HowTo footprint with pads/pins not on grid?

In “pcbnew”, or in “footprint editor”, KiCad has 2.54 mm as the largest grid (with it’s smaller multiples - or is it correct to say smaller dividends?). Then there is also the 1 mm grid and its smaller ones.
But, I have a 3-pin switch, with an odd 16.3 mm apart distance of its furthermost pins.
What grid to use to exactly make the traces coincide with the switch pins? - (as I need to make my own new custom footprint for this switch)
Only a few tips needed, as to which special grid to use if an odd size comes up?

I think this would be better suited as a separate topic.
Also you don’t really need a grid anymore. The interactive router snaps automatically to the pad center. And there is the user grid which could also help.

1 Like

It snaps automatically to the center of the pad? - great,…!.. really?
Maybe it does so in pcb window mode,…

Bcoz, I had problems in schematic wiring, as the ERC check, would never stop showing errors. Then I found that my “self designed new component” was not matching any grid that I selected.

Maybe I did not properly try the “user grid” as you say. Or, maybe, the grid on which I designed my new component was different to what I was using in the schematic wiring,.I don’t remember.

However, Thanks a lot. as I see now,…there must be this kind of a solution here too…!!..- WoW…!

Why then ask about footprints in pcb new if you mean symbols in the schematic?
Currently in the schematic one should use a 100mil (or 50mil) grid for designing the symbols.

Also the symbol does not need to resemble the part. (So it does not matter that the pins of the component are 16.3 mm apart. You just make the symbol such that the symbol pins are on the grid.)


Bcoz, of confusion between schematic & pcb new. I thought the same trouble of mis-matched grid (in schematics), will also happen in pcb new. When I found my odd (16.3 mm) switch pins, then the ERC error problem that I had in schematic, came to my mind, & I thought the tracks won’t match in pcb new too, till you told me that it would still snap in pcb new.

Now, if ERC error remained in the schematic, then in pcb new, (if I remember correct), the tracks wont connect at all? Am I right?
I still have not tried to make a pcb design direct, (w/o drawing any schematic). I could do it in Eagle, but is is done in KiCad?

It can be done but i don’t think it is a good idea. If the pcb is simple enough that you could do it, the schematic is drawn quite fast.
Having a schematic helps a lot. Especially if you either want to share your work or if you want to understand it a few month down the road.

Just disable DRC in the options, then you’re on your own and can do whatever fancies your mind… with all the consequences. :smiling_imp:

For anything more complicated than something like a SMD-DIL adaptor, drawing a schematic first saves me time as it simply a more efficient and productive way of generating a netlist and getting the tracks you want

HaaHaa…Thanks. The “consequences”, are luckily turning towards the positive direction now:-
As, I often have to make a single gadget and install it in the field also. For this kind of a crude job, the short-cut way of fabricating a pcb board can be only be appreciated by the fancy methods involved:-

With the cheap availability of “white glossy toner transfer paper” in A4 size, & laser printers working in any close by market shop, I just have to take my “designed pcb board” on a pen drive (with the single “” file, inside it, pre-converted to pdf type) & get it printed on that toner paper.
Then within one hour, at home, I can have my pcb completed: (etched, drilled) ready for assembly. & I need only one single file from all the Gerber files: (a single “” file plotted from “pcb new” )

Yes Sir,
you all have made me aware now, that making a pcb board w/o a schematic, would (in time to come), result in terrible consequences, especially in the case when, one has to get the pcb’s made by an online board house. As then, w/o all the accurate Gerber files, a professional pcb cannot be made, bcoz, there will be no lasting quality work like solder masking etc.,

(even though, my short-cut type of pcb’s, have worked well in the field for the last 10-years, but that is another matter)

Yet, this short-cut method, is mainly for a hobbyist. But, It shows that KiCad is proving to be useful, even for those who want to “do it all at home”.

The great advantage is: No limit to the size of the pcb. Like in Eagle, when I had to use “two” AtMega8 micro-controllers in my design, I had to make two separate pcb’s in Eagle, yet it was cramped, so the relays had to be put into a 3rd. pcb…!
But now, I am beginning to hope that, in KiCad, it can be done neatly on a “single” pcb board,
…and with the great guidance already given by you veterans, I think I can do it.

You don’t need a schematic to create gerbers.

It does not matter if you are a hobbyist or a professional designer. The only question is how complex is your design? If it only has a few parts it might be doable without a schematic.
Why would i personally invest the time into creating the schematic?
It makes creating the pcb layout easier and it ensures that the software can help you avoid errors.

1 Like

If it is truly that simple, I would be tempted to do the project on a piece of “vectorboard”. Even then, I’d draw a schematic - maybe on a piece of notepaper, rather than a schematic capture program - for future reference.


1 Like

It helps simplify the mental math. It’s essentially the same reason for why we’d like to set the co-ordinate origin at a particular location.


1 Like

So it’s all about money. On the “Light Eagle” (free version), that is the maximum size I could do (you can see, just one AtMega8 chip based circuit, & it fills all the space there allowed by Eagle.
(This is just after “etching” the pcb in FeCl3 solution, & you can see the “black toner ink” is still sticking on to the remaining copper tracks).

(How much to pay cadsoft to allow me 3-times more space? )

Thanks, great teachings…! It’s foolishness not to invest a little time first in the schematic,

@Andy_P - “…First off: I always route with the grid on the finest possible setting…”

  • That’s awesome basic tips to remember.
    Now, I understand why I often ran into “un-removal” ERC errors in schematic…with my new self-created component. I was stupidly doing the “opposite” :- ignoring grids in schematics, & paying main attention to grid in pcb new, not knowing that grid is not needed to “snap” the tracks to the pad…!

Actually Sir,
paying any “business” company, to buy utilities, just to be able to draft my own pcb’s, has never been my habit or activity, from the beginning, & since the early 1980’s, I only remember buying locally, some cheap manual drafting aids (sticker, tape, & IC pads etc.) & sticking them on transparent PVC sheets to photographically make a negative, & then expose it on (5-star sheet) in sunlight, to make my “cloth silk screen” - (Gerber file based “silk layer” etc., was un-heard off in those good old days)…!

But, since 2010, I have been using “free Eagle” which has replaced those manual “stickers” to make my negatives.

I was lured to KiCad, bcoz it offers, “free software”, and also “free size”

The day a “price tag” is put, I would rather go back to my old ways, than to pay unreasonable amounts such as given below:-

Rs. 27,000/- , (or $ 500) - that is about the least price that Eagle wants for bigger sized board software.

(above, as advised by you, I searched and found on the internet,!

It would be called a charity then anyway :wink:

I think, Eagle, by offering me it’s free light version, did have business, rather than charity in mind.
A hobbyist may not pay initially, but once comfortable with it, he can advertise. But if the free version is stopped, many like me, are likely to look for other “free” alternatives first, as the “non-paying” habit was developed first by the free Eagle offer. & if one went professional, that one could afford to pay Eagle. Exploring KiCad, is seeking an alternative to the size limit. Does KiCad have any conditions in time to come?

As the source code is published, any attempt to create a size barrier could be immediately and legally bypassed by a fork.

1 Like

Kicad is open source (under general public license version 3+)
As far as i understand it, this means someone could possibly sell it but they can’t say nobody is allowed to give it away for free.
(You can sell it as long as there is a way for the costumer to get the full source code. Because kicad is under gpl if someone includes kicad into their own project, this project is also required to be under gpl.)

More details:

In theory the license holders can change the license of kicad. But this scenario is highly unlikely and it does not effect the past. (See the problems with open office and why the free version is now called libre office.)

1 Like