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Welcome, Natasha Baker, Founder and CEO of SnapEDA!
- Natasha has an EE background, she got her start working on tools at National Instruments
- She was reading IPC-7351 specs early on. What’s in there?
- All about how to create footprints, with different density levels, depending on the complexity of your board
- A new version is coming out soon, check IPC.org for more info
- With corporate sponsorship, anyone can participate (and Natasha recommends it!)
- Interesting discussion around using an X shaped pad under a QFP
- Later, Natasha got interested in the marketing side of business.
- She found that she was designing board and footprints taking a ton of time
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- When Natasha started, she was coding it herself. She taught herself using a Django tutorial meant for a website that organizes books. It still has some form on the current site.
- A site like SnapEDA is difficulat because it’s starting from no content. They had free “requests” to figure out what people wanted early on. They had some user generated models at the beginning, but they were not preferred.
- Natasha estimates there are nearly 1 billion parts in the ecosystem, in part because of the number of connector companies permutations.
- Semiconductor acquisitions has messed with a lot of part number data.
- Natasha took SnapEDA through the yCombinator program, focusing on it full time. We have had two shows in the past about YC
- YC has continued funding hardware companies since then, even though SaaS have been more popular
- Eric Migicovski, founder of Pebble, is now running hardware at YC
- During interviews with engineers, trust was the biggest/most common thing brought up
- SnapEDA has a neutral meta format, which means each component goes through a PCB exporter to match your specific CAD tool.
- Chris didn’t realize there is a batch export for KiCad. This will be less necessary for the upcoming v6 version. There is also a KiCad plugin.
- Natasha hopes in the future they can offer additional engineering content
- Simulation models
- Working with old school chip companies
- Component registrations
- Free samples
- Lizard brain vs logical brain
- 40% browse parts directly through site. Others arrive via external search engines. There are tools built directly into ExpressPCB and Proteus. SnapEDA created external plugins for Altium and KiCad.
- InstaBuild allows engineers to pull pin tables out of datasheet PDFs. The resulting symbol is only available to the user who created it (for now, at least)
- Popularity of platforms using SnapEDA (in order)
- Launching some cool things in the next month or so
- SnapEDA has published about popular components via EETimes in the past.
- Feedback welcome! You can reach them via the SnapEDA chat bubble (on the site), via email at email@example.com, or via the “report issues” dialog on each part page
My respect to Natasha, but when she is saying that Snap eda can be used as it is without checking- don’t believe it. I found a many many mistakes there – mirrored footprints, origin placed on pin1 instead of the center (this is where centroid name comes from!), wrong 3D models, wrong footprints. Looks like they use interns to make all of this.
It always comes down to the old adage “Trust but Verify”!
vincent himpe says
IPC is overrated. They are years behind the industry and are in conflict with their own documents. According to the land-pattern standard the toe of a pin should land within the pad, according to their manufacturing standard it is ok for the toe to stick out beyond the pad … go figure. And for many packages the toe is non-wettable anyway.
As for snapeda : their symbols suck. Connectors are just a rectangular blob , often the pin order is wrong. The order should be as it is on the connector. Integrated circuits same thing. Nothing is grouped by function, pin names are incomplete. Opamps need to be drawn as an opamp , not a blob.
Their footprints do not follow IPC . They are still using the dot for pin one while IPC has moved to a line or corner mark. for BGA three corners should be marked with the pin 1 corner left unmarked so the AOI can position check. Also : the courtyards are defined wrong. A courtyard needs to encapsulate ALL objects and that includes silkscreen. It is also heavily advised to use rounded rectangle pads as opposed to rectangles since it gives better paste release.
vincent himpe says
On components that have thermal pads: there needs to be a windowpane design for the paste mask and a thermal via farm.
Great show and great guest.
That being said, I squirmed when Chris asked whether Natasha can push vendors to provide a standardized way to get symbols, parts, models. Be careful what you wish for!
I think there’s a big danger of creating another middle man’s walled garden. IMO, vendors and distributors relying on services like SnapEDA instead of offering open format data on their website is no better, if not worse than Ultra Librarian, and definitely a step back from today’s situation. The benefits of a symbiosis between SnapEDA and vendors are not automatically aligned with the interests of the lay engineer.
vincent himpe says
It wouldn’t be that hard to have an open format.
 denotes choice of 1
denotes optional parameter
you don’t need more than that to make footprints
a simple parsing script can translate that into your cad package format.
vincent himpe says
same for symbols:
Anthony May says
I was at that Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic meetup night in SF (late-2017?/early-2018?) where Natasha demo’d SnapEDA, with Chris asking some very hard questions about “trust”-related issues (quality of data).
I sampled SnapEDA then, and was left severely wanting, particularly with the ridiculous import process one had to go through to get their lib into Altium (and most of that blame lies at Altium’s feet for its close-source lib format).
I tried again recently, some 3 years later, for an ATmega328P chip symbol/footprint; one would think that such a pedestrian part would be well and truly nailed by now. But the symbol library file delivered in Altium format was completely empty, tho there was at least a footprint! *sigh*. The Particle Argon/Boron didn’t seem to be there at all, in symbol/footprint form (though I could buy it from them! lol).
I’d love SnapEDA to be able to deliver on its stated mission, and I’m right there with Natasha in screaming to anyone who’ll listen that having a million EEs all designing their own symbols & footprints – everyone reinventing the wheel a million times over – is a complete effing absurdity and monumental waste of time and human talent. I’m shocked that dozens of MBAs in companies with EEs haven’t figured this out yet and held the components/EDA industry to ransom for creating such gross externalities for the rest of the components-buying industry! It’s unbelievable to me that component manufacturer execs needs this sh*t explained to them by an outsider like Natasha, all the while the market for consumers of EE components having diversified enormously over the decades, where you’d think these execs would realise they need a better way to support more than the upper crust of companies lucky enough to have internal librarians (and FAEs on tap).
I sat through the last few years of Altium’s shirtful one step forward two steps back process of (a) getting Altium moved to a modern 64bit app platform (& was an extremely vocal critic of how they left some significant proportion of their customers out to dry with utterly debilitating bugs in v18 & v19, even contemplating jumping ship to KiCad!), & (b) getting component sourcing data and library (symbol/footprint/etc) data integrated into Altium, and I have to say, although it’s been a long and windy road, and it’s still buggy, especially their ActiveBoM, I think they’re almost there with the latest Altium 365 that’s now part of the famously expensive annual maintenance fee. I’ve taken my finger off the trigger 😉
I installed the SnapEDA plugin to Altium recently, and will try it some more, but honestly based on past experience, I’m not holding my breath 🙁