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I am a noob so please excuse my lack of knowledge,

Is there a web site that can be fed with the circuit and it would route it and would give me the final bitmap of the PCB?

I'll be also glad if you guys point me out to some free software for such PCB routing.

I think there must be some kind of cheap alternative of those professional software tools that do the same but you just can't afford for small hobby activity.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It depends on what you call cheap. DipTrace starts around $100 and is a fairly good software. \$\endgroup\$ – fceconel Apr 18 '12 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fceconel I'm afraid in this case "cheap" is an euphemism of "free". \$\endgroup\$ – Nedko May 3 '12 at 11:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I suspected that, but worth a mention anyway. I tested many free and non-free softwares and to me all the others were unsatisfactory. Eagle is free for small circuits, but is a pain to use. There are also softwares from PCB fabs, like PCB123, that are free. The catch: it's lock-in, they don't export to other formats (for obvious reasons). And none of the open source options I found where mature enough to be of real use. \$\endgroup\$ – fceconel May 3 '12 at 18:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fceconel, I'm almost done with my very simple hobby project so I tried Eagle yesterday - and it turned out to be very unintuitive. And that's only the drawing of the schematics. Not routing yet. But (sigh) I guess this is just me. I'm still not quite aware with the basics of this matter. \$\endgroup\$ – Nedko May 8 '12 at 8:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're that close to finish the circuit, you can download the free trial for dipTrace (it's 30 days). Probably you'll be done before the trial expires. \$\endgroup\$ – fceconel May 8 '12 at 20:58
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Is there a web site that can be fed with the circuit and it would route it and would give me the final bitmap of the PCB?

Querying Google for "PCB Design Service" yields lots of offers, but obviously, you don't just feed them with the circuit but also with (probably a lot of) money. PCB design cannot be fully automated and will be done by humans.

I'll be also glad if you guys point me out to some free software for such PCB routing.

I can recommend KiCad. This software can also work together with online autorouters (which is what you might be looking for) such as http://www.freerouting.net/, but beware that this no "circuit in, PCB out" magic machine. Unless you have a really high number of signals, the effort usesd in correctly configuring the autorouter to produce an acceptable result is much higher than routing by hand. Also you still have to place the parts, which is sometimes the hardest part.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think OP is looking for an online autorouter, which doesn't exist AFAIK. I'm not sure the mention of saturnpcb is a good answer. There are lots of those services, it will depend on your location if they're useful, and Google as selection criterion? I don't know... \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Apr 12 '12 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @noah1989 for pointing mi to KiCad, I'll definitely try it out. \$\endgroup\$ – Nedko Apr 12 '12 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh, there indeed are (even free!) online autorouters, I added a link to one. \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Paul Noack Apr 12 '12 at 11:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ My experience with autorouters is that you can't use them as "circuit in, PCB out", as you call it. Good autorouting allows interactive autorouting, where the engineer works together with the autorouter. I don't know if this is even possible with on-line autorouters. \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo Apr 12 '12 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FedericoRusso I just looked at the examples of freerouting.net -- looks like it has evolved a lot since I last saw it. you can even move parts and it will push and shove accordingly! \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Paul Noack Apr 12 '12 at 11:40
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PCB layout is a very work-intensive discipline, and routing is only a part of it. You'll have to define the board outline, define design rules, and place the parts before an autorouter can get started. And even then you may want to route some critical nets by hand before the autorouter takes over. So if you want an online autorouter which will automagically design a PCB from your schematic just like that, I'm afraid that doesn't exist.
noah1989 mentions one design service, based on a Google query. Mentioning one is a bit pointless if you don't know where they're located and what they offer. Location can be an issue. You may want to discuss the design face-to-face with the layout engineer, and then it's more convenient to have her at 50km than at 5000km.

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    \$\begingroup\$ what about freerouting.net ? You could argue that it's not really an "online" autorouter since it doesn't do the calculations on a server (it seems to be a java application launched through the website running on the local machine). \$\endgroup\$ – Stefan Paul Noack Apr 12 '12 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @noah1989 - I haven't used it, so I can't comment on it. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Apr 12 '12 at 11:43
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Speaking of freeware, have a look at TopoR (you'll need to google it). It is a high-performance topological router.

You can download Lite version, which limitations are - up to 125 nets and 8 signal layers.

As many people said here before, with autorouters - you don't get a tool with a magic button that makes all work for you. The software I'm talking about does provide you with good or even excellent results of autorouting, however you will need to make certain changes manually.

Useful info: just now TopoR lacks schematic capture and library editing, so you will need to import your project from some other CAD. It accepts data from KiCad and DipTrace, already mentioned here.

As far as I know DipTrace has freeware version too, it's limitations are 300 pins and 2 layers.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Instead of asking us to google the product can you give us some screenshots and information about it here, you will get my upvote :) \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Aug 20 '12 at 13:01

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