Electronic CADing

Hey guys, I would want to know what software are you using for CADing control system?

Im looking for a software with all the boards we’re using in FRC, and its likely if its also has nice graphics like arduino’s simulating websites.

Do you mean physical layout of the control system components or the connections between the control system components?

I wonder if solidworks electrical is available to students…

We TRY to use it at work, but it is terrible for wire harnesses (is unable to do wire splits). It was originally designed around point-to-point connections which is most of the wiring in FRC.

When it’s working, you can create a whole diagram layout, then import it to the 3D model. After telling it where all to components are located and roughly where you want the wire paths , you can print drawings with exact wire lengths and mapping.

Actually now that I think about it, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the more established teams are doing exactly this.

I have never heard of any FRC team actually doing this, even the really prominent ones.

At all the places I have worked, they generally use a schematic to show the design concepts and a spread sheet for capturing information such as wire size, wire colour, (approximate) wire length, connector pins and labels. The approximate wire lengths are only used for estimating the cost. The assembly staff always cut longer then trim to length.

I was interested in this as well, and a search came up with Solidworks Electrical with a guide to get started: SolidWorks Electrical and Composer I have not gone any further with this yet, so I can’t comment on how well it works.

both solid-works electrical and the electrical plugin for inventor to transfer from autocad are AWFUL they are both difficult to get the schematic in just right, and then once you do and it tries to put the wire runs actually in the cad model, to help with routing and support, the model beaks, they can never solve the wires correctly, at work we usually just use it for critical wires or cables (exceptionally large, sensitive or high voltage) but for all the smaller stuff like you need for frc we just make them longer and fit them in wherever you have room, and just add extra space in the drag chains and cable guards, and then inevitably after a couple additions and revises to the equipment over a couple years the cable areas inevitably get overstuffed and the electricians don’t care. Its one of my greatest frustrations with CAD and plant based manufacture in general.

The AutoCAD and Solidworks electrical packages come from 3D mechanical CAD origins. True electrical schematic capture CAD programs have features such as “rubber banding”, netlist generation and signal typing that make life much nicer when drawing schematics. I don’t know if the packages based on mechanical CAD packages now have such features.

Have you tried using onshape?

pic: Introducing MKCad, the Onshape FRC Parts Library

Last summer, I played around with Solidworks Routing. I found that while it was decent for putting wires in place, it was far more trouble than it was worth, and the time of our CAD team would be far better spent on literally anything else.

Last year we used OnShape CAD software. Most of the parts can be loaded in from opensource sites and they have a wiring tool that can be added on.

I use Altium to draw cable harnesses schematics. There isn’t a “3D” routing feature, but you can at least draw out the connections between components. There’re licenses included in the vouchers.

Hi Vinh,

Could you share how your schematics looks?
I just downloaded Altium to try it out.
Seems a bit complicated, do you have useful tutorial links.

team 3550.

To make our own pc boards we have been using easyeda.com. It’s free unless you want them to make a PCB we had some talon breakout boards done that our team designed and I think 3 years ago we also did a converter board to convert the encoder output from the Bosch motor plus one of the power leads and turn it into a quadrature signal that could be read by the talons. Something like this

Then you either use them to make your own pcb by printing them on transparancy and etching and drilling them or you have them made. This one cost us about $ 2 a piece (10 order minimum) then you solder in the parts and voila…
Then you generate a PCB layout from it like this

Is that what you are looking for?

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We actually just started doing pretty much this this year. We use Autodesk Inventor for our CAD, and were able to CAD our entire board, including electronic layout, as well as wiring and wire diagrams.

Are you looking for something like this? https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i-JBjR-_dxf-h6wSOeoqPNj5JcnGxuKE/view
where you have the point to point routings of the electrical system, without all the details.

Or would you like something like this from https://files.solidworks.com/education/FRC_2015_SWE_Getting_Started_Guide.pdf? where you can have the details of each wire, including color, gage, to/from cavity/pin.

Or would you like something like this, also from the guide above, where you have the wiring in 3D CAD.