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Development Highlight: CADSTAR PCB Importer

Roberto Fernandez Bautista had a growing desire at his workplace to migrate away from CADSTAR. After trying and finding migration paths to other EDA tools inadequate and poorly supported, he has leveraged the open source nature of KiCad to create just what he needs and contribute to the greater community :D

Thanks to his hard work in MR#279,KiCad is now able to import CADSTAR PCB files! With the schematic importer coming soon.

The board import option can be found under the File > Import > Non-Kicad Board File option and changing the file type filter

Import non kicad option in menu shown

After which in the import file dialog you must change the file filter

CADSTAR pcb selector shown in file open dialog

After selecting your CPA file and a short delay. Pcbnew will display its best attempt at a import and provide warnings if it had any difficulties importing the file.

Fully imported PCB shown in Pcbnew

Clicking on Details (recommended) will show you any conversion related changes that were made.

Fully imported PCB shown in Pcbnew

In this example, this Github hosted project was imported to get the resulting kicad pcb

Fully imported PCB shown in Pcbnew

If you want to give the board import a spin, simply download the latest KiCad nightly. Feel free to report any issues you may find.

If you want to join in on a discussion on this feature, you may find a forum thread with the developer here

Note Both this feature and nightly builds are in development, please only use them for testing and experimentation

See Also

Development Highlight: New Settings System

As a preview of a feature available in the nighty builds, a large change was made to how KiCad stores and loads settings that not only fixes a few headaches with the old system but lays the groundwork for more customization in KiCad such as color themes. This was thanks to the work of Jon Evans in MR#68

Development Highlight: New schematic and symbol library file formats are now the default

Since KiCad 4.0, work has been progressing to overhaul all the various project file formats that among many benefits, make them far more human friendly, easier to parse and allow easier addition of new features.