New Release Makes EAGLE and Fusion 360 Besties

The latest release of EAGLE builds a bridge between mechanical design and electronic design. Version 8.3 rolls in the ability to synchronize between EAGLE and Fusion 360. You can now jump between mechanical design and PCB layout without the need for extra steps in between. This is the first release of EAGLE that highlights what the Autodesk purchase actually means.

Just over a year ago, Autodesk bought EagleCAD which is one of the more popular PCB design suites for students, electronic hobbyists, and Open Hardware engineers. While there were some questions about the new license structure of EAGLE under the Autodesk banner, there was a promise of a faster development schedule and the possibility for integration of EAGLE with Autodesk’s CAD programs. Now it’s finally time for EAGLE and Fusion 360 to become besties.

The EAGLE and Fusion 360 integration update includes an online library editor with managed libraries. These online libraries are the ‘cloud’ solution to a folder full of custom EAGLE libraries filled with parts. These libraries package 3D models with the EAGLE libraries, simplifying mechanical design. You can place components on your PCB, then pull that layout into Fusion 360 to see how the board will work with your enclosure. Component placements that collide with the enclosure can be adjusted in Fusion before jumping back to EAGLE to fix the routing.

Embedded passive designs. The resistors *are* the PCB.

There are a few other interesting items in the release notes for EAGLE 8.3. At the top of the list is a new ‘board shape’ object. This is more than just a milling layer for a board outline — the board shape object can now be checked with DRC to ensure components aren’t too close to an edge. This also allows for new features like customizable cutouts and embedded passive designs, or putting resistors and caps in the layers of a PCB instead of placing them as discrete components.

With this release, there is a new Single Layer Mode. This mode only highlights the active layer of the PCB, leaving all other layers grayed out. To be honest, this feature should have been in EAGLE ten years ago, but late is better than never.

For the last year, those of us not complaining about the new EAGLE licensing situation have been watching the updates to EAGLE creep out of Autodesk. There has been a lot of speculation on what Autodesk would bring to the table when it comes to electronic design. This is it. It looks like Autodesk is fulfilling their promise to integrate electronic and mechanical design. The latest EAGLE release looks great, especially with the addition of walk-around routing and something resembling push and shove traces added earlier this year, combined with this update for the mechanical side of design projects.

You can check out a promo video from Autodesk of the new EAGLE release below.

71 thoughts on “New Release Makes EAGLE and Fusion 360 Besties

        1. They already are. Take a look at a heated print bed for a 3D printer. That’s just one big resistor. A capacitive touch sensor on a PCB is just a capacitor. A weird variable capacitor, but still a capacitor.

          Being able to engineer this into a circuit is another thing entirely, but it’s still the same general idea.

          1. I’m aware of that. I’m referring to completely removing discrete resistors and capacitors in cases where signal integrity, like biosensing applications, is critical. In these systems, 1% change in signal can be detrimental to a sensor’s performance. A heating element resistor doesn’t need to be perfectly tuned and a capacitive touch sensor is basically just binary, so no big deal there.

            I’m not familiar with the large scale use of embedded passives to replace 65% of discrete passives as the image in the article suggests.

            Not familiar with it so just trying to get more information. If passives can be made embedded with no change in performance and the same level of configurability (without having to go as far as making an ASIC of course or transistor level-which frankly isn’t necessarily great for bioinstrumentation), honestly, this could save me a ton of space on my boards since I mostly do analog electronics anyway.

    1. There are several advantages – slightly lower inductances for capacitors, more components layers (for every layer of embedded components you get essentially another layer you can put parts on), outer layer can be used for EMI/RF shielding, mechanical reasons (flatter design)… it’s not pointless, most of the time you can get on well enough with out such features, but there are times when you’ll appreciate them.

      1. No. They are literally talking about embedding parts in the PCB. That’s why they needed to redesign the board shape tool. It’s also a new feature in competing tools too.

  1. Is Eagle popular? Or is it required for way too many courses and used in way too many tutorials? Not that I don’t like it (I can’t stand it! Blasted rectangles for resistors and colors all wrong. How is anybody supposed to read those schematics?). Maybe they will fix it up.

    1. You can set the colors to whatever you want(Options > Set > Color tab in any editor). In the rcl library, if you use the R_US device you will get US resistor symbols instead of the EU rectangles.

      Hope this helps.

      Best Regards,
      Jorge Garcia
      Autodesk EAGLE support

        1. It’s also pretty amazing that Autodesk kept Jorge Garcia; he’s been with Cadsoft for what, like 15+ years now? At least as long as I’ve been a paying customer of EAGLE. Glad they didn’t throw him out with the bathwater. Jorge is a stand-up guy and very knowledgeable.

