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'[EE] Eagle question (general)'
2004\12\22@161837 by alan smith

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So, whats the 'industry' take on Eagle for PCB layout?
If you look at the offerings out there, you have

Mentor Pads / Expedition  (both $$$)
Cadence Cadnetix
Protel
Zuken
OrCad

And there is Eagle...since its a free download, alot
of hobbyist use it. Smart move because then it puts
them into the fray of...lets buy it when I get a real
job or whatever.  But if you compare its abilities
against say PADs or Protel, is it compariable?  My
copy of OrCad is so outdated its gerber drivers have
issues with some of the houses.  I use PADs and
Expedition at work, but from a contracting position, I
need something that works well but isnt going to break
the bank.  I know that Olin and Lawernce use this, and
that lends credence to it.  I just never see companies
listing that as a desireable package to have
experiance with.





               
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2004\12\22@170657 by Mark Rages

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I went from PADs to gschem/PCB.  The learning curve wasn't too bad,
mostly remapping my fingers to different keyboard shortcuts.  The
ASCII file formats are wonderful if you know any scripting language. (For example, I just filled in resistor values when I was designing my
circuit, then I made a script that fills in the Digikey and Rohm part
numbers when I started the layout and decided on 1206 parts.  Another
script extracts the BOM and orders the parts from DigiKey.  Another
script downloads the datasheets for each part for the design archive.
This kind of thing is important to a small business without a
purchasing department.)

The Gerbers it makes have not been a problem for my vendor, and the
boards have worked fine.

Disadvantages:  If you are designing 16-layer boards, it's not a good
fit.  I couldn't make the autorouters give a reasonable output.  The
user-interface isn't polished.

If I've interested you, see pcb.sourceforge.net.  Stupid name --  you
can't find it by Googling "pcb"!

Regards,
Mark
spam_OUTmarkragesTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com
On Wed, 22 Dec 2004 13:18:36 -0800 (PST), alan smith
<.....micro_eng2KILLspamspam@spam@yahoo.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> _____________________________________________

2004\12\22@175457 by Edward Gisske

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Alan,
I use OrCad and have the latest version(10.3). I gave up on OrCad about 5
years ago and dropped my support at V9.1. It was clear the Cadence, after
buying the brand, just intended to milk the cow and not make any significant
investment in the product. Bugs went unfixed for years and new versions come
out with trivial enhancements. I had used the product for 15 years and was
pretty fond of it. The Cadence support payments were pretty steep for a
one-man show, however, particularly when they weren't doing anything to earn
it. I recently re-upped, as 9.1 didn't work all that well with operating
systems beyond NT4 and had some pretty clubby plotting and post-processing
schemes.

A year or so ago EMA Design Automation of Rochester, NY took over the
support and marketing of the product. They still seem to be getting their
feet under them but are way easier to deal with than the Cadence folks, who
seem to be entirely focused on the chip layout business. EMA has gotten
Cadence to beef up their Bangalore programming shop by adding another 10-15
programmers and I have some hope that things will get better. The recent
10.3 release does, however, continue the tradition of insignificant upgrades
and a few bug fixes constituting a "Major Release".

The consolidation of the EDA industry has not been good for the layout and
schematic capture programs sector. I have heard significant bitching about
Pads since Mentor picked them up as well as about Protel. In both Orcad and
Pads case they went from pretty dynamic companies to being weak sisters of
big IC EDA operations. It does seem like the shrink-wrap market for
layout/capture tools is ripe for somebody to show up with a decent package
at a price us one-man-shows can afford to own and support.

Perhaps Eagle is that program...I don't know.

Edward Gisske, P.E.
Gisske Engineering
608-523-1900
gisskespamKILLspamoffex.com

{Original Message removed}

2004\12\22@223142 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Dec 22, 2004, at 1:18 PM, alan smith wrote:

> And there is Eagle...since its a free download, alot
> of hobbyist use it. Smart move because then it puts
> them into the fray of...lets buy it when I get a real
> job or whatever.  But if you compare its abilities
> against say PADs or Protel, is it compariable?

