For an upcoming project, I wanted to publish a design using veroboard or stripboard. As the design is relatively simple but is to be published, the quality of the output is of more importance than the technique used.
I put the shout out on twitter which was picked up by a bunch of my followers who all suggested useful ideas. Thank everyone.
I’ve looked at a few of these via their online documentation and a couple of others I’ve looked at in more detail.
Brian Welsby provided a useful link to a range of different tools, some of which were also mentioned by the others.
David suggested Lochmaster which he has used for producing results before. Although he did comment that it is £40 for the license. The output from Lockmaster goes for photo-realism which means the components look like they would in real life.
Greycode suggested VeeCAD, this goes to the other extreme and has very simple outlines for the components and board. I does however take in a netlist which can be generated in a schematic program such as KiCad
Although not suggested on Twitter there are a few people who have used KiCad to draw up stripboard projects. They use tracks on the front side of the board to represent the wire.
I tried this out by creating a board with lots of vias (drilled holes). I first created one and the used the create array tool to duplicate that all over the board. I did find myself fighting the the design tool, it did not want me to join the pads together. Even when I swapped the router settings to “highlight” instead of avoid it still caused problems. I did find that deleting the pads that were overlapping the components helped. KiCad had the parts I needed by did not have any wire components. However, it should be possible to design a “wire” component in the same way I’ve made other 3D components for KiCad.
Heeed suggested Fritzing and Romily backed that up with confirmation that it worked well.
I have used Fritzing before to create breadboard diagrams and the strip board variation did look quite good. There’s a couple of issues with Fritzing. Firstly that the component I’m using the ATTiny44 doesn’t exist, although I could use some other generic 14pin DIL component. The second issue is that the copper tracks are on the same side as the components. Again this is perhaps not such a big deal as it is possible to hide the components and wires, screen shot and then mirror in a graphics tool.
Angus Dobbie suggested MSPaint. That’s a step to far for me but it did give me the idea of using Inkscape. This has one great advantage that generates vector graphics and hence would be great for the magazine.
You’ll need to see the final magazine version to see what I’ve ended up with. But hopefully you’ll see that it looks great.
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