Notes on KiCAD

Notes on KiCAD

PCB design

  • If you want to have a complex board shape, the easiest way is to design it in a different program and import it to the PCB. DXF files are in absolute coordinates, so mind where you put the origin.
  • Footprints rotate around a reference point that is part of the footprint. It may be painful to do precise rotation if the reference point is not at the center. Keebio footprints for MX switches/sockets are better than the built-in ones in that regard.
  • If you want to modify a footprint (eg for renaming pads!), do it in the schematic editor to make the DRC happy. You’ll get a DRC warning if you modify a footprint from the PCB editor.
  • Footprints are included in the document, you don’t need to share libraries to share projects. See sharing projects.

Sharing projects

To share a kicad projects, you need:

  • PROJECT.kicad_pro, the project file itself.
  • PROJECT.kicad_sch, the schematic.
  • PROJECT.kicad_pcb, the PCB design.

If you have project-specific symbols/footprints, you can include:

  • fp-lib-table, the list of fingerprint libraries.
  • sym-lib-table, the list of symbol libraries.
  • Along with the libraries themselves.

You can delete or .gitignore:

# Kicad backups.  The actual name is PROJECT-backups

# Footprint cache

# Footprint and symbols libraries locations.
# You may want to keep this file if you bundle a project-specific
# library and you want to share it *as a library*. You don't need to
# share libraries just for the schematic and PCB: they include the
# actual symbols and footprints, not just references.

# Local config