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best, (and smallest) way to get 3D data from Altium to SE.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi All,


Our Electronic department uses Altim to design PCB's. To date the only way we can get the PCB and it's parts into Solid Edge by exporting and importing as a step file.

We have found what we think is the best method to do this;


1. Export Step from Altium

2. Import to SE as an assembly

3. Simply assmembly to visible faces.

4. Save simplified as a part file.

5. Gasp and the size of the file and the time it takes to open.


This allows us to have the PCB as a single part and not clog up the database with millions of randomly named components.


The issue is the file sizes are massive. getting up towards 100Mb.


We have breifly looked into third party options, and to be honest we have not had the time to evaluat them fully.


Does anyone have an experience here, or at least an idea how to minimise the file sizes?




Betreff: best, (and smallest) way to get 3D data from Altium to SE.

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

Hi @Lumascape




and whats about improting the STEP directly into a part?

Will this work too or even better?




Re: best, (and smallest) way to get 3D data from Altium to SE.



We also use Altium for electronic circuit design and I have had exactly the same problem. The solution I currently use (may not be the best), is to have the electronics design people export the PCB only with the significant holes and any other features, without components or tracks, as a STEP file. They do this by selecting the required holes and other features and then using Export to STEP and use Options - Export Selected. I will then import the PCB as a part file and then create an assembly from it. I will then add SE versions of 'significant components' into the correct locations. These components are things like connectors, large items (particularly in height) i.e. anything that has or may have an influence on the mechanical assembly and are generally downloaded from the manufacturer's website. SMD of any mechanical significance generally also have fixing holes, so I use these holes to locate them.

I then have a manageable file with all features that are relevant to me doing the mechanical design.


Hope this helps. I would like to hear what solution you finish up with.

585 ST10 Win 7

Re: best, (and smallest) way to get 3D data from Altium to SE.

I have a similar task on the back burner, to be addressed once we get some priorities cleared up. The thread below has some good info, or you can search the forums for ECAD import:

Solid Edge ST6 - Unmanaged
Win7 Pro - Dell Precision Xeon rig, 16Gb, Quadro M2000

Re: best, (and smallest) way to get 3D data from Altium to SE.


Coming across this problem too. I use the same method as you. My problem is when i bring them into top level assemblies, it still loads all the little resistors and stuff into memory so top level assemblies are taking ages to save and open. Ive tried turning off the board components in higher level inside the occurence properties but some components still make it through! very frustrating.