Update December 16, 2016

Copper 1.3 is finally released. You should find it as a Mac App Store update or if you bought in our own store as an update notification when starting Copper.

Update August 11, 2016

There is a new build available, Build 1999. We fixed a few minor bugs, but more importantly we hopefully fixed that issues with Mac Gate Keeper. Please let us know if you have trouble running the application.

  • It’s harder to import a part by accident (i.e. pressing Return key) by adding an “Are you sure” confirmation dialog
  • Hopefully fixed a bug with code signing causing some issues for some users triggered by Mac Gate Keeper
  • Improved performance slightly in schematic viewer by reducing font density (shouldn’t be noticeable) but reduces draw costs
  • Fixed some bugs with building the 3D PCB in special cases like cutouts and pads cutting halfway through the outline (like in ESP12 module). Building the board outline is quite robust now. Please send in support requests if you have trouble building the 3D board as it’s hard to find these bugs.
  • bNames is now positioned on the bottom layer instead of the top layer
  • Fixed a bug with vias being populated by two holes internally. If you had issues with boards with a lot of vias, please try again with this beta.

Download the latest beta here: Copper Beta 1.3 Build 1999 (Released August 11, 2016).

This will be probably the last open beta version before 1.3 will be released by the end of August. This is quite a lot later that I thought before working on 1.3. In fact I wanted to release 1.3 in March! This is a whopping 5 months delay. But STEP import proved to be quite a lot of work.

We will publish an updated roadmap once 1.3 is released. Thank you very much for testing/purchasing Copper and your kind feedback all the time.

Update Juli 28, 2016

There had been an issue with the new STEP-Import system preventing a lot of users from successfully uploading parts. This is fixed in the new version (Build 1984). STEP upload ist working now. If you tried it before, please try again. We also modified the way how the board outline is created for den 3D PCB. It fixes a bug we found in one of our own boards, but at least one user reported problems that weren’t apparent in the last beta build (1981). If you have issues with the 3D view, please let us know so we can tweak the new code.

Download the latest beta here: Copper Beta 1.3 Build 1984 (Released July 28, 2016)

Original Post

Exactly one year ago I started development of Copper. In November I released 1.0 to the Mac App Store and today I will release version 1.3 as a beta version. Version 1.3 is a very big release with it’s main feature as advertised numerous times: STEP model import. Please have a look at the previous blog posts about this feature as I have already written a lot about it, mainly about the design decisions I made during the development of this feature.

But 1.3 brings a lot of other nice features and bug fixes:

  • STEP-Import for 3D parts. They are uploaded to the cloud to keep with what we think is necessary for Copper to succeed in the long run (please read the other posts about that)
  • Refactored Inspector UI (added a 3D part inspector and removed 3D stuff from the part inspector)
  • Added a footprint analyzer that allows you to check pitch, pad sizes, pad distances, overall size buy just hovering the mouse over the footprint
  • Numerous smaller rendering bugs fixed
  • Added centroids layer that shows the dimension of all exposed copper pads and the calculated center and default part rotation. This is mainly useful for Pick and Place machines
  • Package browser can now switch between parts and packages
  • Searching for parts is much better, faster and has more options
  • Added new materials for 3D floors (Concrete, Blueprint, Dark Wood)

More info and download of the Beta on the bottom of this page.


I have written a new document that exactly describes how to import a part and what the requirements are. Please have a look here.


Refactored Inspector UI

After I added the footprint analyzer and pick and place setup the part inspector got so cluttered that I decided to extract all 3d part stuff in it it’s own inspector. There are now two inspector tabs handling parts. The first one shows all part information like specs, footprint (2D) and various other settings. I also rearranged the sections of the inspector. This way the more steady sections (that have always the same height) keep their position and the specs that have different height for each part are now the last one. This way you can quickly compare parts without having to search the relevant section in the inspector all the time.

Footprint analyzer

My last project I did failed because I made a mistake and added the wrong footprint for my part (QFN32 5×5 instead of QFN32 4×4). If I had double checked that I would have found the error with ease. To prevent such mistakes Copper now comes with a footprint analyzer. All you have to do is activate the (2D) part inspector and hover your mouse over pads of between them. Copper will measure the distance or size of the pad and displays the result near the mouse cursor. You can switch between various modes and units.

Opening the datasheet viewer like shown in the image below is a handy way of double checking your footprint. Navigate (or search) the recommended PCB land pattern in the datasheet, hover your mouse over the relevant parts in the footprint preview and you know if your land pattern matches that of the datasheet.

Centroids layer and part rotation

This is quite a complex topic and needs some documentation. It’s main purpose is to prepare your BOM for pick and place. There are numerous EAGLE ULPs that allow you to export files needed for P&P but they fail in a very important topic: part rotation. I will write a blog post in the next couple of weeks describing that feature in detail. As it’s not possible to export the relevant info at the moment (will come with 1.3.1) this feature is not very useful at the moment but will be and I wanted to add this user interface so I don’t have to change part inspector in the next release again. Hard enough you have to adjust your workflow once ;-).

Package and parts browser

You can now switch between packages and parts. Switch to packages lets you select all packages (say 0603) with one mouse click. This is mainly useful for pick and place setup in combination with the centroids and footprint rotation. As you will adjust the default part rotation by package rather than part it’s useful to be able to switch to packages list.

Another feature is searching for parts. This is so much more powerful. When you click in the search field of the part browser (search field is hidden in package mode!) you notice a small down arrow near the loupe icon. Press it and you find a few options like what is searched and if your query must exactly match or not. You can also use wildcards like * (all characters) or ? (one wildcard character). For example R* will find all parts that begin with r or R. R? will only find parts like R1, r2, R9 but will not find R12. Please around with that and you will get used to it very quickly. This is really useful and so much more powerful than the search before.

Numerous rendering bugs fixed

Copper had surprisingly many rendering bugs that were triggered in rare and very special cases. I used a lot of boards to fix those bugs. I also managed to fix quite a lot of bugs in texture generation for the 3D mode. The solder mask and silk screen will be much more precise now.

Download Beta today

You way download the current Beta here: Copper Beta 1.3 (115 MB). If you already have a license you can just open the Application as usual. If you bought in the Mac App Store or are a new user a trial of 7 days is available. If you bought in the Mac App Store and want to use the beta longer then let me know and I can send you a license-code for the non Mac App Store variant.

Please make a backup of your .cop files as it’s possible that it gets corrupted (should not of course, but beta!)