Altium Designer Documentation

SolidWorks Collaboration

Modified by Jason Howie on Jun 14, 2017
All Contents

Parent Page: PCB Panels


The SolidWorks Collaboration panel.

Summary

SOLIDWORKS and Altium Designer collaborate with each other through an ECAD-MCAD Project Collaboration Server (or Altium Vault), whose behind-the-scenes role is quite transparent. The designer working in each application uses the Collaboration panel to Push and Pull design changes from one application to the other. Notifications about incoming changes appear automatically in the Collaboration panel, as soon as a Push is performed on the other side. The SolidWorks Collaboration panel also allows you to examine and accept updates to your PCB from SOLIDWORKS, as well as view your push/pull notification history.

The Altium Designer PCB project must be stored in the Collaboration Server/Vault as a managed project for Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS to be able to collaborate on it. As well as being used to store the ecad data, the Collaboration Server/Vault also stores the shared design elements, including the board shape and an mcad model of each component. The other function of the Collaboration Server/Vault is for storing the collaboration change history.

Access

When the PCB Editor is active, click the button at the bottom-right corner of the workspace and select PCB from the context menu. Alternatively, you can access the panel through the View » Workspace Panels » PCB sub-menu.

This panel becomes available and functional once the Altium Designer SOLIDWORKS Collaboration extension is installed in Altium Designer and the Altium Designer - SOLIDWORKS Collaboration add-in has been installed for SOLIDWORKS.

Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen. If the PCB panel is currently in a group of panels, use the SolidWorks Collaboration tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Options/Controls

Pushing and Pulling Changes

The Push button is used to push changes from the active application into the Collaboration Server/Vault. The Pull button is used to pull changes from the Collaboration Server/Vault into the active application.

Before pushing your PCB document through to SOLIDWORKS, Save All modified files (Files menu) and commit all changes into the Collaboration Server/Vault (right-click in the Projects panel, select Version Control » Commit Whole Project). Ensure that the PCB is the active document. In the SolidWorks Collaboration panel, click the Push button. You will be prompted to enter a comment; do so, then click the Post button to complete the process, as shown in the images below. This action will:

  • Create a Parasolid model file for the board and each component in the design, and store them in the \<ProjectName> SOLIDWORKS Collaboration\Exported 3D Models\ folder in the working copy of the ecad project folder.
  • Release these models to the \Mechatronic 3D Models\ folder in the Collaboration Server/Vault.

   
The steps to collaborating from Altium Designer - click Push in the SolidWorks Collaboration panel, then Post a message to upload the shared elements (board shape and components).

The PCB project must be stored in the Collaboration Server/Vault as a managed project, for Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS to be able to collaborate on it. As well as being used to store the ecad data, the Collaboration Server/Vault also stores the shared design elements, including the board shape and an mcad model of each component. The other function of the Collaboration Server/Vault is for storing the collaboration change history.
When a Push is performed in Altium Designer, each PCB component is saved as a Parasolid model and uploaded to the Collaboration Server/Vault. For this to occur, the 3D Body object that holds the component must be visible in the Altium Designer workspace, if it is not visible, then the component is not uploaded to the Collaboration Server/Vault. In Altium Designer, the visibility of 3D Bodies is controlled in the Show/Hide tab of the View Configurations dialog, if the 3D Bodies option is set to Hidden then the components will not be uploaded.

Examining and Accepting Design Changes

If there is a new update to be pulled from the vault, the SolidWorks Collaboration panel will display a New Changes have been detected dialog. Click the View changes button.

 
Clicking to View changes in the Collaboration panel
.

Both Altium Designer and SOLIDWORKS present potential changes using a simple animation, flashing or animating a purple shape to represent the new object / location. The animated GIF below shows an example of three component relocations being passed from SOLIDWORKS to Altium Designer. Click on a proposed change to animate it in the workspace and enable the Accept checkbox to update the design to include that change. Use the commands in the right-click menu to toggle the state of multiple checkboxes.


The objects that have changed are presented in purple, making it easy to identify the before and after states. Enable the Accept checkbox for each change you want to make.

If you are not ready to Accept changes yet, click the . You can view and Accept them later by clicking the Pull button to re-open the dialog. Otherwise, wait until new updates are pushed through the SolidWorks Collaboration panel.

Notes

  • SOLIDWORKS Collaboration is a standard Altium Designer extension (DXP » Extensions and Updates), which adds the SOLIDWORKS Collaboration panel into Altium Designer.
  • Use of the SolidWorks Collaboration panel and feature requires Altium Vault 2.5 (or later). If you have an existing vault, it can be used but may require an update.
  • A managed project is not automatically available for collaboration. You must also perform a Push in the SolidWorks Collaboration panel to save the required collaboration elements into the Collaboration Server/Vault.
Found an issue with this document? Highlight the area, then use Ctrl+Enter to report it.

Contact Us

Contact our corporate or local offices directly.

You are reporting an issue with the following selected text
and/or image within the active document:
ALTIUM DESIGNER FREE TRIAL
Altium Designer Free Trial
Let’s get started. First off, are you or your organization already using Altium Designer?

If would like to speak with a representative, please contact your local Altium office.
Copyright © 2019 Altium Limited

In that case, why do you need an evaluation license?

If would like to speak with a representative, please contact your local Altium office.
Copyright © 2019 Altium Limited

Got it. You actually don’t need an evaluation license for that.

Click the button below to download the latest Altium Designer installer.

Download Altium Designer Installer

If would like to speak with a representative, please contact your local Altium office.
Copyright © 2019 Altium Limited

Please fill out the form below to get a quote for a new seat of Altium Designer.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.

If you are on Altium Subscription, you don’t need an evaluation license.

If you are not an active Altium Subscription member, please fill out the form below to get your free trial.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.

Why are you looking to evaluate Altium Designer?

If would like to speak with a representative, please contact your local Altium office.
Copyright © 2019 Altium Limited

You came to the right place! Please fill out the form below to get your free trial started.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.

Great News!

Valid students can get their very own 6-month Altium Designer Student License for FREE! Just fill out the form below to request your Student License today.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.

Got it. You can download a free Altium Designer Viewer license which is valid for a 6 months.

Please fill out the form below to request one.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.

That’s great! Making things is awesome. We have the perfect program for you.

Upverter is a free community-driven platform designed specifically to meet the needs of makers like you.

Click here to give it a try!

If would like to speak with a representative, please contact your local Altium office.
Copyright © 2019 Altium Limited

Got it. You can download a free Altium Designer Viewer license which is valid for a 6 months.

Please fill out the form below to request one.

By clicking “Get Your Free Trial”, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.
You may receive communications from Altium and can change your notification preferences at any time.