I think Eagle is somewhat behind some of the major competitors
in features.  However, from reading their support and user
newsgroups, I have also concluded:

1) it IS being used professionally by people who think it better
   in some ways that packages costing MUCH more (even compared to
   the full professional ($1200) version of Eagle.  (more features
   don't necessarily make an easier-to-use product.)

2) I like the direction things are headed.  Improvements over the
   last several releases have been in areas relevant to ME.

3) Their attitude toward hobbyists is unparalleled and laudable.

4) The support is very good, both from Cadsoft and from their user
   community.

If I did schematic/pcb design professionally, I would not hesitate to
shell out for the professional version of Eagle.  OTOH, I am not
expecting
ever to do 12-layer PCBs where I'd like full autoplacement and
autorouting.

BillW
____________________________________________

2004\12\23@070211 by Morgan Olsson
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face
Mark Rages 23:00 2004-12-22:
>If I've interested you, see pcb.sourceforge.net.  Stupid name --  you
>can't find it by Googling "pcb"!

Right, i did not when i tried before.
Thank you for that link!
/Morgan

--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

____________________________________________

2004\12\23@094326 by alan smith

picon face
Thats my take on Eagle....difficult to sell into
larger companies, but for contractors and small places
it seems to fit the bill.  But you are correct,
presently doing a 12 layer 85% coverage board, Eagle
wouldnt be up to THIS task, as Expedition is having a
difficult time of it.

Thanks for the input.

--- William Chops Westfield <.....westfwKILLspamspam.....mac.com> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> ______________________________________________

2004\12\27@092528 by Lawrence Lile

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>the bank.  I know that Olin and Lawernce use this, and
that lends credence to it.  I just never see companies
listing that as a desireable package to have
experiance with.

Thanks for the vote of confidence.  I reviewed most of what was available about 6-7 years ago, and decided on Eagle, worked very well for what I was doing at the time and had the best bang for the buck.  I know several consultants (who don't poke their heads in here on the PIClist) that also use Eagle, as well as at least one board house (Olimex).  Today's PCB layout market is completely different due to consolidation and the demise of companies like Winboard.  Eagle is an ideal package for a one-man shop, IMHO.  

I would probably have to agree that if you are doing complex designs, then Eagle might not be a match.  I found it would handle about anything I needed to do, and two layer designs were the worst I ever threw at it.  I don't know any reason it is not CAPABLE of doing a 32 layer board with micro-millimeter spacing, however there are probably tools out there that are more efficient at such heavy lifting.  

>  I just never see companies
listing that as a desireable package to have
experiance with.

ANY PCB layout package experience is good, because they all work on similar principles.  I found that moving between them was very easy.  I have used a half dozen of them without much pain or learning curve.  So if you are in a job interview, and they ask if you have ever used MEGACAD or GADZOOKACAD or BOZOCAD, just say that you have experience with some layout tools and that you can pick them up easily.  It is up to you to convince the interviewer that your experience is good enough to fly.  

--Lawrence



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2004\12\27@110223 by J. Gromlich

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part 1 3784 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 (decoded quoted-printable)

I spent several years doing PCB layout exclusively, using the
PADS (Mentor Graphics now) PowerLogic and PowerPCB
packages.  When I left that company I quickly found that the
only PCB design suite I could afford as a consultant was
CADsoft Eagle.

Guess what - I actually like Eagle better than the MUCH MORE
EXPENSIVE Mentor Graphics stuff. I find Eagle to be far more
intuitive to learn and use - the learning curve on PADs was bad!
Also, the Eagle library tools to create parts for PCB use are much
easier to use - PADs method is a learn-by-rote technique which
never made any sense to me.

Eagle's CAM tools for creating Gerbers and such are excellent -
I have had no problem getting excellent PCB quality using its
output files.

