Electronic – make KiCAD pcbnew NOT place all components at (0,0)


In EAGLE, when you create a board from an existing schematic or incrementally add components to a linked board/schematic project, it does not overlap components in the board file.

In KiCAD/Pcbnew I drew a schematic and created a board from it. Every component was placed at (0,0) which is the upper left hand corner.

I would like the components to be "exploded". That is to say non-overlapping so I can find/grab what I want instead of spending 5 minutes dragging apart 30+ footprints.

Best Answer

There is a better alternative to autoplace. I think autoplace is used to minimize board space, keep things closer together for auto-routing purposes, etc. If you just want to space things out so it's easier to manually layout your board and not worry about having overlapping identical components (ie: resistors), just do the following:

  1. Open PCBNEW
  2. Import your netlist
  3. Click on the "Mode" button near the upper right of your horizontal toolbar icons right under the "File", "Edit", horizontal menus. Make sure it is depressed, and says "Mode Footprint:" when you hover the mouse over the button.
  4. Make sure you have the "Arrow" tool selected (topmost icon in the vertical list of icons on the right hand side of the screen).
  5. Right click anywhere on the board (except directly on a component), select "Glob Move and Place..." ==> "Move All Modules", and click "Yes" at the following prompt.
  6. Done, and you don't even have to create a "PCB_edges" layer. It intelligently separates the parts so they have at least a single "unit" radius (depending on your current grid resolution options) so there is no overlap with other components, as shown below.

enter image description here