          That being said, the new subscription model that Autodesk is doing is the most infuriating thing imaginable. It was a wonderful slap in the face after being a paying customer for so long. Version 7.01 is the last version of if that I will ever pay for.

          So long EAGLE, I’m off to learn KiCad and Altium.

          1. I use KiCAD now, though to do really good work you have a very steep and long learning curve and plenty of frustrating “features”. I had a full paid Protel for ages and KiCAD is the closest. Well, maybe Diptrace, which I tried for a while.

          2. Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been with EAGLE for about 8 years actually, but yeah it feels like I’ve been here forever.

            Just so you know you can actually download V7.7 you are entitled to it for free and you don’t have to stay stuck on the first release of V7 which had a few annoying bugs in it (notably FlexLM ;) ).

            Hope this helps.

            Best Regards,
            Jorge Garcia
            Autodesk

    2. Very.

      Rectangle or squiggly line all comes down to which component you pick, both types (called R-EU and R-US) come with the program by default. Or make your own components (or download one of the huge amount of community made libraries that are out there) if you don’t like the look of it.

      As for colours. Not sure, it can probably be changed but it’s not something I’ve had a problem with personally so I’ve never looked into it.

    3. Absolutely! Why use an internationally agreed upon standard if you can use a symbol only used in the US and by those unlucky enough to have to deal with US designs.

      In the past, the majority of the market might have been US based, but that time is long gone. I for one am very happy to get rid of inches, weird squiggly lines instead of nice rectangles and pounds instead of (kilo)grams.

      But then again, I was born on planet Earth. Not in the US of A.

        1. And that’s just it. That’s exactly it! The US did not own the world and sure doesn’t today. Almost every country in the world has a common system of measurements, common symbols, common specifications and even common goals for our planet. And like it or not, but the US needs the rest of the world.

          The rest of the world, however, is starting to move away from the US. Not just because the US market is becoming smaller and smaller percentage-wise. But also because it’s quite frankly a damn pain to work with you. Diplomatically, the US simply can’t be trusted. Security wise it has become a necessity to keep your US data and other data strictly separate. Economically, the US is a problem because nobody knows what your commander in Tweet will think of tomorrow. And then there is your damn units. I’ve worked for companies that were forced to have whole departments committing to US customary units due to your trade regulations.

          Joining the International Community doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t change your identity nor your way of life. It’s the refusal that will.

          1. And a good thing too! When I get a traffic ticked because the turn indicator LED on my flying car fails in Indonesian airspace, I can get a proper standard replacement from any local warlord.

            Don’t worry, when that day comes the market will deal with it.

        2. I wish there was a roll-eye emoticon on hackaday for that kind of posts.

          “Who are the rest the world to tell me what I’m doing wrong! I’ll keep measuring in chicken feet lenght until the day I die! That’ll teach them!”

    4. It’s very popular in the hobbyist market (most responses you’ll see here). In businesses, ~95% of it is Cadence/Altium/Mentor Graphics though. I’ve never seen Eagle used at any place I’ve worked at in over 20 years…

  2. The licensing issue and being locked out of design changes once a subscription ends are still non-starters for many folks including me – regardless of how many features they add.

    And I’m not sure promoting a work-flow that relies on ‘cloud libraries’ is useful for the higher end users. I don’t trust any library footprint I didn’t add myself. And I attach meta information to custom library parts that aid me in inventory management, BoM management, and pick and place info generation (via custom XML tools) – which cloud libraries wont have. I would rather see them make generating 3d models for custom entry library parts easier to do (and cross check with other footprints). Another reason why I can’t stomach Eagle anymore – they don’t listen to their pro uses when it comes to features.

    1. Hi ahcsalan,

      I hope you’re doing well. We released a set of videos today explaining more about how all of this works. The cloud libraries (we call them managed libraries) are actually your own libraries, you place them on the cloud in order to link 3D models to them allowing Fusion360 and EAGLE through exchange information that way. All of your custom meta information is preserved in this scenario and you can generate your own 3D models without issue.

      See the videos here:

      If you would like to have your voice heard, I encourage you to participate on our forums and share you opinions with staff and other EAGLE users.

      Hope this helps.

      Best Regards,
      Jorge Garcia

      1. It looks nice, but the cloud thing is a big no-no. AFAIK there is no way to use Fusion 360 without access to the server. That is a huge problem. If there are problems with connection, or if Autodesk will decide to drop support for it, designs are unavailable. That is unacceptable for serious business.

