A screenshot from 123D Circuits

Autodesk today expanded its suite of free 3D tools by partnering with Circuits.io to launch an electronics design tool: 123D Circuits.

The program allows users to create virtual breadboard-based designs to build and experiment with circuits. A virtual Arduino board can be added to the design, and the code can be edited in a browser window and simulated. The code can also be edited collaboratively (“a Google Doc for electronics” Autodesk claims).

The program also provides hooks that allow users to have the virtual boards professionally manufactured.

123D Circuits was created in collaboration with Circuits.io, a free Web-based circuit editor that was created by two developers based in Ghent, Belgium.

123D Circuits is free for open designs. For those interested in creating private circuits, the cost ranges from $12 to $25 a month.

The new program joins a growing collection of free Autodesk “123D” 3d tools that provide relatively simple, lightweight on ramps to 3D scanning, designing, and modeling.

The new program will be hosted on the Circuits.io site. For those interested in experimenting, the development team has created a number of Instructables and a collection of help pages.

So what do you think: does this fill a gap in the 3D creation world? Will it find a significant niche among people who are trying to learn circuit design? Will its virtual testing capabilities mean that fewer Arduino boards will meet untimely ends?