KiCad is an Open Source, free, Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Suite for creation of professional schematics and printed circuit boards. KiCad supports Windows, Linux and Apple OS X and is released under GNU GPL v2. Using KiCad, you can create schematic diagrams and Printed Circuit boards up to 16 copper layers and up to technical layers. Kicad can create all the files necessary for building printed boards, Gerber files for photo-plotters, drilling files, component location files and a lot more.
KiCad was initially started by Jean-Pierre Charras in 2007, a researcher in the field of electrical engineering at GIPSA-LAB and a teacher in IUT de Saint Martin d’Hères in France. Since the day of its birth, it is being actively developed by three main developers and dozen of regular contributors.
Install KiCad On Ubuntu / Debian / Linux Mint
KiCad is available in the default repositories of Ubuntu/Debian and its derivatives. So you can install it with command:
sudo apt-get install kicad kicad-doc-en
For other distributions, download it from here.
Make it executable file and install using commands:
chmod a+x ./kicad-installer.sh ./kicad-installer.sh --install-or-update
Open it from Terminal using command:
The KiCad interface will look like this.
KiCad includes a project manager and four main independent software tools:
Eeschema – schematic editor.
Pcbnew – printed circuit board editor.
Gerbview – GERBER viewer.
Cvpcb – footprint selector for components association.
And also it has two utilities:
Bitmap2Component – component maker for logos (Creates a schematic component or a
footprint from a bitmap picture).
PcbCalculator – Used to calculate components for regulators, track width versus current, transmission lines.
That’s it for now. KiCad team has detailed Getting started guide and Reference manual here. Also there are many video tutorials found here. Go, get it, learn and create PCB’s and Schematic diagrams.