I’m taking a fresh look at PADS for electrical layout support. Although not as slick as Altium, the levels of entry, and perpetual licensing make this an enticing platform for collaborative work. The $500 MakerPro package: Pads Standard, Pads Standard Plus, and $9000 Pads Professional are all interesting.

I originally used PADS 15-20 years ago, for some pretty complex designs, well before integrated 3D modelling was available. And over the last 15 years, Altium has been the tool of choice for high-end client designs. But when supporting others, Diptrace, Eagle, and Orcad have also been necessary, due to the cost/complexity trade-off.

An attraction for going back to PADs is the leveled, purchased licensing that they’ve established. I feel that this will give my Clients cheaper ownership and targeted buy-in, for their particular use case. Additionally it may be attractive for closed or military contracts. The family feature comparison looks good, but I’m not sure about costs, or how well they play with the MakerPro package. So I intend to find out.

Is this interesting? Or a waste of time?