My PCB design software, Eagle, among many others will produce an output called IDF which is a sort of 3D block representation of components on the PCB. One can then replace rectangular blocks with more exact models of the parts very much more simply than exporting the PCB and orienting components to the holes, which is what we have done in the past.
According to Eagle web site IDF can be imported by "most" mechanical design packages.
Inventor and Solidworks are specifically mentioned. Searching for IDF in Solid edge help and this forum returns zero hits.
Does anybody know of a way to get IDF into Edge?
Design Manager Streetscape Limited
Solid Edge ST10 [MP1] Classic [x2 seats]
Thanks. Searching forums didn't find that one.
This tells me that if I spend $1995.00 I can get something that works for me.
PCB design is a very small part of what we do. We produce only a few boards a year.
I called a friend who has both ACAD inventor Pro, and Solidworks, but not the 'premium' version.
He can import .idf files into inventor, and can convert them to .stp for me. Solidworks won't do it unless you upgrade to 'premium'.
There is a service that will take your .idf file and send you a step assembly, with all the parts converted to look like real resistors, capacitors and connectors. But it is quite expensive, and it runs on their server. (you upload your file, and they send back a step.)
A gerber translation would be pretty useless, and most of the programs will export a dxf so it is not really needed. I learned from your link that .idf format was invented by Mentor Graphics, one of the biggest EDA firms and then released to the public. It was specifically made to be a link between EDA and mechanical cad.
Until Siemens wants to catch up, I'll send my files to be converted via Inventor.
In my experience most ecad systems output 3d step files these days as they have their own 3d visualisation tools. However a solution I have used in the past can be found at http://www.desktop-eda.com.au/ I have no idea of cost.
We have been using PCB to 3D from TLDi for about 15 years, It works very well for Electro mechanical exchange between Mech & PCB CAD software while maintaining the intelligence of PCB data: Placement/Route obstructs, component package/cell names, reference designators etc. as far as I am aware, all other formats strip this intelligence away.
We do lots of PC boards and new designs always start with input via an IDF file from Mech. CAD
I disagree that the IDF format can be read by most mechanical design packages as it is a specialized format specifically for the exchange of PCB data and is useless for anything else.
Thanks to all for the great replies. Both the Australian product and TLDI look very capable.
And both likely more expensive than we could justify right now, though it wouldn't take too many complex projects at all to pay for it. The most complex board that I've ever had to model from the DXF containing just the holes and outline was probably less than 150 components, and that took less than a day as I recall, including creating all the special connectors and packages.
I might play around with the open source version referenced just to get an idea of what is possible.
We'll see what Inventor output looks like. I think I know somebody running Solidworks premium too and I'll see what it can do.