I’ll be honest. It was a little different using Kicad, but then I was expecting to have a different experience. Once I was a few hours into the project the tool simply disappeared and I could focus on building the PCB, which is a good thing and goes to show how well Kicad is designed. I don’t think there was anything I couldn’t do with Kicad that I could do with Altium.
These are some top observations / comments:
One thing I missed a lot was the show nets while moving component. I read a lot of posts that it was there and was removed, and is being improved as a feature, or I just didn’t know where to find it. Is there a way in Kicad 5.14 to see nets of a component I am moving? Hey, but on the flip side, it was interesting to do routing and placement without being able to see specific nets. Sometimes I would turn them all on to get the full picture, and then sometimes I would switch them off, and it looks so clean… I love the high contract view in Kicad.
Of course Kicad has separate tools for schematic and layout and you need to export nets, but I after a while, I actually like this approach. I wanted to place mounting holes in the PCB, and didn’t want to bother adding them in the schematic, so I liked the control and separation.
A great addition to Kicad would be the ability to move components in the 3D view. It is much more intuitive to move components for placement in 3D. But the 2D is fine too. I love the 3D view in Kicad by the way.
I love how easy it is to setup and route differential pairs and length tuning in Kicad. I had one USB route in this board and it was easy to do.
I like the Spacebar to set to zero in Kicad. Makes for a much cleaner and faster workflow for measurements.
And see that’s the beauty of it… I can’t really point to anything in Altium that I can’t do in Kicad. And Kicad is open source, has a wonderful community like you guys, and I can contribute to improve the product.
One thing I don’t like about Altium is their bug fixing policy. They only fix bugs in future releases, so you need to keep buying their licenses to get bugs fixed in your current version… this reason alone is enough for me to move to Kicad…