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ECAD to MCAD

Does anyone use a solution for going from ECAD models for circuit board assemblies to Solid Edge?  We currently have a package that our electricals use, but it is kind of clunky.  We first have to model up the component parts for them.  Convert them to STEP.  Then they import them into their software.  They have to edit the header, because for some reason one of the lines in the header crashes their software.  They then place all of the components and export out another STEP file.  I then import the STEP and have to deal with all of the broken solids to get the parts to be correct.  But then the origins are all messed up as well.  Their software also converts exterior board outline curves to a bunch of line segments.  They also have a hard time keeping the alignments of the holes to the proper accuracy to ensure that I can assemble them easily in SE.  It would also be good to have the traces and pads modeled into the surface correctly.  Right now they export out a TIF file of the upper and lower traces, and I have to superimpose that onto my model.  

 

If anyone out there has some good solutions, I am all ears.

6 REPLIES

Re: ECAD to MCAD

I tinker with Eagle PCB at home (free for non-commercial). It uses third party https://www.ecad.io/ to do generation of 3d files and is pretty good. A good feature is that you can just assign an arbirary height to a component if it cannot find it in its library. 

 

It's certainly good enough for generating something to design housings round etc. and seems to work with lots of ECAD programs.

Re: ECAD to MCAD

We have been using PCB to 3D from TLDi for about 17 years; it uses the IDF 2 and 3 format.

It handles most electro-mechanical aspects: board outline, component placement drilled holes routed cutouts, trace/via keep-outs, placement keep-outs; but it will not model any type of conductive element: traces, ground planes, vias etc. I believe the IDF 4 spec addresses some of that, but I don't know of any other program that takes advantage of the IDF 4 specification.

 

Re: ECAD to MCAD

We use a package called DIP Trace, and it is supposed to be pretty good, but it seems to be lacking much of the ability to translate adequately.  I don't know why someone hasn't licked this problem yet with a package that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Re: ECAD to MCAD

with Siemens purchase of Mentor Graphics I would expect to see integration teams forming soon to make connections between ecad and the splm cad tools much 'tighter'.

Re: ECAD to MCAD

One would hope, especially as Mentor Graphics & SDRC developed the IDF format; sadly, PCB/Mech exchange was found wanting during the many years that we used Mentor graphics. In the last couple of years, since we switched to Cadence, IDF data exchange has been a breath of fresh air.

Re: ECAD to MCAD

I used to use Desktop EDA.

They use the IDF format. Comes with a Solid Edge plugin that really works. 

Matt Hunt IEng.MIED
Design Engineer
M-Flow Technologies

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