg Teensy, ESP32, Arduino)- both available on linux.

I haven't properly checked but I think that 'proper' Visual Studio is available in some way to run on linux for Windows program develoment.

The only reason I need windows program development capabilities at all is because my Looping software is Mobius which is a windows app, and the ancillary programs I've written have to be windows in order to coexist with it.

FreeCad and KiCad are both multi platform programs.

Who knows, maybe Notepad++ will become available for linux one day too.....


Quote from: philjynx on September 18, 2023, 12:44:54 PMYou no longer use it?

I do occasionally, but I use an older version with my own library. That way I can still work on my designs even though kiCads libraries change. My designs are made of rougly the same components.

But most of my time is spent programming, not designing PCB's.