I'm new to eagle but for a project I need to create a pcb with a complex arrangement of exposed copper contacts. The board is going to be used as a simple touch sensor made up of concentric and radial slices with each slice connecting to a separate pin (a sort of chopped up bulls-eye pattern). We're making the board on an LPKF pcb router which takes in a gerber file generated from a cam file it provides for eagle.

Whats the easiest way to "draw" these kinds of shapes into a copper layer? Thanks!


You can import vector designs from DXF file into Eagle with the help of this ULP script: http://todbot.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/eagle/import_dxf_polygons_v4.ulp

[no connection with the author of the script, found it this morning, worked fine for getting a simple design from Illustrator (exported as an R13 DXF) into Eagle]

  • \$\begingroup\$ thats a dead link now \$\endgroup\$ – Gabriel Staples Nov 13 '16 at 19:19

As you can see here, I was successful in creating a copper layer using some obscure shape as the source image. Pragmatically speaking, the design is simple, but it could easily be more complex.

enter image description here

Here is the original image:

enter image description here

I created the image arbitrarily in MS Paint, and saved it as a Monochrome BMP image. This is important, make sure it is Monochrome (ie two colors only).

Then I opened up my library in which I would like to create the part with the obscure contact point. Create a brand new "Package" and then run "import-bmp.ulp". It is a sort of macro that comes with EAGLE. To run it, simply type "run", and you'll be brought to the directory of ulp's. Find the import bmp one and follow the procedure.

Only select the black color when moving through the wizard.

While following the procedure, you'll be presented with an option to set which layer you want the image to be imported as. You can make it one of the copper layers here, or perhaps a silkscreen layer or whatever else.

From there, you could set a pad in the center of the image so that you can have a pad to wire to in your board layout. EAGLE will not recognize your image as a pad so that's why you add the additional pad in a clever place where it will not screw up your design, but so EAGLE knows what pin/pad whatever, that your schematic needs to connect to.

Best of luck.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there any chance this works with vector graphics? \$\endgroup\$ – pdel Feb 19 '14 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, I would totally upvote you but I don't have any rep on this stackexchange site... Maybe someday \$\endgroup\$ – pdel Feb 19 '14 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I appreciate the thought; EAGLE will only import BMP images using that ulp. As long as the final image to import is a Monochrome BMP; then the source does not matter (I just used MS paint for simplicity). You could just convert the vector graphic to BMP I suppose. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Williams Feb 20 '14 at 0:30

I believe the only One way to draw such shapes in Eagle is to use the wire, circle, arc, rectangle, and polygon tools.

Eagle Drawing Tools

Once you have drawn your desired shapes, modify the properties of the shapes to be on the appropriate layer. For a 2-layer board, they will be "Top" or "Bottom" layer. After, they should be the same color as the signal traces on that layer. Then use the name tool to change the name to the appropriate net for which you want the shape to be electrically connected.

Eagle Name Tool

When you first draw the shapes, they will not fill with the color of the layer and will have a dashed outline. Not until you hit the "Ratsnest" button will they become a solid color, better showing how they will appear on the finished product. Once the net is named correctly, any components located in the shape/plane will be automatically connected once the "Ratsnest" button is pressed as well.

Note that this is the same process as creating a ground fill if you need to search for more tips.

Edit: Per Olin's comment, to make my answer more clear, this is only one way to create complex copper shapes in Eagle. investingating the scripting capabilities of Eagle could alleviate reliance on the GUI icons.

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    \$\begingroup\$ No, that's not the only way. These tools are merely clickety-click icons layered on the real commands. You are absolutely not limited to using the tool icons. One of the great things about Eagle is how everything is a command that can be scripted. For something complex, I'd probably write a program that writes the appropriate commands to a script, then run that in Eagle. That also allows small modifications if you don't like the results, then just re-run everything. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Feb 18 '14 at 20:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ My apologies. I meant to acknowledge that my solution was only how I have done it in the past. I wasn't aware of the scripting functionality. \$\endgroup\$ – Justin Trzeciak Feb 18 '14 at 20:56

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