ExactCAD was launched in 2006 as a vehicle to facilitate doing small-scale PCB and mechanical design projects alongside a full-time job. In some years there was a lot of extra work, in others there was not very much or none at all. Around the same time I started dabbling in writing small software scripts for CAD systems, starting with Ample code for Mentor Graphics Board Station.
A turning point occurred in 2007 when, after spending days on each PCB design manually typing a Bill of Materials table into a PCB Assembly drawing, I discovered a script used in a different part of the company that did the majority of this work with automation. The problem was that the script was designed to output one data field we did not use, and did not include one we needed. I looked through the script and discovered that by changing one number in it, an index in an array pointer, I could get the script to output the data exactly as we needed it. I got the script set up to work for us and thus saved hundreds of hours of tedious, boring, and error-prone manual work for our design group.
Change one number in a script, then use it to save hundreds of hours of labor per year. That’s something worth thinking about.
Once planted, the idea of using software to work faster and smarter grew, and has kept on growing. That is truly the legacy of ExactCAD. The software development work done in the intervening years has been rewarding both in terms of accomplishment and successful realization of the goal of helping PCB designers work faster and better.
As a result we are able to provide better value doing our own PCB design work, and we are able to help other designers do the same with theirs.
Intelligent use of automation by skilled designers magnifies and elevates the performance of both designers and their computers.
To provide excellent value in the PCB design work we do, and to enable all PCB designers to perform at a higher level.