On the other hand, PADs has one very nice feature which I really
miss in Eagle - it can scan the schematic file and the PCB file and
produce a list of differences, and then allow you to resolve those
individually (if you want) in either direction.  That is, make the PCB
match the schematic for some items and the schematic match the
PCB for others.  Or change both simultaneously.

Also, I would have to say that PADs gave me more ways of tweaking
a design to get just the layout I wanted, but those features were very
rarely used. Mostly I let the autorouter so its thing, and Eagles router
works as well as the Blaze router in PADs.

So there it is - I would guess all layout suites have their good and bad
points - Eagle has a lot of pros and very few cons - and the price is
right.  I don't know if I will ever upgrade to the full Eagle pro version,
but for right now I don't need it.

There's my 25 cents on the subject.

Roy


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2004\12\27@110556 by J. Gromlich

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face
part 1 3784 bytes content-type:text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 (decoded quoted-printable)

I spent several years doing PCB layout exclusively, using the
PADS (Mentor Graphics now) PowerLogic and PowerPCB
packages.  When I left that company I quickly found that the
only PCB design suite I could afford as a consultant was
CADsoft Eagle.

Guess what - I actually like Eagle better than the MUCH MORE
EXPENSIVE Mentor Graphics stuff. I find Eagle to be far more
intuitive to learn and use - the learning curve on PADs was bad!
Also, the Eagle library tools to create parts for PCB use are much
easier to use - PADs method is a learn-by-rote technique which
never made any sense to me.

Eagle's CAM tools for creating Gerbers and such are excellent -
I have had no problem getting excellent PCB quality using its
output files.

On the other hand, PADs has one very nice feature which I really
miss in Eagle - it can scan the schematic file and the PCB file and
produce a list of differences, and then allow you to resolve those
individually (if you want) in either direction.  That is, make the PCB
match the schematic for some items and the schematic match the
PCB for others.  Or change both simultaneously.

Also, I would have to say that PADs gave me more ways of tweaking
a design to get just the layout I wanted, but those features were very
rarely used. Mostly I let the autorouter so its thing, and Eagles router
works as well as the Blaze router in PADs.

So there it is - I would guess all layout suites have their good and bad
points - Eagle has a lot of pros and very few cons - and the price is
right.  I don't know if I will ever upgrade to the full Eagle pro version,
but for right now I don't need it.

There's my 25 cents on the subject.

Roy


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2004\12\27@125919 by PicDude

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I remember that Mentor has a couple other features that I thought were cool
(though I don't need them) ... automatic calculation of controlled impedances
(which I doubt any of the budget board houses would make accurately anyway),
and the abillity to import a CAD file (of the enclosure) into your Mentor
layout to determine if the components would physically fit.  Now where the
libraries of component dimensions (in 3D) are coming from, I'm not sure.  But
still, those features alone are not worth the price increase.

Either way, if you want the capabilities of the professional version of Eagle,
but not for commercial use, consider the student pricing -- $600 for all 3
modules (vs. $1200).  Simply taking a community college course on anything
(for even $25-$50) *should* be enough to qualify.  Wouldn't you like to learn
floral arranging anyway? :-)

Cheers,
-Neil.


On Monday 27 December 2004 10:05 am, Roy J. Gromlich scribbled:
{Quote hidden}

2004\12\27@133632 by Lawrence Lile

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The 3D capability is a nice feature.

In Eagle, the 3D feature is provided in Wetware (he said sarcastically)

In other words, I would export the EAGLE file to AutoCad using the DXF.ULP script, then I would draw the 3D components in Autocad.  The library I used was the actual dimensions of the parts, usually rendering them as cylinders or rectangular boxes to save effort.  Then this would get ported into ProEngineer, usually as some kind of STL solid.  It comes in white as a ghost and can't be edited, but at least you can see it and run interference checks on it.  

I nearly bought Protel because it supposedly makes this 3D capability automatic.

