Kiplot Save

KiCad plotting utility

Project README


KiPlot is a program which helps you to plot your KiCad PCBs to output formats easily, repeatable, and most of all, scriptably. This means you can use a Makefile to export your KiCad PCBs just as needed.

For example, it's common that you might want for each board rev:

  • Check DRC one last time (currently not possible)
  • Gerbers, drills and drill maps for a fab in their favourite format
  • Fab docs for the assembler
  • Pick and place files

You want to do this in a one-touch way, and make sure everything you need to do so it securely saved in version control, not on the back of an old datasheet.

KiPlot lets you do this.

As a side effect of providing a scriptable plot driver for KiCad, KiPlot also allows functional testing of KiCad plot functions, which would otherwise be somewhat unwieldy to write.

Using KiPlot

You can call kiplot directly, passing a PCB file and a config file:

-b $(PCB) -c $(KIPLOT_CFG) -v

A simple target can be added to your makefile, so you can just run make pcb_files or integrate into your current build process.

    kiplot -b $(PCB) -c $(KIPLOT_CFG) -v


Set up a virtualenv (if you installed KiCad normally)

If you installed KiCad from a package manager, or you used make install, you probably have the packages and libraries on you system paths.

virtualenv --python /usr/bin/python2.7 --system-site-packages ~/venv/kiplot

Set up a virtualenv (if you installed KiCad locally)

If the pcbnew Python package is not installed at a system level (e.g. if you are building locally and not installing to the system, you should not need any system packages:

virtualenv --python /usr/bin/python2.7 ~/venv/kiplot

However, you must make sure pcbnew is accessible to KiPlot. You might need to add it to the PYTHONPATH.

You might also need to set LD_LIBRARY_PATH (you need to be able to load

For example, if you installed in ~/local/kicad, you might have:

export PYTHONPATH=~/local/kicad/lib/python2.7/site-packages
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/local/kicad/lib64

Install KiPlot to the virtualenv

Activate the virtualenv:

source ~/venv/kiplot/bin/activate

Install kiplot with pip -e:

cd path/to/kiplot
pip install -e .


There are some tests. Run them with pytest:


TODO list

There are some things that still need work:

  • DRC checking - that can't be done over the Python interface yet. If/when this is added to KiCad, KiPlot will be able to also be used for DRC functional tests instead of a complex additonal test harness in C++.
Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Kiplot" Project. README Source: johnbeard/kiplot
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3 years ago

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