Altium Designer Documentation

Enhanced 3D Model and Export Support

Modified by Jason Howie on Dec 14, 2017
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Tight collaboration between the ECAD and MCAD design environments is essential for many designers today. Altium Designer supports collaborating with SolidWorks, and other MCAD tools that can import Parasolid-format files, in the following ways:

Extended Model Support

3 dimensional component models can either be created from Altium Designer 3D Body objects, or a 3D model can be imported into a 3D Body object in either the PCB editor, or the PCB Library editor.

The following 3D model formats can be used in Altium Designer:

  • Altium Designer 3D Body Objects, place these to build up the required component shape.
  • STEP models - *.Stp and *.Step (203 & 214 formats)

The following 3D model formats can also be used, once the MCAD Co-Designer: SOLIDWORKS® extension has been installed and licensed:

  • SolidWorks parts - *.SldPrt (up to 2015 format)
  • Parasolid Models - *.x_t and *.x_b (up to V27)

Generic model support now includes STEP, Parasolid or SolidWorks format models when choosing a model
in the 3D Body dialog.

Enabling the Extended Model and Parasolid Export Features

Support for SolidWorks and Parasolid format models, and the Parasolid format export, is enabled by installing the MCAD Co-Designer: SOLIDWORKS® extension (DXP » Extensions and Updates). You will also require an MCAD Co-Designer - SOLIDOWRKS (R) license, which is enabled along with your regular Altium Designer license.

Export in 3D

Completed PCB designs can be exported in the following formats:

  • STEP 3D
  • Parasolid text format (requires the MCAD Co-Designer: SOLIDWORKS® extension to installed and licensed)

Select the required output format in the File » Export menu. Both formats can output all of the supported model kinds, so your board can use any mixture of 3D Bodies, STEP, Parasolid and SolidWorks models.

A board exported in Parasolid format, displayed in CAD Exchanger, note that the copper was included in the export.

Support for Exporting Copper

Copper can now be included in the 3D export of your PCB, if you export in the Parasolid format.

The top layer copper, shown in Altium Designer on the left, and after the Parasolid file was imported into SolidWorks.

Enable the required Copper Export Option in the Export Options dialog. Note that including the copper can result in very large files that take a long time to generate and load into your preferred MCAD tool.

Parasolid export supports including the copper in the exported file.


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