Open Source Software for Electronics Design

  • KiCAD​KiCAD is a circuit design tool developed by the CERN group. It has gained a lot of traction as a competitive software set - It's compatible with a multitude of operating systems, and is widely used by the open source community. The software is capable of laying out schematics, turning them into boards and exporting them to manufacturing files. Custom libraries can be imported (See the OCI UPL), or symbols and footprints can be made from scratch. KiCAD also features a beautiful 3D circuit preview, which can be exported and used in mechanical modeling software.
  • ArduinoThe Arduino is currently the crown jewel of open source electronics. A massive community utilizes the board for a plethura of projects. The Arduino software does not have to be used with an Arduino board specifically - it can be used with any Atmel microcontroller. Program the microcontrollers in C++, and utilize many community based libraries.
  • OCI Copper CarveA barebones software created in QT Creator used to control the Open Source Circuit Board Mill. It has all of the features you'll need to mill circuit boards with a Marlin based system. The source code is designed to be strait forward and modifiable by anyone.
  • QUCSQucs, short for Quite Universal Circuit Simulator, is a graphical circuit simulator. It offers many different simulation types and outputs, and features a wide range of components to play with. One of the greatest beauties of QUCS is parametric simulations, so you can easily do parameter sweeps and optimizaiton.
  • FlatCAM: A Computer aided machining (CAM) tool designed specifically for circuit board milling. Import your Gerber and drill files from KiCAD, and use FlatCAM to generate cutting tool paths.

Other Relevant Open Source Software

  • FreeCAD: A flexible 3D modeling software. Offers many different ways to design a part and assembly, allowing constraint based solid models.
  • OpenSCAD: Scriptable Computer aided design (SCAD) allows for procedurally generated models. You may also use design parameters inputs to make the design modifiable by anyone with no modeling experience.
  • QT Ctreator: Design GUI C++ programs and apps that will run on almost any platform. Great for creating applications to control electronics through the serial port.
  • Octave: An excellent numerical analysis tool, usable for complex simulations, data processing scripts, and numeric calculations.
  • Sage Mathematics: A symbolic mathematics engine. Use it to solve complex (or simple) equations with only a few key strokes.
  • Blender: An open source software that caters to many different needs. It is first and foremost a 3D modeling software, but can also be used for film compositing, game creation, special effects, and many more things.