Open Source your Circuit Design with KiCAD

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B301


I learned to design circuits in Eagle because at the time there were no good, free, open source alternatives but I would argue that's changed. Let's talk about why KiCAD might be the CAD program you're looking for and do a whirlwind tour of the current state of KiCAD tools and community.


There are a lot of free, open source mechanical and electrical CAD tools that are announced to fanfare and then fade away. It’s tough to keep up so I’m going to talk about the state of the KiCAD ecosystem, demo Peter Jansen’s DIY Tricorder project which I’m converting from Eagle, point you at tutorials and footprint libraries, and argue that KiCAD has turned the corner of respectability.

Why should you switch as a PCB designer? KiCAD is free, open source, capable, supported by (among many others) CERN, worth the time investment to learn, and will let you do those four- and six-layer boards for free that Eagle won’t.

Why should you care as a programmer? Open source hardware depends on the availability of free or low-cost circuit and board design tools; these tools depend on software developers to write plugins and fix bugs. Come check out the cool boards we hardware folks are making with KiCAD and get some pointers to find the work of coders who are currently contributing.


kicad, open source hardware, open hardware, pcb design, tools

Speaking experience

I gave two talks at OSBridge last year but otherwise my speaking experience has been workshops for high school kids as part of FIRST Robotics.


  • Jenner Hanni

    Astronics Max-Viz


    Jenner Hanni is an electrical engineer and open hardware hacker living near Portland, Oregon. He designed the hardware and software for blended infrared and visible aircraft cameras with Astronics Max-Viz, and now he helps people get their purple printed circuit boards at OSHPark.