KiCad

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If you create your circuit board layout with KiCad, please observe the following tips.

We are happy to take care of generating the production data (Gerber export) for you. You just have to send us your .kicad_pcb file along with your order. All further steps are taken care of by our CAM engineers.

If the uncomplicated Gerber (and drill file) export in KiCad is carried out by yourself, you can check your finished production data directly in the integrated Gerber viewer. This helps avoiding queries.

We naturally import your ODB++, Gerber-, KiCad-, Target-, Eagle-, IPC-2581- and Sprint layout data free of charge!

General information

The KiCad program is a complete project manager with a number of integrated modules, such as circuit diagram generation (Eeschema), circuit board layout (Pcbnew) or a Gerber Viever (GerbView).

KiCad is open source, and thus available free of charge.

Design Rules

The design rules can be found directly in the main menu of Pcbnew. There are two tabs:

  • Net Classes Editor: Conductor spacing and width as well as Vias
  • Global Design Rules: Minimum values for conductors, pad and drill diameters

Multi-CB parameters

For an optimal result, please define the free-of-charge high-tech parameters of Multi-CB:

  • Track-width / space: 0,125mm (125µm) - free-of-charge ✓
  • Annular ring: 0,125mm (125mm) - free-of-charge ✓
  • Drills: 0.2mm (200µm) - free-of-charge ✓
  • Via-Pad: 0,45mm (450µm) - free-of-charge ✓

This guarantees the best technology at the best price. The minimum possible values can be found here: Circuit board design parameters.

Net Classes Editor (mm)

 ClearanceTrack WidthVia ØVia Drill-ØuVia ØuVia Drill-Ø
 Multi-CB
2&4 layers
Clearance0,125Track Width0,125Via Ø0,45Via Drill-Ø0,2uVia Ø0,3uVia Drill-Ø0,1
 Multi-CB
≥6 layers
Clearance0,100Track Width0,100Via Ø0,4Via Drill-Ø0,2uVia Ø0,3uVia Drill-Ø0,1
Net Classes Editor

Globale Design Rules (mm)

 Multi-CB 2&4 layersMulti-CB ≥6 layersMin. possible
 Min. track widthMulti-CB 2&4 layers0,125Multi-CB ≥6 layers0,100Min. possible0,075
 Min. Via diameterMulti-CB 2&4 layers0,45Multi-CB ≥6 layers0,4Min. possible0,3
 Min. Via drill diameterMulti-CB 2&4 layers0,2Multi-CB ≥6 layers0,2Min. possible0,1
 Min. uVia diameterMulti-CB 2&4 layers0,3Multi-CB ≥6 layers0,3Min. possible0,225
 Min. uVia drill diameterMulti-CB 2&4 layers0,1Multi-CB ≥6 layers0,1Min. possible0,075
KiCad Design Rules

Additional required track-widths, clearances and Vias can also be defined in the Design Rules (see KiCad manual, page 22 / PDF page 27)

Gerber export

You can start the Gerber Export under File / Plot. In the Plotting dialog, you define the layers to be exported. Please activate the function "Subtract soldermask from silkscreen" to avoid silkscreen on the pads. You can usually use default settings for all other options.

KiCad plot Gerber export

Drill Files Generation

After the Gerber export, you start the drill file export from the same window (Generate Drill File). You can usually use default settings for all other options.

See also KiCad manual, p. 30 - PDF page 35.

KiCad Drill Files Generation

Standard layers

By default, KiCad uses Protel's tried and tested filename extensions for Gerber export. Please use the default setting.

LayerKiCad layer nameStandard Protel extension
LayerTop layerKiCad layer nameF.CuStandard Protel extension.GTL
LayerBottom layerKiCad layer nameB.CuStandard Protel extension.GBL
LayerTop Marking Print (Overlay)KiCad layer nameF.SilkSStandard Protel extension.GTO
LayerTop Solder-stopKiCad layer nameF.MaskStandard Protel extension.GTS
LayerBottom Solder-StopKiCad layer nameB.MaskStandard Protel extension.GBS
LayerContourKiCad layer nameEdge.CutsStandard Protel extension.GM1

Gerber Data check

To view the generated Gerber files, click the GerbView icon in the KiCad Project Manager. Then import your Gerber and drill files:

  • Import Gerber: Select File / Load Gerber File and select all exported Gerber layers
  • Import drill file: Select File / Load EXCELLON drill file and select all exported drilling data

You can now check your complete production data. Pack all into a zip file which you can with your PCB order.

Getting Started

The following resources are recommended for access to KiCad:

KiCad Getting Started

Kicad Homepage

KiCad course by Contectual Electronics