Free CAD tool helps you design circuit boards

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of EAGLE

Some tools are designed for general use. A car will take you to work, or to the store, or over the river and through the woods to visit Grandma. A word processor can draft a letter, write a report, or any of a zillion other uses. Other tools are designed for a specific purpose—not too many things you can do with a fire extinguisher other than the obvious. Some software applications are designed for specific purposes as well.

EAGLE (Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor) is a CAD (computer aided design) program. Like the drafting table and T-square of yesteryear, these types of apps help you in putting together mechanical drawings. While that in itself may seem fairly specialized, EAGLE is even more tightly focused than that: it's designed specifically to draw electrical and electronic schematics and design circuit boards. Instead of having to break out a pad of graph paper, shape templates, and a well-sharpened pencil, you can put your circuits together on your computer. It's a lot easier to make revisions when there's not danger of rubbing a hole through your paper with an eraser. EAGLE combines the ability to lay out physical components as well as show how they fit together logically and electrically using just the one tool. It's got built-in libraries of components so you don't have to waste your time drawing transistors and all, and can focus your attention on the "big picture" instead.

EAGLE is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows systems. You can use the reduced-functionalilty free version if you don't plan to use it for profit. Otherwise, they want you to license it.

Download EAGLE

One Response to “Free CAD tool helps you design circuit boards”

  1. PeeJay says:

    Mind the terms for this “freeware”…

    “The EAGLE Light Edition can be used for free!

    The following limitations apply to the EAGLE Light Edition in general:
    * The useable board area is limited to 100 x 80 mm (4 x 3.2 inches).
    * Only two signal layers can be used (Top and Bottom).
    * The schematic editor can only create one sheet.

    Apart from these three limitiations the EAGLE Light Edition can do anything the Professional Edition can do. You can even load, view and print drawings that exceed these limits!

    The Freeware version of EAGLE Light adds these limitations:
    * Support is only available via email or through our forum (no fax or phone support).
    * Use is limited to non-profit applications or evaluation purposes.”