CB FI 422

Circuit Break Podcast #422

Wizard Trust Falls for PCB Footprints

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Tour MacroFab's ITAR-Compliant Facility

March 19, 2024, Episode #422

Our hosts discuss Parker’s recent transition from Eagle to KiCad, facing challenges with library management and device layer integration. They discuss the new MacroFab Quote Wizard and our first entry to the MacroFab Food Device Design Derby Challenge! This leads to a discussion of comparing air fryers to convection ovens for fried food fun. The episode delves into adopting LibrePCB as an alternative EDA tool and the integration of Eagle into Fusion 360. Join us for an exploration of the evolving EDA tool landscape and practical design tips.

🚨Contest Announcement 🚨

Introducing a new Circuit Break contest! This contest is themed around building food-related electronic projects. We’re offering over $5,000 in cash prizes, themed trophies, and free prototyping from MacroFab. The deadline to submit is March 31st, 2024. Thanks to Mouser Electronics for sponsoring the contest prizes!

Discussion Highlights

  • MacroFab Quote Wizard Release: The new MacroFab Quote Wizard assists in early project planning and cost estimation even without complete data.
  • Dutch Fried Foods: We’ve received our first food contest submission! Victor Koppen from the Netherlands has submitted a pocket air fryer!
  • Convection Ovens vs. Air Fryers: The technical and culinary differences between convection ovens and air fryers.
  • Transitioning from Eagle to KiCad: Parker discussed the challenges and lessons learned transitioning from Eagle to KiCad for PCB design.
  • Creating Libraries in KiCad: Addressed the difficulties in mapping multiple pads to a single pin in KiCad's library system.
  • Integration of Eagle into Fusion 360: The implications of merging Eagle with Fusion 360 for design file sharing and collaboration.
  • Multiple Package Limitations in KiCad: Challenges discussed include dealing with multiple packages for a single symbol in KiCad, compared to Eagle.
  • Library Management in EDA Tools: Challenges associated with large libraries and symbol-footprint associations.
  • Adopting SQL Databases in KiCad: Debating the efficiency and practicality of using SQL databases for device layer management in KiCad.
  • Exploring LibrePCB as an Alternative EDA Tool: The episode evaluated LibrePCB's features and library management in comparison to KiCad.
  • Community Poll: We want to hear from you, our listeners, what is your view on designing your own parts? Head over to forum.macrofab.com for a poll on trusting footprints or designing your own library.

Relevant Links

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

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