M-SimonOperating an engineering shop on an extreme budget isn't easy. I have to watch my pennies. Let alone nickels. So here is what I use for schematic capture. TinyCAD. They don't have a lot of parts in their library but, making parts is easy. And the price is right. Plus they have a moderately active Yahoo news group where you can ask question.

For board layout I like Express PCB. Note that their software is tied to their production process. However, I have read that they will sell you films if you need them. There is another alternative if you don't need 2 or 4 layer boards. That is FAR Circuits. And they can use your Express PCB files. Their front page has the details, but you have to scroll down. I have used them before in the days when you either sent Gerbers or film. This is a nice addition. I usually order the boards I have them do without a solder mask. So they look pretty raw. I have used them for some aerospace lab work so if you need a few one sided boards without any frills they can do that. They can also do double sided if you can live without plated through holes. And their pricing is attractive. For hobby work (mostly single sided) I love them.


Some boards produced for me by FAR Circuits


I might mention that TinyCAD is supposed to work with ExpressPCB. I haven't tried it.

Lab note: The folks at Elenco were nice enough to send me some kits to evaluate. I will be evaluating them.


That is a wrap.