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Using alibre for circuit diagrams and printed circuits

Discussion in 'Using Alibre Design' started by BrianE.Evans, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. BrianE.Evans

    BrianE.Evans Senior Member

    I have just been asked if I can do a few printed circuit diagrams .
    I thought that before telling the client no, I should ask the question here. I can see using the Sketch on a sheet in drawing mode, however I would have to create all of the schematic symbols manually.
    As for drawing traces I guess I could draw a base film in copper then keep cutting away at it using sketches.
    Anybody have any Ideas on this , or would I be better off getting a program like EAGLE ?
    Brian Evans.
  2. RocketNut

    RocketNut Alibre Super User

    VoltsAndBolts likes this.
  3. Jimpulse

    Jimpulse Alibre Super User

    Doing that kind of 2D drafting in the GM drawing module would be a huge exercise in frustration. Particularly when there are so many free or low cost alternatives that can handle the job better than GMs module can do. It simply was not INTENDED to do that job well.

    For conventional drafting I hear Draftsight is quite good. I use Designcad ...mostly because I have been using it for almost 3 decades. After all, the best program tends to be the one you are most familiar with. I would google "free 2D cad software" and/or listen to the othere suggestions here.
    For PCB layout also consider http://www.expresspcb.com, or some of the software provided free from some of the short run PCB houses. Make sure that you know how portable the resulting files are though. Most times you cannot take the files from these programs to other vendors without some extra expense.

  4. jfleming

    jfleming Senior Member

    Another vote for Draftsight here
    VoltsAndBolts likes this.
  5. BrianE.Evans

    BrianE.Evans Senior Member

    I think based on these replies , I will just tell the customer NO
    Brian Evans.
  6. JuKu

    JuKu Member

    Many electronics programs provide evaluation and free limited versions. For simple diagrams, look at Eagle, DipTrace, KiCad or similar.
  7. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    That's actually my "stock in trade", since I design power electronics, currently motor drives and related stuff.

    You do not want to go there with ANY regular CAD system.

    A real system has connectivity between schematic and layout, BOM extraction, etc. Think pencil vs Geomagic.... it's that bad.
  8. djsb

    djsb Member

  9. wiabggwin

    wiabggwin Member

    Trust me! You do not want to do this in Alibre design. I did a ladder diagram for a punch press control (I did it) but it was a nightmare.
    jfleming, simonb65 and JST like this.
  10. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Yes, +100

    For that, you are far better off with old time Autocad 2D, the full version or LT, whichever. Some times Alibre is just not the tool to use.
  11. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    VoltsAndBolts likes this.
  12. MainJet

    MainJet Member

    Use KiCad, it's free and exports 3D model to FreeCAD
    VoltsAndBolts and simonb65 like this.
  13. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    Alibre is a Mechanical 3D CAD program not an electrical layout or design program. You should pick the right tool for the job at hand. You can use a crescent wrench in place of a hammer but it's definitely not the right tool for driving nails.
    I don't do circuit diagrams, which to my mind sound more like a 2D drawing and it sounds like JST and the others have pointed you in the right direction.
    jfleming and simonb65 like this.
  14. ajayre

    ajayre Alibre Super User

    While circuit diagrams can be created with 2D packages it doesn't make much sense. A schematic diagram is a visual representation of a data structure. That data structure consists of the electrical connections, which lines are power, signal, input, output, etc., along with other important pieces of data. It's best to use a dedicated schematic capture package. I recommend KiCAD.

  15. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Brian -- Alibre is a mechanical solids Modeler. Designing Printed Circuit Boards is best accomplished using a Printed Circuit Design program. They usually output DWG or DFX files that you can import into Alibre to create mechanical representations of a Printed Circuit Boad Assembly, , but that should be limited to form and fit operations (in my estimation). My analogy is that I have pretty good pneumatic and hydraulic circuit design and simulation tools in my 2D CAD system (General CADD). I know of no way to make them work better or faster in Alibre, but I can design and simulate said circuit in General CADD and import the schematic into Alibre.

    Generating Printed Circuit Boards with Etched Circuits is a minor PITA. Populating them with (shall we say) electronic components is a bit hards (but Save and reuse them to the greatest degree possible, right?) and things get a bit easier.
  16. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    It sounds like PCBs are not in your normal skillset! Firstly, they are not just 'drawings' they are much more involved in that. Secondly, use the right tools for the job (and have some degree of skill in the subject, otherwise those tools are just going to make it easier ... but not neccesarily right).
    If you do want to attempt it, use a free package, i.e Kicad or Designspark.
    You dont say if it is something youve done before... would be useful to know before giving further advice.
  17. jcdammeyer

    jcdammeyer Senior Member

    I use Altium for Schematic Capture and PCB Layout. Altium has grown to the point now where each object like a resistor, IC, relay not only has a footprint but can also have a STEP file. It's possible to look at the PCB Layout in 3D mode and export it as a STEP file. That can then be modeled in with mechanical drawings to verify that all the parts fit and have clearance. But I wouldn't use Altium for mechanical drawings anymore than I'd use Alibre to try and do PC layout or landscaping/building design.
    simonb65 likes this.
  18. BrianE.Evans

    BrianE.Evans Senior Member

    Yes it is something I have done before, but not with a cad program.
    Most of my PC board work was done in the 1970's on a drawing board using tape and pencil . I used to work for an outfit that had a through plated hole facility. I first posted this question in march of 2015. I realized that I did not want to hand draw this stuff and I did not want to learn another drafting program , so at that time I told the customer no. This post sat dormant from March 2015 , until DJSB picked it up and responded in November of last year, I just now realized that it had gotten active again. I have done both circuit diagrams and masks for PC boards.
    Since this is now a moot point please do not respond any more to this thread.
    Brian Evans.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    simonb65 likes this.
  19. jaysinn

    jaysinn Member

    I sometimes design small one-off circuits that will never be printed circuit boards. I have Eagle, but for my purposes it is a pain because it insists on knowing exactly what component you are using. For my purposes, just a generic resistor, generic capacitor, generic ground connection and so on would be fine; I can label the components (some of the stuff I'm using is old and is not supported in Eagle at all!!).

    So what it boils down to is this: I'd like the ability to create my own set of re-usable "parts" in a Drawing library. Not to be confused with 3D "parts"; just particular configurations of lines and curves that I could easily select, rotate if necessary, and insert in a stand-alone drawing not linked to any actual Parts. This capability would not really be limited to electronics; I can imagine that this would be useful in other realms. Does it already exist in Alibre?
  20. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Custom symbol.

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