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I've used SVG to design custom PCBs using traces as magnetic coils, something that, surprisingly, doesn't have a good industrial software package for. Everything in PCB design software is geared toward routing wires conveniently between components, but if you try to actually use the wires as actual components, it's almost impossible to freely design. And even regular PCB design software feels almost unchanged since the 1980s or 1990s. Incredibly clunky.

Here's a good Hackaday article on converting SVG to PCB file formats: http://hackaday.com/2016/01/28/beautiful-and-bizarre-boards/ PCBModE is one package I tried for a while: http://pcbmode.com/ Boldport uses this toolchain to make beautiful PCBs relying heavily on SVG: https://www.boldport.com/

I had a hard time with all these packages, however, and ended up just hacking it together by hand with python code and outputting in KiCAD format. I wasn't even able to get KiCAD to read/render it properly (too many weird elements), but since OSH Park (where I got my PCBs from) takes KiCAD format directly and gives you a preview, that all worked fine, and when I ordered my PCBs, they arrived in working condition just fine the first time.

https://oshpark.com/

So yeah, SVG can do a lot, including make funky PCBs.




Altium can do that sort of thing fairly easily. We use it for boards with waveguide filters, couplers, etc. (usually the geometry is designed and simulated in a field solver first, and then imported in, but you can do it straight in the software if you want).

The easiest way is to design the coil as a part, but you can use traces and arcs and stuff like normal in that.


That works well if your coil component is small and is just acting as a microwave RF component or something, but in my case I had a pretty complicated coil design (although simple conceptually) that spanned the entire PCB and interwove with other coils and wasn't arranged in a simple rectilinear manner. My original plan was to design the whole thing in Solidworks, which I did (and it was pretty easy to do), but there was simply no easy way to convert that into an actual PCB for manufacture (there is a Circuitworks module, but it's designed only for importing circuits to design around in Solidworks, not the other direction). Sitting there and manually making arcs and such in the PCB design software was just a non-starter. There are no parametric modeling features to speak of, and it's actually way easier to do what I did.

I think I used OpenSCAD to export to SVG.




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