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Computer Aided Design – CAD Software

There are several low cost and in one case free Computer Aided Design (CAD) software programs or suites available for home and hobbiest users as well as small business. There are also a stable of CAD tools for more serious business use that aren’t too terribly more expensive if your a business, but for a home user can be the equivalent of a used car or remodeled kitchen.

Computer Aided Design – CAD Software

KiCAD at

  • True Open Source – Free
  • Built in Tool Collections for engineering calculations
  • Does not appear to have a built in Autorouter.  Linking out to third party routers is shown here as an example.

    transmission line kicad
KiCAD CAD Software

KiCAD CAD Software

Proteus ISIS/ARES at Proteus Page

  • Low entry price for near full-fledged version, $248USD
  • No limit to PCB size, limited to 500 pins
  • Live update between Schematic Capture and PCB Layout
  • Powerful autorouter.  Properly set up the autorouter can obtain 100% routed board of moderate complexity without tedious hand routing.
ISIS - Proteus Schematic Capture

ISIS – Proteus Schematic Capture

Proteus ISIS PCB Design Example

Proteus ISIS PCB Design Example


  • Extremely Popular with DIY and Hobbiests
  • Large collection of user contributed symbols and libraries
  • Special non-commercial only price of $169USD
  • Autorouter not that useful, most users hand route
  • Many PCB manufacturers take Eagle files directly.
  • GUI can be clunky, sometimes CLI needed, have to drag a route off-screen to access menu
Eagle Cad PCB Design

Eagle Cad PCB Design