Import images into Cadsoft Eagle

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 in techniques, utilities by Ian

We’re trying to take it up a notch by adding the Dangerous Prototype logo to future PCBs. We weren’t sure how to do this in Cadsoft Eagle, so we thought we’d share what we did.

The Cadsoft miscellaneous downloads page has a number of utilities and Perl scripts that convert images to Eagle compatible scripts. We tried a few, and liked BMP2EAGLE the best. BMP2EAGLE works by converting simple monochrome bitmap images into dots that can be drawn in Eagle with a script.

  1. The bitmap format used by our usual photo editor wasn’t compatible with BMP2EAGLE.  We saved the logo as a large (450px wide) GIF file, loaded that in Windows Paint and saved it as a BMP. Windows Paint outputs a compatible format.
  2. Start BMP2EAGLE and load the image file.
  3. The ‘Scale’ setting determines how big each bitmap pixel will be in Eagle. We got the best ‘resolution’ by using a large image and small scale value (0.2mils per pixel) to produce a small logo.
  4. BMP2EAGLE scripts draw the black areas of the bitmap, tick ‘Negative’ if you’d rather draw the white areas.
  5. Click start to output the script.
  6. Open Eagle and create a new part library, then create a new package.
  7. Run the script (file->script) to draw the image on the new package. Save the library.
  8. Load the library for use (library->use). Add the logo from the library directly to the PCB (there’s no schematic component).

Maybe this will help someone else import a logo or image into Eagle. There’s a few other conversion utilities in the Cadsoft miscellaneous download folder if BMP2EAGE doesn’t work for you.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 at 8:08 am and is filed under techniques, utilities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Responses to “Import images into Cadsoft Eagle”

  1. Kevin says:

    Great post! I’ve played around with BMP2EAGLE but was never able to get decent output from it. Also never thought to make it a library part, good call.

  2. Yann says:

    Eagle (5.x) also has a ULP named “import_bmp” which will do exactly this. I suggest making library parts out of your images.

  3. Mike Szczys says:

    I’ve wondered how to do this in the past. Thanks for the tip Ian.

  4. Rob says:

    That’s way better than my method of trying to draw stuff with the polygon tool. Which wasn’t *that* bad the first time I tried it, but when it came time to re-size it, I gave up on the idea. Much nicer to have this option.

  5. Chupo_cro says:

    There is a problem with bmp2eagle and Eagle 6.2.0:

    Source bitmap.

    The result.

    It has to do something with the .bmp file format. I tried to save the bitmap as Windows 1 bit, Windows 1 bit with flipped row order and OS/2, but the results were similar as on the picture. Same when I tried to save the bitmap with a few different picture editors.

    I think any programmer who was programming bitmap libraries could recognize what exactly is the problem with the conversion, because the resulting picture obviously isn’t completely wrong. It is in fact the source bitmap but with ‘slightly’ misplaced pixels. And it in fact isn’t the first time I saw a picture with the same problem (I know it doesn’t have anything with video deinterlacing, the ‘effect’ just looks similar).

    Can anyone, please, confirm the same problem?

  6. Ruben Llamas says:

    How can I do the same thing but for layer 1 or layer 16??? When I used a layer different than later 21, Eagle says it is not available.

  7. Lucid Tronix says:

    There is a tutorial on how to use the import-bmp.ulp available from LucidTronix here

  8. I made my logo into a library part, and also gave that part a value in which I put the board # – that way when I generate a BOM for a board, I not only get the components that go on the board but the PCB itself.

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