We had a busy weekend in Chicago where we attended KiCon 2019. On Friday 26th and Saturday 27th of April, Sierra sponsored the first KiCad users conference. Or, as KiCon said it best, “The first and the largest gathering of hardware developers using KiCad.”
Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, it was. Let’s dive into the recap of this event full of surprises.
What is KiCon?
If you listen to Amit Bahl, our Director of Sales and Marketing, ”it’s an amazing place where innovation around hardware is happening. Sierra, hopefully with KiCad, can make a big difference in hardware development.” Because this is what KiCon is all about: hardware development and innovation. Printed circuit boards are the heart of electronics. The whole tech industry relies on them. And where does it all start? With a good design, of course.
For Chris Gammell, KiCon organizer and electronics design consultant, the main goal was ”mostly getting it off the ground! But I was also hoping to bring together the developer and the manufacturing community.” Mission accomplished.
KiCon brought in experienced electronics designers to share their best practices. The classes taught attendees how to get the best out of KiCad to build advanced products. One of the main points of focus of the conference was to show users what’s “under the hood” of KiCad. The end goal was to demo how you can use the tool to supercharge your next design.
What about the attendees? Who were they? As Chris Gammell told us, there was a wide range of PCB designers and KiCad users. ”Some people were learning KiCad for the first time. Others were learning expert level skills. Some people were just there networking too!”
The Manufacturer Panel
Designing for manufacturing can be a constraint. This is when theory meets reality. A good PCB designer knows to design with their manufacturer’s capabilities in mind. If not, it might just fail. This is why KiCon arranged a manufacturer panel for designers to share their doubts and issues and get some answers from the experts.
It seems like you can count on a second edition next year. According to Chris Gammell, KiCon 2020 will probably be a thing. And before that, KiCad is even thinking about going to Europe. As you can see, this is already becoming a well-oiled designer conference!