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Anyone out there make their own circuit boards?

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    Anyone out there make their own circuit boards?

    For the last year or so I've entertained myself making my own X10 devices, and I have been using WinBoard and WinDraft from Ivex.

    This year they introduced an autorouter which made life sweet by eliminating the (sometimes days long) drudgery of routing boards by hand. The Ivex router ran as a server at their site, not as a stand alone Windows program. They charged a monthly subscription fee for use.

    Alas, Ivex has 'stopped doing business' and now I must switch to a new CAD program.

    Anyone out there had experience with drawing/board layout/routing software (that's affordable to anyone other than Donald Trump)?


    I personally use Protel and have used it for years. But, it is expensive.

    I regularly see ads for the following EDA tools in Circuit Cellar magazine:

    Eagle (Freeware for smaller boards)
    Proteus ($199-$499)
    PCB 123
    Best regards,

    If you're not out on the edge, you're taking up too much room!
    Interested in 3D maps? Check out my company site: Solid Terrain Modeling


      Many thanks!

      I've checked them out a little bit:

      The proteus software is 595 British pounds for a version with a rip up router
      123 is free, but you pay them to make the boards..


        In addition to Mark's links, there is

        Beware of some of the free packages. They produce proprietary format files that can only be used by the board manufacturer that supplied the software. It's a good deal if you are producing only a few boards, but you end up having to re-design the board with 'full-featured' software when you want to go into production.

        I know ExpressPCB falls into this category (not to be confused with PCBexpress, which is one of my favorite board houses for small quantities). I've used the ExpressPCB software, and found it poor. It had no design rule checking, and actually allowed you to route a trace over another trace (shorting them together). It's easy to waist money on useless boards if there is no design rule checking.

        Make sure that the package you get can produce Gerber files(preferably RS274-X), and you can send them to any board house.


          I use Eagle to layout my boards. Not the best app but the price is right (free for non-commercial use or $49 for the small version).

          I get my boards produced at They directly take the Eagle files so I don't have to do any other processing on the files.



            I have also used Eagle in the past and for simple single sided stuff I found it very good, but a little hard to get to grips with at the start. I never tried it with double-sided designs. Their website is . There is a freeware version which may fit your requirements.
            If you want to make your own boards then this is not that difficult if you have the right equipment. Let me know if you want more info on making your own boards.


              I used to make my own boards. I used a freeware version of Protel (they used to give away their early releases). Anyway, with Protel and another add-on (which I don't recall the name of) one could make decent double sided boards and output Gerber files. There is a Yahoo message board for Protel which might be helpful findig more details.


                I've used PCB123, very easy and the service is good.



                  EAGLE and Olimex

                  I too use EAGLE and Olimex. I have a Standard license that will do 4x6 boards, but used the free license in the beginning. If your boards are small, you can't beat the price.

                  I used to make boards myself but Olimex will make great double sided, plated thru 4x6 boards for $34, which includes shipping from Bulgaria. Their boards are very nice - MUCH nicer than I ever could make.

                  Good luck,




                    Thanks for all the responses... quite a few more than I thought I would get.

                    I'm still looking at Proteus; I have tried Eagle in the past, but didn't like it, but I can't remember why!

                    So far, Proteus seems rock solid, no crashes so far (something I got used to with Ivex). The only thing a bit daunting is the non-standard keys .. cut is NOT control-x, paste is NOT control-v, copy is NOT control-c. The edit commands are in a drop down menu.

                    Selecting parts is done with the RIGHT mouse button, and changing properties is done with the LEFT. If you right click twice, you delete the part.