Post-v6 new features and development news

Thanks to @qu1ck, PCM packages now support automatic updates (opt-in)

image

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Custom fields in library symbols are now shown in the Symbol Chooser and can be searched.

custom_fields

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KiCad now supports database libraries, which use an external SQL database to store information about components. There is some preliminary documentation for those who are interested in testing it.

If you aren’t sure you need a database library, you probably don’t! (at least, not right now). This is an advanced feature intended for specific use cases at the moment. The primary audience for this feature is companies and organizations who already use a database for part management and wish to integrate their existing database with KiCad. We are also interested to see what other types of users do with this feature, and may explore having more features built in to KiCad regarding data management in the future. In the near term though, part data management will be done through external tools.

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Unroute Selected. Works on the stuff you want to unroute (tracks, footprints, pads, etc.)

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Attempt Finish Routing. Tries to automatically complete routing to the nearest ratsnest end. If it doesn’t succeed, will stop at the failure point to continue routing manually.

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Attempt to Finish Selection (fake Autoroute): Will iteratively attempt to automatically route all selected routable items to their nearest ratsnest end. Will stop at any failure point for manual finish, then continue auto routing as much as possible.

Edit: Here’s a slightly more complicated example showing a filter + amplifier layout automatically routing:

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Plot to PDF now generates the Bookmarks/Table of contents/Outline

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Select and reorder columns in the Symbol Chooser

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  • 3D Model Paths can now be resolved relative to a footprint in case you want to distribute 3d models with the footprint in one bundle easily. (Note: kicad2step does not yet support this)
  • The old 3d path aliases were removed, they are migrated automatically to environment variables if they are uniquely named. The old and not documented alias syntax still works in 3d model paths.
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Since 3a76d426, if you select multiple footprints and/or pads in PCB editor, the corresponding symbols and/or pins will be selected in schematic editor. The last selected item is highlighted.

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Now you can quickly separate footprints by functional blocks by selecting them on schematic, then using the new “Pack and Move Footprints” action in the PCB editor.
The footprints are grouped by size and sorted by reference, then packed in a square.

The initial footprint spread algorithm after updating PCB from schematic was also improved. The placement is more compact, and symbols that are close to each other on the schematic are more likely to have their footprints close on the PCB.

Click to expand screenshots (before/after)

“dvk-mx8m-bsb” board:

image

A column of resistors:

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A block of decoupling/stitching capacitors:

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kicad2step has been eliminated in favor of a new kicad-cli due to refactoring work in progress

kicad-cli pcb export step takes the same arguments as kicad2step

Psst, there’s a kicad-cli pcb export svg

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Disjoint outline courtyards are now supported, as well as disjoint outline boards.

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kicad-cli pcb export gerber
kicad-cli pcb export drill
kicad-cli pcb export pdf

Some tweaking to still happen

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You can now use cli to export schematics to pdf and svg.

kicad-cli sch export pdf
kicad-cli sch export svg

Very much beta for now.

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Continuing the trend of exposing all these useful cli tools for potential automation workflows

Schematic netlist export
kicad-cli sch export netlist

Footprint position file export
kicad-cli pcb export pos

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bom_csv_grouped_extra BOM generator script allows you to create a generic CSV BOM, with basic and extra fields specified via command line.

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  1. kicad-cli sch export bom to get the xml format bom file that the “Bill of Material dialog” normally generates

  2. STEP export refactored, relative footprint paths should now work for models just as the viewer’s new functionality

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Unit names can now be customized:
Screenshot_20220908_234534

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In the 3d model selection dialog for footprints, the thickness of the PCB preview is now derived from the board stackup. In the footprint editor, because there is no board stackup, it is editable so that parts that are meant for non-1.6mm PCBs have a meaningful preview.

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