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Using Freeroute (autorouter) in Kicad 5

In Kicad 4, freeroute was included on the toolbar. In Kicad 5, they removed it. I disagree with this, but let's not debate. You can still use freeroute, though you must install it separately. And you need to export from Kicad the DSN (Spectra) file, then reimport the .ses file, as you would've before.

Download (instructions from Extract and navigate to the bin folder, and you should find a freeRouting.jar

To run it:

cd layout/bin/
java -jar freeRouting.jar

Don't expect to get the traffic sign symbol anywhere in Kicad (as the freeroute webpage shows). Just export to a spectra file then import that file into Freeroute.

Editing Files Directly

Kicad is programmed in lisp, and the data files are lists.

Make a backup of your file (e.g. kicad_pcb) then change resistor label to be hidden (in text editor) change

(fp_text reference R20 (at 0 -1.43) (layer F.SilkS)


(fp_text reference R20 (at 0 -1.43) (layer F.SilkS) hide

This can come in handy for various hacks, and I use this to get a layer of only fills in kicad for a CNC router (i.e. when routing pcbs on a CNC you would want to use a different bit for the fill areas, as opposed to the traces).