A printed circuit board (PCB) is invented to clear up some space inside electronic devices. This simple contraption eliminates the use of bulky wires and paved the way for the creation of smaller electronic gadgets and devices that is lightweight and less wiry. Printed circuit boards are created through a process called etching, where the wire plans are drawn on an insulated copper board. The etches represent the path of the electric current minus the wires. A good PCB requires a well planned and aligned electric current plan.
Making a printed circuit board is not as hard as it seems. Designing the layout is easier nowadays with the introduction of several free PCB design software on the web. All you need is your own computer and a fast internet connection to download your software for free. You read it right. These software below are readily available online for free. Let us go ahead and look at some of them.
The first on the list is BSch3V. This is a schematic program designed and works best on Windows Vista, XP and 7. BSch stands for Basic Schematic, and as the name implies this program supports basic functions only. This is best used by those just starting to learn the PCB mechanism. 3V mean third generation of Schematic capture. This means that this program supports vector images- curves, polygons, lines, points and shapes of all sorts and sizes.
A more advanced user may resort to using ZenitPCB. This is design software used in creating professional looking designs for PCBs. This is a flexible Computer aided Design program, that helps one see the result within a short span of time. This is ideally used by professional designers but hobbyist and students can easily learn how to use, manipulate and appreciate this program in no time.
Third on the list is ExpressPCB. This printed circuit board design software is easy to use even first time users can be masters in no time. Available for Windows XP, Vista and even Windows 7, this easy to download software also offers users the easiest means to buy all the necessary components for their designed PCB.
The fourth software you can add on your list of free printed circuit board design software is KiCAD. This is an EDA or Electronic Design Automation software suite used to create schematics and printed circuit boards that are professional looking. This software is designed to create as many as 16 layers per scheme. Unlike the first three that runs on Windows alone, Kicad can work on all operating systems: Windows, Linux and even Apple OS X. KiCAD is an open source software, which means any one can edit, update or alter the source code of this program, making this customizable depending on the need of the user.
The fifth software on the list is gEDA. This software runs on Linux, Macintosh and Apple Software. This started as a project and eventually became a combination of tools that can be used for schematic captures, simulations, as well as printed circuit board designs.
A software similar to gEDA is called Fritzing. This open source design software encourages designers, researchers, artists and even hobbyist to work together through interactive electronic projects. Fritzing does not only provide the design software but also lets users learn more about the circuit created, document the project they created and prepare the design for production.
Lastly a free design software users can download online is DesignSpark PCB. This software is so easy to use and access that is even considered as the most accessible electronic design software in the world. This software assists users from the planning to the executing of a PCB schematic plan.