The Start of the Digi-Key KiCad Library

Robert Nelson’s Desk. If this isn’t a real engineer’s desk I don’t know what is…

One thing you might not know is that Digi-Key employs a lot of people who help engineers, students, makers, and purchasers 24/7.  Our Applications Engineering department is filled with nearly one hundred Engineers and Technicians.  Not everyone builds boards or designs circuits regularly, but there’s a lot of knowledge sitting packed in this Thief River Falls, Minnesota cube farm.  We are very fortunate in that we are constantly trained by manufacturers, as well as have time to learn and grow our own knowledge in between customer inquiries.  Some of us are learning 3D CAD and printing, wireless and IoT things, embedded Linux, and many of us find interest in building electronics. The pursuit of these interests even spawned a board member of the Foundation, the all-around embedded Linux guru Robert C Nelson.

As part of this learning process an idea sprouted when trying build boards using KiCad.  Designing a board from generic parts with no link to something that’s purchasable in the real world kind of sucks, particularly when rapid prototyping. Rectifying generic or series part numbers can be a chore, especially when you have to track down the correct footprint to use with a part. So we decided to make a library.

The Digi-Key KiCad Library is an Open Source Licensed (CC-BY-SA 4.0) set of common and useful parts. All the parts are assigned full manufacturer and Digi-Key part numbers along with footprints and other goodies like part status and datasheet links. We are busily working on adding more common parts and welcome all feedback. To learn a little bit more take a look at this topic on the Digi-Key TechForum and check out the GitHub Repo.

About this author

Image of Ben Hest

Ben Hest, Senior Applications Engineer at Digi-Key Electronics, has been with the company since 2008 and has a primary focus on Microchip and TI microcontroller products. He considers himself blessed to be working for over 10 years with many seriously awesome people in Digi-Key’s Applications Engineering group and beyond. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND and his skills include hacking together a bunch of things he doesn’t understand to get a job done and knowing a tiny bit of everything. He doesn’t enjoy talking about himself in the third person and has very little time with 2.5 children under the age of three.

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