Software Resources

There is a good deal of software out there for people to make use of, which covers CAD, CAM, compilation tool chains, etc. Going to make a list here to cover the ones I know and indicate which ones I use in my workflow(s) as well as indicate whether they are free or require payment.

This page gets updated periodically as I find/use new tools or as I remember to update it with tools I’m using. 🙂

Compilation Tool Chains & Software Access

Apple Xcode

  • https://developer.apple.com
  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Mac OS X
  • Apple’s software development toolchain/IDE/libraries. You will need this to get some of the software packages installed and you will need the command line tools sub-component of Xcode to get things like HomeBrew to work correctly. The exact instructions differ based on which OS version and Xcode version you are using, so please refer to the Xcode documents.
  • Note: This is Apple specific. If you are running Windows, Linux, *BSD, etc. you will have other development IDE(s).

HomeBrew

  • https://brew.sh/
  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Mac OS X
  • Basically, a software toolchain and repository system for getting various open source tools onto your Mac OS X computer. A self described package manager for the Mac, it is very helpful for getting various useful tools onto your Mac system without having to manually go out and download source and recompile yourself manually.
  • Note: requires you to have installed Xcode and the command line utilities.

Arduino IDE

  • https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Mac OS X, Windows, Linux
  • This is the IDE/toolchain for the Arduino microcontroller boards. The IDE can also be updated with “cores” for support of more than just 8-bit AVR(S) including ARM and other modules like the ESP8266 wifi modules. A great all around tool, though once you start getting down into the nitty gritty, some may want to switch to their own customized workflow.

AVR ToolChain

AVR DUDE

  • http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/avrdude
  • Cost: Free
  • Platform: Any, comes in the form of source code. (Originally for BSD)
  • AVR programmer, generally comes bundled with other AVR related open source type projects. Useful for programming AVR microcontrollers on a variety of hardware programmers.

3D/CAD Modelling Software

OpenSCAD

  • http://www.openscad.org/
  • Cost: Free
  • Platforms: Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, BSD, all(source code available)
  • This is a 3d modelling/engineering simulation program designed for people who like to design things by writing it in the form of statements as opposed to using a GUI to click and drag to design something. Very powerful and has a built in STL exporter, which makes it a tool for designing things for 3D printing or for CNC production.

AutoDesk Fusion 360

  • https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview
  • Cost: Free for makers and students, non-free for commercial use.
  • Platforms: Mac OS X , Windows
  • This is Autodesk’s 3d modelling CAD/CAM software tool that can handle generating output for 3d printers, CNC machines, or sending to an online service for production. Has lots of very powerful features and is a great all around tool.
  • Note: This software is tied to the “cloud” and requires internet access for it to phone home and reconfirm activation.

AutoDesk Eagle CAD

  • https://www.autodesk.com/products/eagle/overview
  • Cost: Free(reduced functionality) otherwise Monthly fee
  • Platforms: Mac OS X, Windows, Linux
  • This is Autodesk’s PCB schematic capture and board placement/design tool. Very powerful for price range and is widely used. Can output in a variety of formats for being sent to PCB production houses. Works great with OshPark, DirtyPCB, OshStencils, and CNC machining.
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