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Explorer Support FAQs

What is DesignSpark Explorer?

DesignSpark Explorer is an essentials package with 3D modelling and PCB design software, complimented by basic engineering design services. It is designed to be a no-frills design platform to build out product concepts and get enriched data on the parts you design in. Using DesignSpark Explorer is free-of-charge to all verified DesignSpark members.

So, get your brilliant ideas from concept to prototype now with our easy-to-use tools!

Here’s what you get in the DesignSpark Explorer pack (as of November 2022 – beta phase):

DesignSpark PCB - unlimited schematic sheets and PCB layer count, multiple file formats, Create BOMs and get RS pricing, View PCBs in 3D, Generate Manufacturing plots and IDFs for mechanical enclosure design, Design Rule Check and Examine PCB before production.

DesignSpark Mechanical - 2D Sketch and 3D Geometry toolset, Import RSDOCS and IDFs (for PCB), Export 3D models in CAD neutral formats (STL, OBJ, 3D PDF), Measure and Quality tools, Enhanced Shading, and lighting, Create and export BOMs.

Access to online component libraries (2D symbols, 2D footprints, 3D models)

Parts intelligence – Manufacturer part number (MPN) search, RS Stock number search, Datasheets, EU RoHS, China RoHS and REACH compliance status, Product status (active, obsolete, etc.), Part Category and description.

Learning and Support - self-learning content (FAQs, tutorials, guides), support centre (troubleshooting articles) and community forum.

And, coming soon:

  • Cloud-based electronic circuit simulation and schematic design tool.
  • Cloud-based reference designs - supplier products and commonly used electrical circuits.
  • Sustainable Design Solutions.

Note: To existing DesignSpark users (download our software before November 2022), the Explorer software will have the same functionality as your current version but with a few fixes and enhancements. To keep our Mechanical software free-of-charge, we have had to restrict to fewer file formats for import/export and these are detailed in our support FAQs.

Who uses DesignSpark Explorer?

DesignSpark Explorer can be used by anyone looking for free-of-charge software and tools for concept creation and rapid prototyping. If you are a maker, hobbyist or student in higher education, our Explorer tools could be ideal for you. Looking for a new CAD system? Try Explorer for free to see if the basic DesignSpark CAD feature set works for you and consider our paid subscription tiers for more functionality.

Is DesignSpark Explorer free-of-charge?

Yes, membership of DesignSpark as an Explorer is totally free of charge and provides access to our great software, forums, content and design resources

Is commercial use of the DesignSpark software allowed on the DesignSpark Explorer plan and is my design IP protected?

Yes, commercial use is allowed on the DesignSpark Explorer plan. You will have full ownership (including Intellectual Property - IP) of any project you create with our software. Design files from our primary CAD software (DesignSpark Mechanical and PCB) are saved locally on the device you have installed the software to. Therefore, only you can access your own design files.

How many copies of each software can I install with 1 DesignSpark Explorer licence?

With DesignSpark Explorer, you can have 1 copy of each software installed on any computer. Our paid plans allow more copies per software.

How can I convert my DesignSpark Explorer licence to a Creator or Engineer licence?

Make sure you are logged in to and then look for ‘manage subscription’ in your account area. Select your new subscription plan and you will be guided through the remaining steps.

Do I need to renew DesignSpark Explorer?

No, your access to the Explorer will be for as long as you have would like access to our great software, forums, content and design resources with a free DesignSpark account.