Which drafting CAD tools do you use in conjunction with KiCAD?

I apologize if this is too high-level of a topic for PCB Layout forum, but it kind of fits here in many regards.

As for me…

  • Draftsight by Dassault Systems ( for 2D work, like PCB outlines, front panels, etc. )

    • It’s free
    • I learned years ago on AutoCAD, and Draftsight uses same commands, my finger muscles don’t have to be retrained.
  • OpenSCAD for 3D (for somewhat pretty 3D views of my board, depending on the fidelity of the part models, the results can be simply an illustration or a precise likeness - each has its uses)

    • I started playing with it for reasons other than PCB, so I already knew it
    • It’s parametric drawing capabilities are very useful to describe electronic parts, so many parts are the same basic part with different pin counts, for example.
    • I found a github library where a fellow had already made a bunch of common electronic parts in OpenSCAD, and I just kept adding on to his beginning.
    • It’s free.
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Hi @thestumbler for 3D
please have a look @ FreeCAD and kicad StepUp for 3D modeling and exporting your board to STEP

and there are also some related 3D mechanical libraries


I think this is a fine topic, CAD is fun!

I use OpenSCAD for 3D models when doing 3D prints for testers and such.

And I use FreeCAD to model all my parts (usually they already exist, just need to use Maui’s StepUp scripts to align) and confirm mechanical verification. In the past, I’ve used our mechanical guy here at work to get .dxf board outlines into KiCad from SolidWorks if they’re more annoying to draw, but I’m sure you could do the same out of FreeCAD as well.

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Anything 3D or 2D I get done in Inventor (got access via university) and if couldn’t use that one I’d be using FreeCAD as it seems the only package out there (besides proprietary tools that have limited free offerings) that would come close to the abilities I’m used to.
Most important is parametric modelling. Any tool that doesn’t have this is just too slow to work with.

I’ve been trialing LibreCAD, (free) as that is simple and compact.
I believe it also has some DXF code common with KiCad.
LibreCAD has Modify commands for Trim & Offset, that help with simple PCB tooling.
A9CAD is now quite old, but that is also a good DXF checker…