CAD Software

Electronic CAD

We use Altium for schematic capture and board layout. We previously used Altium for FPGA work, but later moved to Xilinx tools. We bought Altium in 2006 after using OrCAD for almost 25 years. Back then, Altium was purchased for their FPGA agnostic design tools, the MIPS-like soft processor core, the Nanoboards and the instrumentation, particularly the logic analyzer.

The schematic capture and layout tools could read in our prior OrCAD work, so we standardised on Altium for that part of the design as well. We never continued OrCAD maintenance or upgraded to other Cadence tools, mainly due to pricing differences when arriving in Australia. We could not afford the high-end Cadence layout tools, or find anyone using them (via search engines) in Australia, and the rest is history...

We purchased Pulsonix for schematic capture and PCB layout towards the end of 2012, and used the package for a few years. Pulsonix price and their flexible board support was very good, but the local market is really Altium based, and more and move evaluation boards are supplied with Altium CAD data.

Mechanical CAD

SolidWorks Professional was purchased at the end of 2012.

In South Africa prior to 2008, we worked in a research centre where mechanical designers used SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor. Before that, in automotive toolrooms where the CNC milling was done via Catia.

We wanted to be able to send work out for laser cutting and NC bending, so chose a package that would most likely be available at fabricators. (We also did not want to be involved in post processing or worry about toolpaths — simply send a 3D model so there are no arguments from interpreting 2D drawings).

We spent a lot of time designing wooden furniture with the package from 2015 onwards, which was not the original intention!