Lab 2 – Pcbnew Layout Editor


  • Pcbnew is layout editor for printed circuit board under Kicad.

  • Pcbnew can generate up to 32 layers of copper, 14 technical layers (silk screen, solder mask, component adhesive, solder paste and edge cuts) plus 4 auxiliary layers (drawings and comments) and manages in real time the hairline indication (rats nest) of missing tracks.
  • More technical specification please refer to Kicad document.

Step 1: Assign Footprint To Each Component And Generate Netlist

  • Click icon “CvPcb” above to assign footprint at Eeshema Schematic Editor.

  • Assign footprints to components in the list.

  • Click “Save” and exit CvPcb.
  • Click icon “Generate netlist” and click “Generate” when a windows pop-up. Then locate and save netlist file in project directory.

Step 2: Run Pcbnew And Read Generated Netlist 

  • Now run the Pcbnew layout editor by clicking icon below.

  • By default it will be pop-up with blank sheet. Go to “Tool” and select “Netlist“.

  • Confirm the netlist directory and click “Read Current Netlist“. Then Click “Close“.
  • Now component footprints from your schematic design are on the layout sheet.

Step 3 : Start Drawing PCB

  • First, define intended board area. Click on the icon and layer as illustrated below.
  • 6cm x 7.5cm board will be used in this tutorial. Top layer (red) will be assigned as signal layer and bottom layer (Green) as ground layer.
  • Follow instruction below to draw board edge.
  • Arrange components according to user preference, connect them using “track“,”vias” or “copper drop area“. Toggle between Top and Bottom layer ( User can use more layers if the design is too complex for two-layers).
  •  Final view of bottom layout (sample only, users can design whatever they like).

  • User can view their layout using 3D viewer as well. Click “View” and then select “3D viewer”.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *