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I recently completed an Advanced Diploma level course subject for PCB design that taught Autocad as the design software. Whilst I am aware of the power of Autocad my subsequent surveying of engineering firms has shown that none of them used Autocad and the majority 60% used Altium.

So my question is: Is anyone one involved in PCB engineering/design or repair in a professional capacity use Autocad? Thankyou.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A university course taught AutoCAD as a PCB design tool? Let us know where so we can try to kill it with fire. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Jun 22 '15 at 3:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ i've heard of people using all sorts of whacky 'solutions' for schematic & PCB design, including purely graphical tools that have absolutely no 'electrical features', as if there's some prize for leveraging a hammer to make ice cream. whether for commercial or hobbyist purposes, the 'sensible' choice is to use a tool that has as many 'electrical aware' features as possible, from simulation, through schematic, to PCB & bill-of-materials. that's why the world uses Cadence/Altium/Mentor/PADS/Eagle/KiCAD/GEDA/DesignSpark/etcetcetc. \$\endgroup\$ – Techydude Jun 22 '15 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. will take it that neither of you condone the use of Autocad. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Jun 22 '15 at 4:15
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PCB engineering/design: No.

I'm speaking from my industry experience consisting of:

  • Design engineering since 2002
  • Attending PCB West conference for the last 5 years. AutoCAD didn't present there, even though their office is fairly close to the location of the conference.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sweet! I'll probably be at PCB west this year too (first time) \$\endgroup\$ – efox29 Jun 22 '15 at 3:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow. thanks that us pretty good evidence as Autocad are hardly wallflowers when it comes to self promotion! \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Jun 22 '15 at 4:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenG AutoCAD is really on the way out. The bulk of the mechanical folks are switching to 3D packages such as Inventor (AutoDesk product), SolidWorks, Catia, IronCAD, etc. AutoCAD will remain strong in some areas, such as architectural drawings, but for the most part 3D is the way the world is going, especially with advanced simulation features. \$\endgroup\$ – Matt Young Jun 22 '15 at 4:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Matt I agree, AutoCAD is certainly not as popular as it once was...... \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Jun 23 '15 at 1:39
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Some 30+ years ago, I used AutoCAD with an add-on that made it into a PCB design tool, but at the time I don't think there were any other readily-available ECAD tools that would run on a PC.

These days, I don't think anyone in their right mind would use AutoCAD for PCB layout, as there are now many programs dedicated to electronic design and PCB layout that will work on PCs, MACs and Linux.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. That was my thinking too. When Autocad was the only game in town it made sense to use it but that's not been like it for quite a while. \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Jun 22 '15 at 4:23
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I have done it, many, many years ago, and far away.

It was better than using mylar and tape and sticky donuts, but not much else good to say about it. (Okay it took a while for some 'real' PCB packages to allow nice fonts for designators).

Anybody doing this in 2015 (or even 2005) may be certifiably insane.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You might be right there. Will ask the instructir for a sanity certificate :-) \$\endgroup\$ – BenG Jun 22 '15 at 4:24

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