None of this 3D stuff is needed if you don't do anything complex mechanically.  A simple 2D AutoCad port of your board, showing mounting hardware locations, and a box around the board for clearance and component areas is usually fine.    

--Lawrence


{Original Message removed}

2004\12\27@134353 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Roy J. Gromlich wrote:
> On the other hand, PADs has one very nice feature which I really
> miss in Eagle - it can scan the schematic file and the PCB file and
> produce a list of differences, and then allow you to resolve those
> individually (if you want) in either direction.  That is, make the PCB
> match the schematic for some items and the schematic match the
> PCB for others.  Or change both simultaneously.

Eagle handles this in a better way, in my opinion, by making it so that the
schematic and board are never out of sync unless you do something deliberate
and stupid.  Even then you can run DRC and get a list of discrepencies,
although you get a lot of other barf to wade thru too.  This tightly
integrated approach is one of the thing I really like about Eagle.

Nothing is perfect, and my main gripes with Eagle are:

1 - I want more than one value field that can be individually shown or not
shown on the schematic.  On the schematic I might only want to show that a
cap is 100uF 20V, but I want a place to enter comments, manufacturer and
distributor part numbers, etc.  A ULP for creating a BOM would export all
these fields, then a program could look up part numbers in a data base and
automatically create a useable BOM.  Currently there is too much manual work
each time to create the BOM.

2 - There are far too many things that are flagged as design rule errors
that are necessary for making normal boards.  There need to be ways to
disable these individually when making a package.  At the very least I want
something in the package editor where I can say "Yes I know these two
polygons touch.  They are supposed to.  Don't nag me about it.".  As it is
now, a few slightly unusual package definitions can create 100s of DRC
errors so that real ones will get missed.

2004\12\27@142113 by Gaston Gagnon

face
flavicon
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Lawrence Lile wrote:
> The 3D capability is a nice feature.
> In Eagle, the 3D feature is provided in Wetware (he said sarcastically)
> In other words, I would export the EAGLE file to AutoCad using the DXF.ULP script ...

You may be interested in this site:
http://web2.callisto.twam.info/eng/index.php?page1=eagle3d

Gaston

2004\12\27@161819 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
I agree with Olin on this one. At the moment, at work we use Ultiboard
and Multisim, from the Electronics Workbech people. I have never been
so frustrated at a piece of professional software in my life. For
something that they sell as a "package" it's a joke. Clearly they've
bought someone out and then stuck the two packages together, however
they never bothered to do any work on them to harmonize the user
interface. Even little things like zoom working differently between
the two products is really frustrating. In Multisim, most of the time
when you're drawing connections between components, it won't follow
the lines you're drawing. You get to the end, and it reroutes the
wire. If I try and connect a resistor and a ground symbol, and they're
one grid unit apart, it won't go straight no matter what I do. My
schematics are all but indeciferable because of this.

Also, the Multisim export to Ultiboard doesn't seem to work, and the
two programs seem to have different libraries. I can add stuff in a
schematic (from the supplied library), only to have it show up as
undefined in the board. And there's no easy way to go back and forth
to make modifications. I love how Eagle works that way.

I wanted to get us onto Eagle, but it was dismissed (though I'm not
sure why). We spent a ton of money on Orcad, and I'm slowly learning
it. Too soon to make a comment, other than I don't think it's as bad
as Multisim/Ultiboard.

One other thing I don't understand is that as far as I know,
Electronics Workbench have been in the schematic business longer than
the board business...and Ultiboard is at least usable. Using Multisim
is like trying to get a four year old to go to bed on time. Very
frustrating.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:43:23 -0500, Olin Lathrop
<EraseMEolin_piclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTembedinc.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2004\12\27@174459 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
y

On Mon, 27 Dec 2004, Lawrence Lile wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Fyi someone made a ulp script for Eagle that turns a design into a
Pov-Ray file and then runs Pov-Ray on it. Pov-Ray is a photorealistic
renderer (3D). The script uses a database of 3d models of the parts you
use. The ulp script takes the parts from the design, and their
placement, combines it with the 3d model database, and makes the Pov-Ray
script. The result is a photorealistic rendering of the completed
project, in several views (3-views or whatever you select). This is only
available on Linux as far as I know. The 3d model database models each
part using relatively simple graphical primitives (cylinder, cube,
prism), and textures/colors. The results are visually impressive (you
can see the image of a tall cap mirrored on the top of a TO-18
transistor when viewed in perspective etc).

