KiCad

KiCad is a free, open source schematic and layout CAD program that works on Linux, Windows, and Macs alike. There are no commercial restrictions so we recommend checking it out.

It’s important to know that KiCad differs from Eagle in some fundamental ways. You’ll have to generate gerbers, among other things, so please don’t hesitate to email us at support@oshpark.com if you have any trouble.

Design Rules

KiCad requires that you manually set the design rules in PCBNew when you start a new board layout. We also provide a template that you can use when starting a new project.

Generating Gerbers and Drills Files

We accept .kicad_pcb board layout files directly. For most users, this is the best way to order boards designed with KiCad. We currently generate gerbers using the latest stable release, KiCad 4.0.2.

We also support uploading gerbers generated with Kicad. For additional details, see our guide on generating and submitting gerbers. We detect KiCad’s output filenames automatically, so it’s not necessary to rename them.

Board Outline

We look for the board outline on a layer by itself, so you’ll want to draw on the Edge Cuts layer to tell the fab where to cut the board. You can also indicate cutouts and slots as well as mounting holes on this layer. Our system will calculate the cost for the smallest rectangle that encompasses everything on that gerber layer, so don’t include measurement lines or text.

Looking at the Gerbers: KiCad’s GerbView vs gEDA’s GerbV

Not all gerber programs work exactly the same. KiCad includes GerbView but we actually recommend downloading a copy of gEDA’s GerbV utility, which is also open source and free, since our system matches what you see there. It’s a good idea to check your gerbers before submitting a design!

Make sure to run ‘Fill Zones’

KiCad doesn’t automatically redraw the fill zones for certain changes, which can leave them out of sync with your other signals. This can result in the gerbers not matching the design, and ruining your circuit board.

To redraw these, simply use the hotkey b. Kicad will also refresh the fill zones when you run a DRC Check (under Tools > DRC).

When uploading .kicad_pcb files, we’ll handle this step for you.

Disable blind/buried vias for 4 layer boards

When producing 4 layer PCBs with KiCad, it’s important to disable blind and buried vias, as our fabrication process does not support them. This can be done by going to Design Rules -> Design Rules -> Global Design Rules tab, then selecting Do not allow blind/buried vias and Do not allow micro vias.