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What’s New in Autodesk EAGLE: Brand New Routing Engine

Sam Sattel

Autodesk-EAGLE-HERO

I think we can all agree that routing in the EAGLE of the past wasn’t always the easiest or most enjoyable process. Need to delete a track? Well, first you need to select that lovely trashcan tool, then select each segment of your track you need to remove. One by one. Or maybe you had to work on a DDR, wireless, or USB layout? You probably spent hours manually routing the tracks on those dense boards, and it was far from easy. Routing in EAGLE didn’t just need some improvements, it required a complete redesign from the ground up, which is exactly what we did in Autodesk EAGLE version 8.0. It’s brand spanking new! Let’s see what we’ve got inside.

Why We Reinvented the Wheel

We think that routing should be an enjoyable experience and a fluid one. It should be a process that provides a designer with complete control in ways that feel intuitive without having to endlessly swim against the current, fighting with your tool. This was our primary reason for completely rebuilding the Autodesk EAGLE routing engine. We wanted it to be more flexible and more natural to use so that routing can feel like the truly creative process that it is.

But why go about reinventing the entire routing engine wheel for just one release?

Oh no, my friends, there is so much more coming. We made this engine from the ground up to serve as a foundation for all of our planned improvements in the future. This is just the start. The tip of the iceberg.

There are so many more improvements around the corner, and none of them would have been possible if we hadn’t made the hard but necessary decision to completely rebuild the routing engine in Autodesk EAGLE from scratch. While we don’t want to spoil all of the fun stuff we’ve got planned in the future, you can look forward to:

  • Routing through your PCB layout without worrying about shorts with obstacle avoidance.
  • Laying down length tuned and diff-pair traces in real-time for all of those high-speed layout.
  • Maneuvering traces around even the densest PCB layouts with real-time push and shove routing.

Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. This blog is all about what you get to enjoy today, let’s take a look.

Feature 1 – Rapid Fire Segment Removal

We all know that routing is a trial and error process. You lay down a track, you aren’t too crazy about the placement, and find yourself removing it to try a different route. In the EAGLE of the past, this process of place and remove wasn’t intuitive at all. You had to select the trashcan tool, click the track segment you wanted to remove, then rinse and repeat. This took way too much time, and way too many clicks.

Now in Autodesk EAGLE, if you find yourself with a trace segment that you want to remove, press the Backspace key while you’re routing and it’s gone. That’s one less click of the mouse and one less movement away from what you’re trying to focus. So now you can stay in the routing zone, and rip and remove track segments as you please without ever breaking your focus.

New-routing-feature-backspace

Feature 2 – Real Time Via Placement

Remember what it was like to place a via in the EAGLE of the past? You first had to decide where you wanted to place them all beforehand, but this was only half the battle. Then you decided they weren’t in an ideal spot after you laid down your tracks. If they were, you had to finish your routing, then go back and move your vias.

This process didn’t make much sense. You should be able to place your vias automatically while doing your routing, and easily choose what layers to put them on. So in Autodesk EAGLE, you can now see a via before it ever gets placed. And not only that, there’s some handy keyboard shortcuts that allow you to quickly switch layers without ever having to take your hand off the mouse.

new-feature-via-placement

 

Feature 3 – Automatic Loop Removal

Here’s a fun one. Can anyone guess what happens in the old version of EAGLE when you need to reroute an existing trace and end up creating a loop in the process? Yeah, that loop doesn’t go away. You had to place your new trace, then rip up the old one. We wanted to make this layout optimization process more intuitive.

The most obvious solution was to make the removal of these loops automatic. This is a great time saver for every designer out that there likes to optimize their board layout to take advantage of every last inch of space. This also gives you the freedom to try multiple routing paths for your traces without having to do that silly place and delete dance. Now all you have to do is toggle the Loop Remove On feature, make your adjustment, and any loops are automatically removed!

loop-remove-routing

Laying the Groundwork

We made a promise to you guys that we intend to keep – to continuously improve your design tool. To make it more intuitive, and more responsive to your needs. This new routing engine is the first step in this journey, and it’s not the last. Let’s face it, the routing engine in the EAGLE of the past needed some serious improvements. It was manual, it was tedious, and it took all of the creativity and flow out of what routing should be, a form of engineering art.

So this new routing engine in Autodesk EAGLE was made for all of your routing daredevils out there. Be bold, place those tracks, rip them up, and never stop experimenting and optimizing! We can’t wait to unveil some of the new routing improvements that we have planned in the future, all thanks to the new routing engine we’ve got running under the hood.

Ready to take this new routing engine for a test drive? Try Autodesk EAGLE for free today.

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