Peter

2004\12\27@214643 by David P Harris

picon face
Peter L. Peres wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Yes, good stuff, for example, here's some generated views of a board I
designed: embeddedloconet.sourceforge.net/throttle.html
David


2004\12\27@225239 by Roy J. Gromlich

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----- Original Message -----
From: "David P Harris" <dpharrisspamspam_OUTtelus.net>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <@spam@piclistKILLspamspammit.edu>
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2004 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: [EE] Eagle question (general)

> Yes, good stuff, for example, here's some generated views of a board I
> designed: embeddedloconet.sourceforge.net/throttle.html
> David
>
>
Awesome - that is something I really would like to have.  I have been trying
come up with a way to create 3D board drawings for and instruction
manual and also for an advertising sheet.

Did these take a great deal of work to produce or not?

RJG


2004\12\27@232722 by David P Harris

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Roy J. Gromlich wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Well, not too bad.  I had to make some of the 3D models, but that is
kind of fun, actually.  I have not adapted this to his latest Eagle3D,
yet.  I generate a view with all the components in place.  In my case
this means overlapping components.  The view is a program for PovRay in
the form of macros.  I then edit the resulting PovRay file such that I
can turn on and off different components, and can choose a viewpoint.  
This is really good for manuals, as you can show close-ups of parts of
the board.  I have even added arrows, etc to illustrate a point.

David

2004\12\28@002457 by Dave VanHorn

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>>>
>>>I nearly bought Protel because it supposedly makes this 3D capability
>>>automatic

I bought Orcad a while back, because they said that the non-demo version
would work with Pro-E for 3-D modeling.. They lied.



>>Fyi someone made a ulp script for Eagle that turns a design into a
>>Pov-Ray file and then runs Pov-Ray on it. Pov-Ray is a photorealistic
>>renderer (3D).

Useful for designing optical sensors too!

>>  The script uses a database of 3d models of the parts you use. The ulp
>> script takes the parts from the design, and their placement, combines it
>> with the 3d model database, and makes the Pov-Ray script. The result is
>> a photorealistic rendering of the completed project, in several views
>> (3-views or whatever you select). This is only available on Linux as far
>> as I know.

Winders too.

>>  The 3d model database models each part using relatively simple
>> graphical primitives (cylinder, cube, prism), and textures/colors. The
>> results are visually impressive (you can see the image of a tall cap
>> mirrored on the top of a TO-18 transistor when viewed in perspective etc).

As little or as much detail as you like.
You could even generate images with some of the parts turned off, for
step-by-step instructions.  http://www.mobilecommand.net has some images of a
printer that I did, using Pro-E output of the mold designs to make an image
of the printer.

Nice to be able to change the shell to transparent, and see how things
stack up inside, or clip the whole thing with a plane at some point to
check a clearance.


2004\12\28@102729 by Bob J

picon face
On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 13:43:23 -0500, Olin Lathrop
<spamBeGoneolin_piclistspamBeGonespamembedinc.com> wrote:
> 1 - I want more than one value field that can be individually shown or not
> shown on the schematic.  On the schematic I might only want to show that a
> cap is 100uF 20V, but I want a place to enter comments, manufacturer and
> distributor part numbers, etc.  A ULP for creating a BOM would export all
> these fields, then a program could look up part numbers in a data base and
> automatically create a useable BOM.  Currently there is too much manual work
> each time to create the BOM.