        1. you can use it in offline mode, but you have to be careful that when you do connect to the servers occasionally if you don’t clear the cache it’ll upload data.

          inventor is more or less the non cloud fusion360.

      2. Thanks for the clarification Jorge (and participating here). But I unless AutoDesk can come up with a licensing solution that works for customers like myself, a small independent EE consultant, I need to find an alternate solution. After doing some competitive shopping, some of your competitors are significantly more expensive but offer significantly more functionality and an off-line use model. Eagle 7.6 Pro still works for me today, but even if 8.x had everything Cadence or Zuken offered, it still would be a no-go.

        1. I’m in the same category here. Been a loyal customer up to 7.6 pro. I’ve been using this product for designing boards for 20 years. I’m very happy with version 7.6, but I know the day will come when it won’t be enough. All the new features won’t help unless I can use it with a perpetual (or reasonable) off-line license with backward compatibility. Sorry for being somewhat off-topic, but I hope that Autodesk is listening.

          1. There was huge controversy about the announcement, because Autodesk was listening to people worried about a possible subscription model, and proved they were listening by saying there were no plans to go to a subscription-based service for Eagle. Only a few months later, they went to subscription. They listened but decided anyone who needed an off-line license was not a customer they cared to keep around.

      3. I am a professor at a major EE school. I used to tell my students about how Eagle was great and accessible and why they should use it for their projects. Now I use it as an example of what to avoid in an engineering software package. Breaks my heart, but you guys have become the poster child for unsustainable development practice and dangers of the cloud.

  3. It would be interesting to see how it stacks up to SolidWorks electronic CAD system. I’m in the process of learning how to use SolidWorks, and would like to get into electronics side as well but I have a few dozen schematics still in the older version of Eagle. Nothing fancy though. One thing I’ve missed a lot in eagle is the visualization part of the PCB and the design of a case. I’m building a diy CNC, it’ll be interesting how the workflow is to make PCBs as well as cases and frontplates.

    1. SolidWorks works great with Altium. It’s a fantastic combo (both are great on their own, and there’s pretty good integration too). As for SolidWorks PCB, well, we’ve been thoroughly unimpressed… It still very much feels and acts like an MCAD tool… I don’t have anything nice to say about it (just like Eagle). You’re better off putting your efforts and money on one of the traditional ECAD packages (Cadence/Altium/Mentor Graphics). They’re standard tools, far better at the job, it’s easier to hire for, and people prefer learning software packages that keep them employable (the big names). Just my $0.02

      1. Ok, thanks for the heads up. I don’t like Eagle that much either but it fulfills my needs so far. It would be nice to have something that can be turned into a 3D model without too much effort.

    1. @Andrew Sowa: Have you tried the StepUP toolkit ( https://sourceforge.net/projects/kicadstepup/ ) for KiCAD/FreeCAD? StepUP “marries” KiCAD and FreeCAD. StepUP imports the KiCAD pcb file and assembles it in FreeCAD, from where it can be exported in STEP and many other formats. StepUP automatically aligns the VRML model, used by KiCAD’s 3D viewer, with the STEP model of the particular component. So, you do not export a STEP model straight from KiCAD; you read the *.kicad_pcb file into the StepUP macro, running under FreeCAD, and StepUP looks at each component’s coordinate, pulls its STEP model, and assembles the whole populated pcb into FreeCAD. From FreeCAD you can then export the whole populated pcb in STEP or any other of the many formats FreeCAD supports. Both FreeCAD and KiCAD are open-source. Both KiCAD and FreeCAD have quite a lively third-party macro/script support. StepUP has been refined quite a bit since the last time it was mentioned on HaD.

      Of course, you still need STEP models, but I found out that 3DContentcentral ( https://www.3dcontentcentral.com/ ) and, to a lesser extend, snapEDA cover most of my needs for STEP models. StepUP is maintained very well. I don’t know much about Eagle to make a comparison, but I am posting this because it seems to me that the excellent third-party support for KiCAD/FreeCAD is not well known.

      1. I tried StepUp and it was a little clunky. I think the nightly step export works better for me. The main things I want are: a versioned release with step export, the vrml libraby converted to step, and silkscreen on the step file. I use the silkscreen to denote keep outs and other important fit issues so it makes the translation to MCAD more confusing. It sucks to have such a nice 3D preview I can’t share in any other program.

        I admittedly have not put much work into FreeCAD but it’s very different than I visually think. I find parametric modeling by drawing line and further constraining them more intuitive.

  4. Remains a non-starter for me due to the licensing change. When my kids are ready (just another year or two) I’ll learn KiCAD alongside them. Disappointing, but I need to be able to make large boards (for non-commercial uses) without the monthly cost. Come back to us, EAGLE? After we set down the KiCAD route, there’s not going to be any coming back.

