PC board by hand, Is KiCad the right software?

Hello,

Does anyone use KiCad to make printed circuit boards by hand? Reason I ask is that I am looking for a way to print the bottom reflected view or “copper artwork” view.

I have read the documentation and tried to google “KiCad reflected artwork” but didn’t find anything useful. I also tried to print a simple circuit but the board dimensions was on one page, the traces on another page, and so on, which is not what I want.

Thank you,

Tombows

I think plot to PDF and use the mirror option.

The ‘old’ version of ExpressPCB (think it’s called ExpressPCB Classic now) is great for creating and printing 1:1 copper layers on plastic transparencies for photo etching - very simple, hard to go wrong.

I’m pretty new to KiCAD, but my experience so far is having no problem selectively printing layers at 1:1 scale, and there is a mirroring option, so what you’re trying to do is likely within the realm of possibilities.

Kicad certainly is a good choice for this.

as @bobc said you could use the plot function and export a pdf.

but I would rather use the “Print” dialogue for this. It’s just a question of choosing the right options for what you want.
For instance like this:

This prints the B.Cu (back copper) layer on one single page in black and white.
You can also choose to print it mirrored.

The reason I would use the Print function instead of the Plot–>pdf is that you can use drill mark here. This makes drilling hand made boards much easier. If you need a pdf you can still use the print to pdf functionality of your OS.

1 Like

Well, Plot has option to put drill marks in TH pads/vias.


I always Plot my artwork to .pdf as intermediate step for preparing for filming (yes, I make myself my simple prototypes using graphical film and positive photoresist) even for 2-sided boards without plated holes (have to switch brain in “turbo” mode to use THT component wires for changing layers).

Hello tombows,

I am using KiCad only for homemade PCBs including exposure, etching, drilling …
Mostly I stay with single sided Layouts and a combination of THT and SMD.
Though KiCad is not made for this it is perfectly suitable.

The needed steps and parameters have already been described by the other people here.
I print PDF to drawing paper using a laserprinter. No Problems so far.

I posted 2 pictures to show that KiCad is real fun at home:
https://forum.kicad.info/t/making-pcbs-at-cern-in-the-70s/23367/3

oh! thanks for pointing that out out that drillmarks are in the Plot dialogue too! …pretty sure I was searching for it before and didn’t find it for some reason :man_shrugging: