A utility for converting images into gEDA PCB compatible footprint artwork.
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image2footprint is a utility for converting images into gEDA PCB compatible footprint artwork, which can be used to decorate a PCB, or assist in duplicating an existing PCB.

image2footprint is licensed GPL2, or at your option, GPL3 or higher.

image2footprint is a simple utility that uses the java ImageIO class to load .jpg or .png files and convert them into gEDA PCB compatible footprints for placement on PCB layouts.

The user can specify a pixel pitch (in microns), which is equal to the spacing between dots in the rendered silk screen image, in millimetres. The default is 0.5mm, which is equivalent to 500,000 nanometres.

The user can also specify a final image size (yet to be implemented) in terms of height and width, specified in mm, and the provided image will be scaled to this final size on the final footprint. The image dimensions should ideally be integer multiples, m x n, of the pixel pitch, so that the resulting image will be m x n pixels in size.

Transparent layers or any other features which are not to appear on the final footprint should be made black with a suitable graphics editor, i.e. the GIMP.

The converter assumes a white silkscreen on a dark soldermask background. For each pixel in the source image, the luminosity of the pixel is used to generate a silkscreen dot, the area of which is scaled in proportion to the source image pixel's luminosity.

The user can specify a minimum silk dot size; the default is 8mil, which is equivalent to 203 nanometres.

Specifying a minimum pixel size (in centimils) is equivalent to specifying a threshold luminosity, below which silk dots are not generated. This may be of use when converting a photograph of an existing PCB into a footprint, upon which trackwork and features can be snapped to grid to duplicate the PCB.

The user can add corner points to the top left and bottom right corners with the -cp command line flag, to assist with placement of the footprint on layouts of a defined size and with a pre-determined alignment.

The utility exports three versions of the footprint:

The luminosity value ( 0...n ) is then used to determine the dot size on the silk screen:

thickness = diameter = sqrt((luminosity/n) * pitch^2)

The user can select which footprint looks best.

If the picture is of an existing PCB being duplicated, pure white pixels can be placed visually where pins are located in a graphics editor before invoking image2footprint with the -wslscp "Would Sir Like Some Cracked Pepper" option. This will place a pin on the footprint wherever a pure white pixel is found. This option, if used with the minimum pixel size (brightness) threshold, can facilitate automatic duplication of component holes and pads of an existing PCB. If combined with processing of the original image with potrace and pstoedit, to produce copper layer polygons matching the PCB tracks, duplication of an existing PCB should be quite simple.

Obviously, the appearance of the manufactured PCB will depend on the capabilities of the PCB manufacturer, and their in house conversion of the Gerber data supplied to them.

The utility can be compiled with gcj as a standalone native binary, but it seems that the gcj libraries are a bit broken with .png files. Natively compiled binaries seem to work fine with jpegs, however.

TODO - Kicad compatible export - gamma corrected conversion to greyscale - user defined scaling of the image during conversion - figure out why gcj libraries are broken with png image import


install a jdk for your OS

javac image2footprint.java

java image2footprint picture.png -mp 600 -pp 400 -cp

 -mp XXX	specify minimum pixel size(centimils)

 -pp YYY	specify pixel pitch (microns)

 -cp		add corner points to footprint

 -wslscp	"Would Sir Like Some Cracked Pepper?" Sprinkle pins on any pure white pixels.