Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to install and use KiCad FreeRouting/FreeRoute auto-router (incl. manual board cleanup & DRC) in KiCad 5

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Watch video above.
Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESrHILARL7Y.

I go through:

1) How to download and "install" (copy over) the necessary (and pre-compiled) freeroute.jar ("freeRouting.jar") binary.

2) (Briefly): how to use the auto-router to route a couple boards (1 trivial, 1 less trivial), including back-importing the routed boards back into KiCad.

Note: the crux of this demo is done by 6:00! By this point I have shown how to install the freeroute.jar executable file and use the auto-router to route a board! Feel free to stop at this point.

3) How to download the KiCad source code and demo project files (ex: to use as demo tools to test the autorouter).

4) How to work around a minor bug in the autorouter that sometimes makes it not allow you to output the routed board .ses file.

5) How to rename board layers.

6) How to do manual board cleanup, including DRC (Design Rules Check), manual trace modifications and dragging, Interactive Router Settings (very brief mention), board ground fill (brief), and how to fix ground fill problems such as floating fill islands which need to be connected via a few vias and traces.

7) The end-result is a nice, auto-routed board (auto-routing is so convenient!) with minimal hand-cleanup ready to be sent off to the manufacturer.

I'm super happy to have the auto-router working so that I can use it for quick-and-dirty jobs that require a faster design speed and less manual work at the sacrifice of a bit of perfection.

Thanks for watching!

Links you will need from the video:
1) https://freerouting.org/freerouting/using-with-kicad
2) https://github.com/KiCad/kicad-source-mirror

By Gabriel Staples
Written: 3 July 2018
Last Updated: 3 July 2018


Keywords: KiCad autorouter, KiCad auto-router, KiCad freerouter, KiCad freerouting, using the KiCad freerouter, PCB layout, DRC check, Design Rules Checking

Draft Time: ~ 3 hrs.

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