Docs Site

Github Pages

Github CIFree Service

Regardless of the static site generator you choose, using Github Pages as the hosting service for your documentation is a great choice. It is free to deploy, completely automatic after your CI script is set, and there’s tons of documentation around getting started. Plus, managing your documentation in git means it’s incredibly easy to manage docs release alongside product updates.


Open SourceGithub CI

MKDocs is by far the easiest and most straightforward to get beautiful documentation on the web. Accepting garden-variety Markdown as the copy format, it’s dead simple to write for, and the results look spectacular. MKDocs also is very easily deployable using Github Pages, so a simple git push origin main will deploy your doc instructions to production. Fixing a bug on the site can literally be a less than a minute ordeal.



Free Service

Discord is effectively a nice UI wrapped around the basics of IRC. Many communities have flocked to Discord as a place for conversation over the past 5 years, and in response Discord recently released a number of community-specific features that make this even easier. Some pithy features are gated behind a paywall, but the basic communication functionality is fantastic for building an engaged community. Given that it’s real-time text communication, discussions can happen much faster than in something like a forum.


Open SourceFree Service

Discourse is the best way to build your own forum. Although conversation might happen a bit slower in a forum rather than a Discord server, the results of discussions are highly searchable, and a forum setting is more familiar to some folks than a real-time chat app.


MCAD automation tools are mostly geared towards exporting as STLs or STEPs for 3D printing, or rendering an image for viewing/BOM usage. Open CAD packages like FreeCAD, OpenSCAD, and CADQuery take the most advantage of this, handling all exports using their CLI interfaces. Proprietary tools can take advantage of automatic rendering by first exporting to an interchange format. See bulk exporting for Fusion360 and Solidworks.

AutoBOM (Opulo’s BOM Generator)

Open SourceGithub CI

AutoBOM is a series of Python scripts and CI builds developed by Opulo that automatically exports a standalone downloadable webpage Bill of Materials based on a GitHub repo. AutoBOM expects to find an up-to-date bom.csv file in the repo’s root directory, and that source files are made with FreeCAD and KiCAD. The BOM will even include rendered images of all FreeCAD files and KiCAD PCBs included in the bom.csv. You can see an example by downloading the file attached to the most recent release here.

FreeCAD STL Export

Open SourceGithub CI

OpenSCAD STL Rendering

Open SourceGithub CI

OpenSCAD CLI Manual

  -o part.png
  --colorscheme BeforeDawn
  --imgsize 512,512
  --quiet --render --projection=o --viewall --hardwarnings

Blender .blend Rendering

CLI rendering in Blender


Open SourceGithub CI

KiBot is an export tool for KiCAD designs. KiBot is capable of exporting gerbers of your board, 3D models, images, stencils, and even run ERC/DRC a final time before export.

KiBot is great for automating the export of gerber files on release, or when run manually in GitHub. It can also help with exporting images of PCBs for documentation purposes. For example, Opulo feeders have a CI workflow that automatically exports all feeder PCBs for easy community use and reference.


Open Source

Turn KiCad designs into Blender files to create beautiful renders for your PCBs!

pcb2blender example

Web Viewers

Open SourceFree Service

3D Viewer is a fantastic tool for sharing and viewing FreeCAD source files (among many others). You can easily share links to view a FreeCAD file that’s hosted on Github. Example It also has embedding support, allowing you to put a 3d viewer on your own site, which you can see above.


Open SourceFree Service

KiCanvas is a fantastic tool for sharing and viewing KiCAD source files. You can paste a GitHub link into to immediately view in-browser. You can also easily share links to view a FreeCAD file that’s hosted on Github. KiCanvas also has embedding support, allowing you to put a KiCanvas viewer on your own site.

Github Hardware Viewer Chrome Extension

Open Source

gh hardware viewer screenshot

The Github Hardware Viewer is a Chrome extension that allows you to view 3D models and KiCAD source files natively in Github. This tool uses KiCanvas and as the rendering engines.


Free Service