    1. I just love KiCAD so much! I wish so much they’d sort the UX out. It’s no better or worse than anything else (except Altium), but it’s still the main problem.

    2. Word. Eagle lost a n early adopter (1994 maybe?) running on DOS. I must have taught 100 engineers o use Eagle, and they stabbed us all in the back with the new bullshit on-line licensing. Nope. Sorry folks I do not rent my tools, I own them.

      As for KiCad, it sucks. Any “real” CAD software has to have seamless backward-forward annotation or it is just a hobbyist quality tool. I am going to Altium, and I am bringing hundreds with me.

      Attention Auto-desk: NOT EVERYONE HAS AN INTERNET CONNECTION AVAILABLE TO PHONE HOME TO YOUR ASS! Many “real” companies that build “real” things keep the internet out of the design lab.

  5. I’m liking the new feature of easily separating the ‘default’ libraries from my custom libraries. Especially as of late when updates are being pushed so frequently (that gets a bit annoying but you can’t gripe too hard about them working to improve their product), it’s nice to be able to just copy the previous custom library into the new Eagle directory and pick up where I left off.

  6. I got it, Eagle needs PR. I can tell you, I really tried to like Eagle, but if you worked with any professional CAD before, you won’t be able to work with it. Don’t waste your time on useless software. With professional software your productivity is much higher, and time is money.

  7. Version 1.2.4 of the FOSS PCB layout editor pcb-rnd was released the other day.

    http://www.repo.hu/projects/pcb-rnd

    In addition to Eagle XML layout import support (including netlists), version 1.2.4 now includes support for legacy v3, v4 and v5 binary format Eagle layouts.

    pcb-rnd also supports loading KiCad legacy and s-expression formats, as well as save to KiCad s-expression format, so there is now a convenient pathway for anyone needing to revisit older Eagle designs with FOSS tools, whether it be in pcb-rnd, gEDA PCB, or KiCad.

    Testing and bug reports are welcome. Binary are yet to have DRC and netlist import sorted out, but that is next on the to do list.

    On the topic of CAD, with tools like Inkscape, FidoCadj and pcb-rnd, some pretty complex board shapes are possible:

    Enjoy responsibly.

  8. I am using Eagle for more than 10 years as a hobbyist and very happy with upcoming new features. But that “login needed” thing and several long time connection makes me a little upset. Loving Eagle over KiCAD because Eagle is for me real machine for work with expectable results.

  9. Sounds interesting, even if there are some drawbacks of the Autodesk ecosystem, as mentioned before.
    One thing i would like to know is how easy is it with this solution to do clearance/collision testing? Currently i use Altium Designer and import geometry as STEP files (from PTC Creo or other CAD tools) for cases, and every component (footprint) has a STEP file attached to represent it’s 3D body. With Altiums collision rule DRC i get a pretty good idea where my parts get too close to a case, and i can easily make exceptions in the rules for components that actually need to have lower clearance. Is something like this even possible with the Eagle/F360 combo? Or do i have to set up technical drawings with a lot of cuts thru the 3D model and find collisions by hand?

  10. Srsly? keep going with the licence thing while you have guys (in china) willing to let you use their EDA tool for free, hoping to you buy the PCB from them?

    try easyeda.com

    Its not exactly friendly user, but it is so much effective for free, that you might consider again what you expect the software to do.

    Also, you want to do 3D crap and are playing Linux? well, you must think you’re on your own, trying to deal with freeCAD (dam, i hate that software too much, have you tried to change one dimension from the beggining of the design? it all goes to hell as soon as you do that), and other adaptations like blender.

    Dude, please check the website onshape.com

    Boom, where is your god now?

  11. So the folks at Eagle still have the “rent it, you dont own it” mentality ?
    Sorry folks, you continue to loose a TON of income from me, and any
    other customer where the development computers NEVER touch the internet.

  12. So far I’m actually very happy with Eagle. The new features are great and a big time safer.
    The costs for the Pro version is really low and has all the capabilities we need for circuit design.
    If they continue with this level of development I’m more than happy to accept this license model.
    We don’t need the reliability to still open project files in 10 years, our work is short lived and designs are forgotten about after 2 years. Cloud software as much as I dislike it, is in practise, for many smaller companies less of an issue than it actually is made to look like.

    1. > We don’t need the reliability to still open project files in 10 years, our work is short lived and designs are forgotten about after 2 years.
      Sounds not like any product I want to buy. I’m even inclined to say that this is the opposite of good engineering. Good engineers build things to last.

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