Finally the step all this preparation has been leading up to! Fritzing doesn’t allow creating new parts from scratch, so the only way is to edit existing ones. In the breadboard view, add in some part – the accelerometer we used before, for example. Right-click on the part and select the option “Edit (new parts editor)”. The parts editor will open in a new window.
Figure 30. Fritzing parts editor
The parts editor is pretty similar to the main Fritzing window. There are the three basic views (Breadboard, Schematic and PCB), however, there also three extra tabs: Icon, Metadata and Connectors. Icon tab allows you to select an icon for your part. Metadata allows you to edit parameters like the name and additional information about the part. Connectors view allows you to add or remove connecting pins and change their name and type.
First, we need to set the three basic views. Go to the breadboard view and in the “File” menu, click “Load image for view”. Then, select the SVG breadboard file we created in step 2. After that, do the same thing for schematic view and for PCB view.
Figure 31. ML8511A breadboard view
Next, we’re going to edit the connectors. Open the Connectors tab and set the number of connectors to 4. Then, change the connector names so that they match the connectors on the real board.
Figure 32. ML8511A connectors view
After you have set everything in the Connectors tab, we need to assign the connectors to objects in the SVG files. After this, Fritzing will know where to connect wires to our part. Open the Breadboard view and in the bar to the right, click the button “Select graphic” for the first connector (VDD). Now, when you hover over the SVG graphic, it will highlight different SVG elements in purple. Click the element that you want to use as the connector. There will now be a dotted cross over that element, and a tick mark next to the VDD pin in the right-side bar. Repeat this for all remaining connectors in the breadboard view, as well in schematic view and PCB view.
Figure 33. Assigned VDD connector in the breadboard view
Now we need to add all the additional information about the part. Open the Metadata tab and change the Title, Author and Description. Optionally, you can change the properties and tags to help better classify your new part.
Figure 34. ML8511A metadata view
The final detail we are still missing is to add an icon that will be displayed in the part bins. You can either create a new SVG graphic for the icon, but you can also reuse the graphic from breadboard, schematic or PCB view. I recommend using the one from breadboard, since it is designed to look just like the real part. Go to the Icon tab, and in the “File” menu, select the option “Reuse breadboard image”.
Figure 35. ML8511A icon view
Save the part by clicking “Save as new part” in the “File” menu. You will be prompted to enter a filename prefix, but it’s not necessary, so just leave the default value. We’re done! You can now close the parts editor and open the main Fritzing window. Your new part will be in the “My Parts” bin, and from now on, you can use this just like any other Fritzing part!
Here are the new parts in the Fritzing breadboard view, connected to a breadboard!
Figure 36. Finished ML8511A, BH1745NUC and BD7411G parts in Fritzing
There’s one last extra step! You can now make an original contribution to the Fritzing community and let other people use your part. To do that, right-click the part in the “My parts” bin and select “Export Part”. The part will be exported as .fzpz file, which you can share online!
This concludes my short guide on creating custom Fritzing parts. You can leave any questions or feedback in the comments below this article. And if it helped you create your own Fritzing parts, post the results in the comments as well!
Jan is currently studying Electrical Engineering at Brno University of Technology. He has many years of experience building projects using Arduino and other microcontrollers. His special interest lies in mechanical design of robotic systems.