Altium NEXUS Documentation

PlaceComponentBody

Modified by Tiffany Cullen on Apr 25, 2019

Parent page: PCB Commands

The following pre-packaged resources, derived from this base command, are available:


Applied Parameters: None

Summary

This command is used to place a 3D Body object onto the active document. A 3D body is a primitive polygonal design object that is placed on any mechanical layer, and used to represent the 3 dimensional shape of the physical component that is mounted on the assembled PCB. Any number of 3D body objects can be used together to create complex shapes. The available 3D body shapes include extruded polygon, cylinder and sphere. Typically they are placed into a PCB library 2D component footprint, but can be placed within the PCB Editor. Their overall shape is displayed when the editor is switched to 3D display mode. In addition, an external 3D model can be embedded, or linked to, with the 3D Body becoming simply a container for that model.

Placing 3D Body objects to define the components' shape allows the designer to get a real sense of the arrangement and organization of the components on the assembled board. As well as being able to see what the finished board will look like, real-time 3D clearance checking can be performed.
For detailed information about this object type, see 3D Body.

Access

This command can be accessed from the PCB Editor and PCB Library Editor in the following ways:

From the PCB Editor:

  • Choosing the Place » 3D Body command from the main menus.
  • Choosing the Place » Extruded 3D Body command from the main menus.
  • Right-clicking in the workspace, then choosing Place » 3D Body from the menu.
  • Right-clicking in the workspace, then choosing Place » Extruded 3D Body from the menu.

From the PCB Library Editor:

  • Choosing the Place » 3D Body command from the main menus.
  • Choosing the Place » Extruded 3D Body command from the main menus.
  • Locating and using the 3D Body command () on the Active Bar.
If the command has been recently used from the Active Bar, it will become the active/visible button. Where other commands are available, this is indicated by a triangle at the bottom-right corner of the button. Click and hold on the active button to access a menu of all associated commands for that grouping.

Use

After launching the command the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter 3D Body placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Press the Tab key to access the Properties panel, from where initial properties for the 3D Body can be defined. Pressing Tab pauses placement, allowing you to interact with the panel (or other area of the software) directly.
  2. In the Properties section of the panel select the 3D Model Type from the available shapes: Extruded, Cylinder or Sphere. Alternatively, enable the Generic option, should you wish to embed/link to an external 3D model.
  3. Each 3D body can be named, this helps identify each element when multiple 3D bodies are placed to create a complex shape. Enter a suitable name in the Identifier field.
  4. Each shape must have a defined size before it can be placed.
    1. Extruded - define the Overall Height and Standoff Height.
    2. Cylinder - define the Radius and Height.
    3. Sphere - define the Radius.
  5. In the Display section of the panel, set the Override Color and the Opacity as required. Note that these can be edited later if needed.
  6. Click the pause symbol that appears over the workspace, or press Esc to return to the workspace.
  7. If the shape is Cylinder, Sphere, or Generic, the cursor will be moving in the workspace with a rectangular shape attached. Click, or press Enter, to place the 3D body.
  8. If the shape is Extruded the cursor will present, ready to define the polygonal base shape of the extruded 3D body:
    1. Click, or press Enter, to define the first vertex.
    2. Move the cursor ready to place the second vertex. The default behavior is to place 2 edges with each click, with a user-defined corner shape between them. Refer to the Placement Modes section below.
    3. Continue to move the mouse and click, or press Enter, to place further vertices.
    4. After placing the final vertex, right-click, or press Esc, to close and complete placement of the 3D body. There is no need to manually close the 3D body as the software will automatically complete the shape by connecting the start point to the final point placed.
  9. Continue placing further 3D bodies, or right-click, or press Esc to exit placement mode.
Press the Tab key at any time during the placement process to access the Properties panel, from where properties for the 3D Body can be changed on-the-fly. Pressing Tab pauses placement, allowing you to interact with the panel (or other area of the software) directly. To resume, click the pause symbol that appears over the workspace, or press Esc.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement are:

  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the body anti-clockwise, or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in accordance with the value for the Rotation Step, defined on the PCB Editor – General page of the Preferences dialog.
  • Press the L key to flip the body to the other side of the board. This will change the Body Side, and also flip to a mechanical layer that has been paired with the current mechanical layer.
  • Press the + and - keys (on the numeric keypad) to cycle forward and backward through all visible layers in the design respectively – to change placement layer quickly.

Placement Modes

While placing an extruded 3D body there are 5 available corner modes, 4 of which also have corner direction sub-modes. During placement:

  • Press Shift+Spacebar to cycle through the 5 available corner modes: 45 degree, 45 degree with arc, 90 degree, 90 degree with arc, and Any Angle.
  • Press Spacebar to toggle between the two corner direction sub-modes.
  • When in either of the arc corner modes, hold the  or  keys to shrink or grow the arc. Hold the Shift key as you press to accelerate arc resizing.
  • Press the 1 shortcut key to toggle between placing 2 edges per click, or one edge per click. In this second mode, the dashed edge is referred to as the look-ahead segment (as shown in the last image in the set below).
  • Press the Backspace key to remove the last vertex.

Press Shift+Spacebar to cycle through the 5 available corner modes, press the 1 shortcut to toggle placement between 2
edges or 1 edge.

