Monday, 17 May 2010

An Excellent Eagle Course

I spent this Saturday at a free CadSoft Eagle course for Arduino users which had been organised by Tinker London and Farnell's Element14.

Over twenty of us crammed into a well-equipped course room at the Cavendish Conference Centre. The main presenter was Tinker's Peter Knight. Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino (the CEO and co-founder of Tinker) explained that when she first asked Peter to run the course he said he could cover the subject in three weeks. Somehow he managed to cover the essentials in just a few hours!

Peter was supported by Lynn Ma, Mei Wang and Alistair Winning from Farnell, and by Richard Hammerl from CadSoft. Richard knows Eagle inside-out; he's an active member of the Eagle forum on Element14, so I know I'll get a fast and helpful response to any queries I have about using the software.

Everyone had done their homework and arrived with the latest version of Eagle on their laptops. In the morning Peter covered creating a schematic and laying out a PCB. After lunch we learned how to create new parts libraries and looked at preparing a board design for manufacture by a PCB Fab shop.

Finally Richard covered the licensing options which include a free licence for the lite edition for hobby use.

The course was aimed at advanced Arduino users who wanted to design their own add-on boards. The participants came from a wide range of backgrounds; artists, musicians, hobbyists and professional electronics engineers. Everyone I spoke to felt they'd got a lot out of the day.

Farnell and CadSoft are clearly committed to the development of Eagle and its user community. I finished the course confident about how to use Eagle, motivated, eager to learn more and to play an active role in the online Element14 community.

Thanks to Tinker for an excellent workshop (and allowing me to use their flickr photo) and to Farnell and CadSoft for the support that made the course possible.