Parker learns KiCad?

I have some projects coming up that I think I need to finally make the switch from Eagle to KiCad. Would anyone be interested in watching a stream (probably multiple) while I struggle to cope? What would be the preferred platform? Twitter/YouTube/Twitch?


If the time zones work out, or if you’re struggling for 24 hours, I’d be interested to pop on and watch / offer help.

1 Like

Just out of curiosity, what’s forcing the switch?

Nothing, but I have a break between PCB projects and one of the groups I work with uses KiCad.

I found this book helpful when learning the in and out of KiCAD

In terms of PCB design itself, it’s a bit basic. But it does a really good of showing how to make KiCAD dance. Obviously it has all the same information that can be found on the internet but personally I find searching a PDF for keywords to be faster and it’s nice having the various procedures articulated in a consistent way.

For me the time savings, and not having to use Google, is worth $30 but of course YMMV.

It’s my opinion that this will not be hard for you. You already know how to make a PCB fro using previous CAD tools, and that’s more than half the battle. What you will be learning is just how to drive KiCad and its UI.

One upside to using KiCad during a stream is that chat can help when you struggle. However, it can be a frustrating experience because it is terrible to explain anything that takes more than one sentence.

My experience with people switching from Eagle runs into a couple of soft learning curves. First, it is important to understand how the Schematic Symbols and PCB Footprints work. They’re not atomic by default, so you have to learn a workflow of “place the symbol, then pick the footprint.” (I have a custom library that I’ve made some common parts atomic to help here.)

Personally, in my workflow, I try to associate footprints as I draw the schematic. But some people prefer to wait until they’re done.

Another common issue is trying to do too much back annotation. While it is technically supported, it is not nearly as seamless in KiCad. It is far, far better to make changes in Scheamtic and then F8 them to PCB. Fortunately, you can have the windows side-by-side. (Which also enables “cross probing.”)

Before you get TOO far in a scheamtic, disable the N hotkey. It changes the grid spacing. Go into Preferences → Preferences → Hotkeys, filter on grid, and then unassociate “Select next grid” from the N key. You do not want to fix a schematic if you get the grid off of a 1.27 (or integer divider of that).

FWIW, on Thursdays at 6pm Central Time, I stream KiCad (scroll to the bottom for newer streams) for the Bit Preserve project. It’s mostly on the Schematic side, but I do occasionally do PCB stuff too. (On Twitch, I have streams where I did all the KiCad work on the Mega IIe project.)

This will be harder then you think it will be. Last couple times I have tried to make the switch I gave up cause the work flow is different. :slight_smile: