PCBmodE is written and tested with Python 2.7 under Linux. It may or may not work on other operating systems or later versions of Python. With time ‘official’ support for Windows/MAC will be added.
It comes in the form of a installable tool called pcbmode which is run from the command line.
What you’ll need¶
- Python 2.7
- Text editor
Installation from Source with Virtualenv¶
Virualenv is a Python tool that makes it easy to keep applications in their own isolated environments. As a bonus, root permissions are not required. This can come useful when running experimental versions of PCBmodE.
These instructions describe how to build PCBmodE for use in a virtualenv. To be able to build python-lxml (one of PCBmodE’s dependencies) you need to install some system-level development packages. On Debian based systems these are installed like this:
sudo apt-get install libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev python-dev
Fetch the PCBModE source. Stable snapshots are available at https://github.com/boldport/pcbmode/releases. The latest development sources are available via git:
git clone https://github.com/boldport/pcbmode.git
After putting PCBmodE in a directory called pcbmode, run these commands to create a virtualenv in the directory pcbmode-env/ next to it, and install PCBmodE in the virtualenv.
virtualenv pcbmode-env source pcbmode-env/bin/activate cd pcbmode python setup.py install
After installation, PCBmodE will be available in your path as
pcbmode. But since it was installed in a virtualenv, the
pcbmode command will only be available in your path after running
pcbmode-env/bin/activate and will no longer be in your path after
deactivate. You will need to activate the virtualenv each
time you want to run pcbmode from a new terminal window.
Nothing is installed globally, so to start from scratch you can just follow these steps:
deactivate # skip if pcbmode-env is not active rm -r pcbmode-env cd pcbmode git clean -dfX # erases any untracked files (build files etc). save your work!
To see all the options that PCBmodE supports, use
By default PCBmodE expects to find the board files under
relative to the place where it is invoked.
Paths where PCBmodE looks for thing can be changed in the config file
Here’s one way to organise the build environment
hello-solder.json hello-solder_routing.json components/...
To make the
hello-solder board, run PCBmodE within
pcbmode -b hello-solder -m
Then open the SVG with Inkscape
If the SVG opens you’re good to go!
PCBmodE processes a lot of shapes on the first time it is run, so it will take a noticeable time. This time will be dramatically reduced on subsequent invocations since PCBmodE caches the shapes in a datafile within the project’s build directory.