Community request for feedback: new tool to customize schematic symbols in online generator


Hi Kicad community! Based on popular demand that we got at Kicon, we released the ability to expand your symbol pins! Would love to know what you think!


@ChrisGammell, this needs your decision as it may or may not be spam


Personally I’d give vendors that are open about who they are a break because I think the community needs them and it would be good to develop relations. One guitar making forum I used to frequent showed me the benefits of the approach. When choosing wood for a guitar top you won’t be able to look at before buying it’s nice to have someone that has proven they are a reliable source and willing to work with you and their reputations on the site mean something to them.

Obviously not as clear cut here but the link went to a tool, not a sales pitch.

One board house used to offer freebies for a good reference on websites. When I see some of the enthusiastic user support for some places here it makes me wonder if they still do it. But, do we let those slide because we don’t know if they are ‘compensated’ posts?


That’s exactly why I am not deleting it as spam and asking Chris to make the final call


I agree that this is different than most spam we see. This is serving the community and is a new tool. I changed the title and category and removed the notation of the link. SnapEDA is asking for feedback, so let’s make this a post about feedback on their new tool.


Too much ‘fellow-shipping’ going on with their site! :-1:

If I need part definitions (symbol, footprint, 3D) for Kicad I just create them based on their respective manufacturers specifications. Simple as that. No unesseary third party account lock-in’s required.


What is that “lock-in” there? If you want to write here in this forum you are “locked in” because you have to login? SnapEDA offers free and actually even Free parts (their licence is similar to KiCad’s library licence!). You are not locked in anywhere.

The feature itself is good, I have needed it and now turned it on for the future.

The quality of their footprints haven’t been perfect, they always need editing. But sometimes it’s a good start. Everyone just has to estimate their quality requirements, time, licence issues etc.before downloading from there. Sometimes it may be worth it, sometimes not.


Sites like that might be helpful for start-outs, though you mentioned yourself non-perfect footprints. If they are not quite right no point to edit since it is rather simple and straight forward to define a footprint in Kicad.

Some bird is ok however Kicad has more to offer. As soon as I discoverred the O-command in Pcbnew I was ‘sold’ in a flash on Kicad. :sunglasses:

I’ve been using various systems over the years. Calay, orcad, schema, protel, eagle then some for tests. Kicad, even though it has some way to go, just simply, and impressively stands out. :+1:

Anyway, perhaps I should have written ‘locked-in’ in quotes. It’s just another account through which there will be coming uninvited advertising. Probably not from SnapEDA themselves. Some leaky ends will suffice.

Over the last some twenty years it has been noticable that garbage always finds its way. Strange as it is. Even by way of ‘clean’ service providers. It always happens after some time delay spam just shows up.

Hard to tell where and how those newly gatherred e-mail addresses go astray.


If you use twitter or linkedin you can sign in with them. I don’t use them, I would prefer google account sign in. But I haven’t noticed any spam leaking through having used gmail address there - although gmail is good at invisible filtering.


The problem with making footprints (or anything) yourself is that you seldom have a second person looking over them. This is the benefit of anything shared on the net as it is scrutinized (ideally) by others. (The question about how to give feedback and if it is implemented is another story.)


Since we allowed the spam from Aisler, we’ve opened the door to this kind of spam. Pretty soon spammers will figure out what wording is acceptable, and then be free to post links to their websites.

As for SnapEDA, I expect their service will be “free” for a while until they reach a point where they start monetizing with paid subs etc, similar to Octopart. I’ve found SnapEDA mainly have the popular parts, and often those aren’t good quality.

For example,

I’d expect to at least see power pins at top/bottom, and XTAL2 next to XTAL1.

Edit: they don’t even follow their own standard, If I was paying, I would expect a lot better quality, and their Premium service is $999/year.


Looking at that symbol I pass gladly!


You foresee exactly the problem that has occurred with user contributed parts and layouts with Eagle…

…people voluntarily contribute to what they think is an intellectual commons using a free tool, and lock up their designs in a proprietary cloud, then find it fenced off a few years later by a SaaS model +/- intervening corporate acquisition.


We all know that pitfall and I don’t see many regulars here really caring about this. Just remember we see lots of folks that have entered this as a hobby through things like Arduino, audio amps, robotics, etc. They are learning EVERYTHING at once and it can be daunting. Not having to learn a few things at the start is helpful.

I can foresee a time when companies see Kicad filling the same space as Linux serves for companies like IBM and Intel. If SnapEDA started using Kicad under the hood then they could start contributing back. That’s why I think a knee jerk reaction to companies posting isn’t the way to go.

Are we going to start deleting @stambaughw posts? I think what we need is a strategy to get corporate entities involved in a way that gives back to the community.


An api for http, ftp or similar access to their symbol and/or footprint repository that allowed it to be perused and used from within standalone FOSS software would be really cool.


Thank you for mentioning our license. We created the concept of the Design Exception back in 2015 for a launch we did at CES. We wanted to make sure we could support the open source community with Creative Commons, while also making sure that professional engineers weren’t prohibited in any way from using it. The Design Exception was created by our team for that launch, has the benefit that once the library is integrated into your designs, that it becomes your own IP. The CERN lawyers actually reached out to us before launching their own similar license, and we’ve seen other library providers also adopt this, which has been great to see!


You seem to be implying that we’d share/sell email addresses? This is simply factually untrue, so let me clear it up.

First of all, we never share user data and never will. For us, it’s important because so many companies use our website and trust us and we want to maintain that trust, and as engineers ourselves, we respect designers’ privacy. This goes against the grain of nearly every single other library provider out there whose business is to sell leads. We’ve told component vendors that we won’t do it and we’d never do it, and we’ve stuck to our guns.


Hi Bob, I’m the founder and I’m telling you right now that our parts will always be free. The only thing we charge for is 24h requests, which we then make freely available to the community.

As for the part, I agree it doesn’t follow our latest standards. It is quite old - from 2014 - when we were just getting started, and we’re slowly updating all these older ones to make sure the pin configuration matches our latest standards.

Our standards have drastically improved since 2014 (when we were just starting out), and we’ve improved the quality of our parts greatly thanks to the feedback of the community. At the top right hand corner, you’ll see the date of upload. Here’s a more recent part that you could check. If you want an IC, you could check this one.

We follow our standards and we’re obsessive about them. For every part we make, we have two engineers verifying detailed checklists to ensure they conform to our standards. And we make ALL these parts available for free. The $999 per year is just for 24h requests (when we don’t have the model available yet) - and by the way, once we upload those models, we make them available free for the community.

FYI - if you hover at the top right of the page, you’ll see whether the part follows our latest standards. Anything after about 2016 follows our latest standards.

Hope that clears up the pricing and adherence to standards, and I appreciate you flagging this symbol as one we can improve!


Great idea! Actually a KiCad user used the API to make this KiCad plugin , maybe it’s useful? I am not sure if it’s actively being maintained, but it might be worth checking out.


You can only make that promise if you are actually immortal. With respect, I don’t think you are :wink:

You also charge for downloading 3d models. Surely you knew that?

However, this spam post has turned into exactly what I thought it would, a sales pitch for SnapEDA.