IMHO the copper editing GUI of expresspcb is superior to anything else I have tried, however it has the big drawback that it doesn’t integrate with anybody else. Superficially it would appear that DXF import might be a way to go since expcb will export that. Has anybody had much luck with doing that and how did you do it, please?
See https://gitlab.com/kicad/code/kicad/-/issues/2535. You should try DXF yourself, maybe someone can comment on the import side if you share the exported DXF files.
Thanks, I have read that the expcb .pcb format is just the encrypted Gerbers. I don’t happen to believe that myself. I think it is a bunch of drawing commands. I looked into the reference you provided about it and I had seen it before. I just don’t see a path there for me. I will take a look at the DXF import and see what that is like.
I will be curious about this one as I used ExpressPCB from about Y2K until now moving over to KiCad.
Are you discussing ExpressPCB Classic or the newer version (maybe the file format is the same. I tried the newer version briefly and found it to be buggy; did not give it a second chance although I think the software was revised after I had tried it.)
Major drawback to ExpressPCB classic was that it was limited to 4 layers maximum with only copper zones (no traces) on the inner layers. Not much netlist intelligence to those inner layers and nothing generally to tell you that you were missing connections somewhere. But the Classic version (though simple) was remarkably stable and reliable software with a small “footprint.”
I actually did significant work with Classic at a notable company in Palo Alto CA when I was part of a group that did custom solutions. Most of it was interfacing and so simple that I’d keep a paper schematic there and lay out the PCB while glancing at it. When that company was bought by a much bigger player I wound up being forced to do everything with some monster package and I had to have a layout guy whose only job was knowing how to do things in that package. So I never really had to learn PCB design like most people. I am committed to learning Kicad now that it is so usable but much of my consulting work today is in RF which is very heavily dependent on thoughtful copper editing. If you have a ton of money you can get a package that will layout a grounded co-planar transmission line as part of something comprehensive but I have to roll my own things like that. My go-to tool for that stuff will still be Classic.
I certainly got that impression of Cadence when I took a couple of classes maybe 15 years ago. Their manuals were huge. Within my employer at the time, it was not possible to request and use a new component the same day regardless of urgency. The component/footprint librarians were in the Philippines and the best anyone could do was the next day.