Searching for footprints....should it be this hard?


There are some pros whose lively hood depends on accuracy who won’t even use public library parts. It seems that libraries and auto-routers are more a hook for novice users like myself though I quickly got over the auto-router once I learned a bit more about Kicad’s capabilities. Most of my layouts are simple through hole designs so I just print out the board and physically check the footprints.

Most parts in the libraries are pretty vetted but truth isn’t something we can vote on. Hence, trust but verify. :wink:

My one caveat would be 3D modeling. It isn’t important to me but I wouldn’t even pretend to do those libraries.


if “This (issue/request) comes up all the time…” that just means that the current status is not good enough (or lot’s of users are not “educated” enough, or something in-between…).
i do not pretend to know THE solution, of course, neither i’m so naive to believe i can steer developers devoting for free their time/skills to an open source project, so i think:

  • the official repo will follow its own rules to be the 'final destination"
  • the miriad of “one piece” repo will still be put in place by “volunteer creators”
  • it would be useful to find a way to aggregate, index, score (and eventually improve) all these repos
  • so it would bring end users more choice (and generally speaking a way to experiment and move forward this database)

in the long term of course, the part manufacturer/distributor itself should (be interested to) provide the part description because it eases business…

already the Digikey effort (not going so far AFAICS…) is paramount of these difficulties!


Creating successful footprints isn’t entirely “science” - there’s still some “art” to it, as well as a bit of intuition and maybe even a touch of astrology.

I don’t think it’s all about quality. @Rene_Poschl and the library team have produced libraries which, to the best of their knowledge, are effective and acceptable in a particular situation. And they have extensively documented that situation. Even if somebody else offered a library with similar assurances and documentation, rating those libraries would be impractical since it would require keeping track of each rater’s application situation.

I am appreciative, and indebted to, those who have posted libraries of symbols and footprints. But in most (perhaps all) cases where I used those libraries, I used them as the basis for my own symbols and footprints. I’m skeptical that any popularity poll among users would have led me to select a better choice as the basis for my own work.



Three years ago I worked for a company that wanted the “ultimate” footprints.
We did a lot of research, bought expensive standards and reviewed everything built in the last decades. (phew!)

Every attempt failed when finally involving one of the pick-and-place fab houses. Even a simple 0805 could lead to a lot of discussions. And these discussions would start over again when a new pick-and-place machine was bought or staff changed.

Therefore it was actually surprising to find that the footprints of the past, with a lot of deviations, generally worked.

We ended up feeling that a footprint is like a spectrum. You easily have a decent one. It takes some effort to get one that is good for you. It is undo-able to get one that pleases everyone.
Undo-able meaning costing a disproportional amount of time and money.

I am with @Rene_Poschl on libraries. All I want is a high quality library as a starting point. From there I make my own footprints and put them in my private library.
I also must say: so far I am really impressed by the Kicad 5 libraries!

Beyond the starting point library I only want a decent footprint editor and library manager.
It seems however a library management tool is a bit like the last thing on the list. And I mean not just for Kicad.
For instance implementing a search tool really isn’t that difficult. So I think @EL84 has a point when he asks if it should be this hard.