I heard that verifying community footprint contributions so that they can be merged is a lot of work. I’m in the lucky position that I can hire an external service to create the schematic symbols, footprints, and 3D models for me.
Are you aware of any external companies that you would consider “known-good” in the sense that if they produce and vouch for a footprint, it can be merged into the KiCAD libraries with a minimum amount of effort?
Or else, has anyone considered offering a KiCAD-friendly paid service where someone like me could pay to get footprints added to the KiCAD library?
KiCad is an Open Source project, which means anyone can contribute.
KiCad is also a pretty big and successful project, so before anyone is allowed to contribute you have to gain some trust. More about that in:
If you have a company and are busy, maybe you can arrange something with an intern who can spend some time on this.
I would love to do this myself, but unfortunately I’m struggling a bit with concentration problems and focusing on things that take more then 10minutes.
The problem right now isn’t creating footprints/symbols. It’s the acceptance/verification/merging part.
You can hire someone to make all the symbols they want but they will not have the permission to merge it willy-nilly. Unfortunately we have a team of overworked librarians and “vouching” isn’t really enough to satisfy concerns.
I think the idea of having contracting companies that have a good relationship with the librarians and are known to create good footprints/symbols for KiCad is a great idea. I think the next steps would be to get the librarians involved in the conversation, see what they think and what a good working relationship would mean to them, and then see if any company is interested in this kind of arrangement.
No matter who provides assets for a library will need to go through the full verification process. This includes us librarians! We never ever merge our own work, there always must be a second librarian involved who checks it. (And it is really rare to have something that can be merged right away unless it is generated with one of the trusted scripts we have. It seems there is always something that is overlooked by the contributor, no matter how experienced they are)
However, anyone can increase the speed at which something is accepted. One important part is to provide all the necessary documentation for the verification process. This includes not only the documentation of the component (datasheet, dimensioned drawings, …) but also documentation about the created asset itself (at least a screenshot of the asset as it is in KiCad, for footprints ideally a dimensioned drawing, for symbols the pin list)
And very important, every contribution must follow the same set of rules. There will not be an exception just because somebody pays for it. If you need an asset different than the rules require, then you will need to do so in your own personal libraries.
And a potential complication right now is that EVERY contribution MUST be made with an up to date nightly build of KiCad. Which might not be acceptable by commercial users.
Thank you @Rene_Poschl for that link. I feel like that page should be linked to from inside the “New Library” popup inside the Symbol Editor, because until now I wasn’t aware of its existence and especially for newcomers creating their own symbols for the first time, it is always helpful to read about what experienced users have found to be useful or important.
One thing I find odd in that guide, though, is that it doesn’t specify rules for SMT component rotation. The rule that everyone in the Altium world seems to adhere to is that if you rotate the tape reel so that the holes are on the left and during pick&place operation the tape would advance upwards, then however the components are rotated on the reel there is footprint rotation 0. I imagine KiCAD also needs to standardize this, or else one would have to manually fix up rotations after exporting the pick&place files.
That’s also something that should be mentioned prominently in the KiCAD export GUI. The Altium libraries that I previously used were rotated in line with the pick&place rotation. So I could imagine people migrating to KiCAD will assume it’ll be that rotation system and then they’d have a rather unhappy experience the first time they fab a KiCAD board.