When designing PCB's, I find myself very often having to make footprints for a significant portion of the components on my board. This tends to be very time-consuming, as (in Altium at least), dimensioning out land patterns for strange connectors or chips (those that can't be created from a wizard) isn't very easy. It seems like anyone that uses these chips or connectors would need a footprint, so I can't understand why these aren't more commonly provided. For example, right now I'm trying to put a USB 3.0 Micro-B connector on a board, but the top 5 connectors on kynix don't seem to provide footprints. I have access to the Altium Live design content, but even that seems often pretty out-of-date. I feel like there's something obvious that I'm missing - or else this system seems very inefficient (which usually isn't the case). Can someone enlighten me? Maybe my skills are lacking, but without Solidworks-style dimensioning tools (or anything better than just a grid), drawing out a footprint for a part like this would take me at least 15 minutes -which seems not-trivially time expensive and pointless for everyone who uses the part to have to do over and over. for example, provides footprints in the Ultra Librarian format, which has a free version that allows conversions to most design packages. And I guess I do need more practice, but it still seems like you're more liable to make a mistake doing it quickly than using something the manufacturer designed and double and triple-checked. Just out of curiosity, is it possible/easier to design a footprint in Solidworks and import? Certainly with tools like Solidworks' drawing tools, doing these by hand would be trivial - it just feels very painful without.
Added 1 year, 5 months ago.
Hello Bartowski............I've made footprints using Altium for years and while it's a little tedious I can usually make them within 5 - 10 minutes and that includes the assembly layer. Just remember to use a similar part and modify it instead of starting from scratch. If anything is time consuming it's making 3D parts in Solidworks, saving it as an AP214 STP file, and then embedding it into the Altium footprint. However, once it's done, I have it forever. BTW, my naming convention for the footprint and the 3D part is whatever name the vendor calls it. That way there's no mistaking who goes with whom. A generic footprint called SOT95P280X145-5N is called something like DBV_(R-PDSO-G5) if it's a TI part, or RJ-5 if it's an ADI part. Therefore, I have multiple footprints in my library with all those names along with the Solidworks 3D models. Roger Castro
Answered 1 year, 4 months ago.
As the creators of SnapEDA, we have some views on why this is the case. First of all, for EDA vendors, creating content is not their core competency. They are instead focused on new product features. At the same time, chip companies are focused on what they do best -- making chips. Even though they know they should be supporting their customers with content such as footprints, it's difficult because there are so many formats, and so many varied standards among engineers. Furthermore, content is an error-prone process.
Of course, you accurately are pointing out that this is a major problem in the industry, and hence why we created SnapEDA. =)
Thanks for your question,
The SnapEDA Team
Answered 1 year, 5 months ago.