That is something I have also thought of as well, the ability to have
user-defined fields associated with parts.  I've thought of creating
an application to parse these fields after a ULP export.  The
application would make http requests to retrieve price/quantity
information from various suppliers, and drop the results into an excel
spreadsheet for analysis.

Regards,
Bob

2004\12\28@111318 by Morgan Olsson

flavicon
face
Josh Koffman 22:18 2004-12-27:
>At the moment, at work we use Ultiboard
>and Multisim, from the Electronics Workbech people. I have never been
>so frustrated at a piece of professional software in my life. For
>something that they sell as a "package" it's a joke. Clearly they've
>bought someone out and then stuck the two packages together,

I once bought Ultiboard and Ulticap when it was for DOS and pretty expensive but worked good.  They are made by Ultimate technology.

Then they ported it to Windows, but while i continued paying expensive updates they never even got backannotation working correct in the windows version, and some bugs when adjusting traces near pads was frustrating.  They bundled specctra autorouter and something else, but they were useless for me, I wanted the basic functions to work...  I couple years ago i stopped updating.

I later saw they bought Electronics workbench or if it is the other way around...
All CAD have dropped in cost i think, but Ultiboard specifically, and i believe they earned it.

Today Eagle professional is about what i paid for one year of almost no bugfixing.  And i believe Ultoboard is much cheaper now - i originally paid about 2,000USD...

--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

2004\12\28@111409 by Rob Young

picon face

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bob J" <TakeThisOuTrocketbobEraseMEspamspam_OUTgmail.com>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <RemoveMEpiclistspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 9:27 AM
Subject: Re: [EE] Eagle question (general)


{Quote hidden}

There are some BOM assistance ULPs available at http://www.cadsoftusa.com in their
downloads / ULP section.  Also under the miscellaneous section there is a
program called "02makebom.exe" that does a pretty good job once you fill out
the database tables.

Also, it sticks in my memory that either they already have added some extra
field information to the parts library elements or it is on the short list.
I haven't upgraded from 4.09r2.  I may just be imagining things.

Rob Young

2004\12\28@112656 by Lawrence Lile

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>That is something I have also thought of as well, the ability to have
user-defined fields associated with parts.  I've thought of creating
an application to parse these fields after a ULP export.  The
application would make http requests to retrieve price/quantity
information from various suppliers, and drop the results into an excel
spreadsheet for analysis.

User defined fields is a most-requested feature for Eagle, and I am sure that the developers are aware it is wanted.  

It would be great if vendors could respond to price requests in some standardized way, however I don't imagine that is a reality today.  The best one could do is to keep one's own database, which would swiftly go out of date.  Or possibly form the app around one supplier.  If Digikey's website could respond in some intelligent way to a Digikey part number, then pricing info could be found, for one supplier at least.  Such halfway solutions would prove frustrating, I believe.

Specs, however, don't change as fast as pricing.  A small database of specifications, such as low leakage  capacitors and so on, might be useful to add to a BOM.  

--Lawrence


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2004\12\28@121625 by Bob J

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> It would be great if vendors could respond to price requests in some standardized way, however I don't imagine that is a reality today.  The best one could do is to keep one's own

I was thinking something along the lines with how findchips.com works.  

Regards,
Bob

2004\12\28@144232 by David P Harris

picon face
Bob J wrote:

{Quote hidden}

This type of thing was a longstanding request to Cadsoft, and Cadsoft is
now actively working on adding arbitrary fields to components.  These
should allow the above much more easily.
Let's keep our fingers crossed.

David



'[EE] Eagle question (general)'
2005\01\05@081620 by Alan B. Pearce
face picon face
>>>I nearly bought Protel because it supposedly makes this 3D capability
>>>automatic
>I bought Orcad a while back, because they said that the non-demo version
>would work with Pro-E for 3-D modeling.. They lied.

Well, it does have the ability to export a footprint size and height, that
can be imported. Your components look like boxes rather Dave's nice
components, but it does allow clearances to be checked. We use that ability
here.

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