Tips

  1. 3D body objects can be placed with the display in 2D mode or 3D mode. When a 3D body is placed in 3D mode, object movement is restricted to the X, Y plane, that is the cursor cannot be moved in the Z direction. Generally it is easier to perform initial placement in 2D mode, where objects can more easily be aligned.
  2. Generic model support includes STEP (*.Stp and *.Step), Parasolid (*.x_t and *.x_b), and SolidWorks (*.SldPrt) formatted models.
  3. When linking to a 3D Model file (rather than embedding), a model is selected through the Choose Model dialog, which lists all models along defined model paths. If no model paths have been specified, click the Add Directories button in that dialog to access the PCB Editor - Models page of the Preferences dialog. From here, you can define paths to your 3D models.
  4. While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to bring up the Properties panel), bear in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.


Applied Parameters: Mode=BodyMaker|ContextObject=Component

Summary

This command allows you to manage the 3D bodies for the component currently under the cursor (in your PCB design), or the active component (in your PCB library), all from a single location - negating the need to pop open the Properties panel for each 3D Body. A 3D body is a primitive polygonal design object that is placed on any mechanical layer, and used to represent the 3 dimensional shape of the physical component that is mounted on the assembled PCB. Any number of 3D body objects can be used together to create complex shapes. The available 3D body shapes include extruded polygon, cylinder and sphere. Typically they are placed into a PCB library 2D component footprint, but can be placed within the PCB Editor. Their overall shape is displayed when the editor is switched to 3D display mode. In addition, an external 3D model can be embedded, or linked to, with the 3D Body becoming simply a container for that model.

For detailed information about this object type, see 3D Body.

Access

This command can be accessed from the PCB Editor, and PCB Library Editor:

  • PCB Editor - right-click over a placed component and choose the Component Actions » Manage 3D Bodies command from the context menu.
  • PCB Library Editor - choose the Tools » Manage 3D Bodies for Current Component command from the main menus.

Use

After launching the command, the Component Body Manager dialog will appear. The dialog provides the options and controls for managing just the 3D bodies for the chosen component (or active library component). Use it to see which 3D bodies are currently being used in the component, and which are not. Bodies can be added to and/or removed from, the component as required. Bodies can be of three distinct types:

  • A purposefully placed 3D Body (referred to as a Component Body in its description).
  • A rectangular shape automatically created by the software from a bounding rectangle.
  • An enclosed polygonal shape automatically created by the software from design primitives.

You can also modify other properties for a body, such as heights, body projection, registration layer, and color and opacity.

Once the 3D bodies for the component have been defined as required, clicking the Close button will effect the changes.

Tips

  1. The Component Body Manager allows fast management of the 3D Bodies used in a component, and modification of various attributes, but does not provide a means by which to change the type of 3D Model used in a 3D Body. For this, you will need to explicitly access the Properties panel - which presents the properties for the currently selected object - for each body being used in the component.


Applied Parameters: Mode=BodyMaker

Summary

This command allows you to manage the 3D bodies for all components in your PCB design, or all components in your PCB library, all from a single location - negating the need to pop open the Properties panel for each 3D Body. A 3D body is a primitive polygonal design object that is placed on any mechanical layer, and used to represent the 3 dimensional shape of the physical component that is mounted on the assembled PCB. Any number of 3D body objects can be used together to create complex shapes. The available 3D body shapes include extruded polygon, cylinder and sphere. Typically they are placed into a PCB library 2D component footprint, but can be placed within the PCB Editor. Their overall shape is displayed when the editor is switched to 3D display mode. In addition, an external 3D model can be embedded, or linked to, with the 3D Body becoming simply a container for that model.

For detailed information about this object type, see 3D Body.

Access

This command can be accessed from the PCB Editor, and PCB Library Editor:

  • PCB Editor - choose the Tools » Manage 3D Bodies for Components on Board command from the main menus.
  • PCB Library Editor - choose the Tools » Manage 3D Bodies for Library command from the main menus.

Use

After launching the command, the Component Body Manager dialog will appear. The dialog provides two tabs:

  • Interactive - this tab provides the options and controls for interactively managing just the 3D bodies for the selected component in the Components region of the dialog. Use it to see which 3D bodies are currently being used in the component, and which are not. Bodies can be added to and/or removed from, the component as required. Bodies can be of three distinct types:
    • A purposefully placed 3D Body (referred to as a Component Body in its description).
    • A rectangular shape automatically created by the software from a bounding rectangle.
    • An enclosed polygonal shape automatically created by the software from design primitives.

You can also modify other properties for a body, such as heights, body projection, registration layer, and color and opacity. In this mode, changes are applied only after closing the dialog.

  • Batch Update - this tab provides a facility for quickly adding 3D body objects to all or selected components, en masse. You can define search criteria for detecting and creating 3D bodies, and for defining 3D body properties. After defining all options for the batch process as required, click the Execute Batch Update button. The search will proceed for each component included in the process and, where a 3D body shape is detected and created, that body will be added to the component using the defined property criteria. In this mode, changes are applied upon execution of the batch update.

Tips

  1. The Component Body Manager allows fast management of the 3D Bodies used in a component, and modification of various attributes, but does not provide a means by which to change the type of 3D Model used in a 3D Body. For this, you will need to explicitly access the Properties panel - which presents the properties for the currently selected object - for each body being used in the component.
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