Positioning & Orienting the Boards in Your Multi-board Assembly in Altium Designer

Created: April 12, 2022 | Updated: May 31, 2022
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Parent page: Creating the Physical Multi-board Assembly

Now that you are comfortable with rotating and turning your view using the Workspace Gizmo and the keyboard and mouse shortcuts, the next step is to learn how to orient and position the boards (and other objects) within the workspace.

When you click on a board, it will highlight in the selection color (the default is green), and colored orientation lines and arcs will appear. These colored lines and arcs are collectively referred to as the Object Gizmo, which you use to move and reorient that board within the workspace.

The Object Gizmo appears when an object is selected.The Object Gizmo appears when an object is selected.

Each board in the assembly is loaded into the workspace with the same orientation as it was designed in the PCB editor. The object will retain the same X, Y & Z axes it had when it was created in the PCB editor, regardless of that board's current orientation in the Assembly editor.

Reorienting and Repositioning a Board

When the Object Gizmo is displayed, click and hold on a(n):

  • Object Gizmo Arrow - to move the object along that object axis.
  • Object Gizmo Arc - to rotate the object around that object axis. During rotation, there is a slight stickiness whenever the object axis aligns with a workspace axis.
  • Selected object - move the object across your Current View Plane. Because the Current View Plane is defined by how you currently have the view oriented, it can be difficult to predict where the object will be in the three-dimensional space if you move it using this technique.

To give a predictable result as you drag a selected object, first use the Workspace Gizmo to reorient the view so that the Current View Plane is aligned with one of the three Workspace Planes.

Use the Object Gizmo to rotate or reposition a board.

Constraining Movement to a Plane or an Axis

  • To constrain object movement to a workspace plane (shown in the previous video):
  1. Use the Workspace Gizmo to reorient the workspace, as described in the Workspace Gizmo section. This orients your Current View Plane to be the same as the chosen workspace plane.
  2. Select the object, then click anywhere in the workspace and drag the selected object(s). Remember that whenever you move a selected board, that movement is constrained to the plane defined by your current view.
  • To constrain object movement to an object axis (shown in the previous video):
  1. Select the object to be moved; its Object Gizmo will be displayed. If there are multiple objects to be moved, use Shift+Click to select additional objects.
  2. Click and drag on the appropriate Object Gizmo arrow to slide the selection along that axis.

Aligning an Object to a Workspace Axis

  • To align an object with a workspace axis (shown in the previous video):
  1. Select the object so that the Object Gizmo is displayed.
  2. Use the appropriate colored arc to rotate the object in the required direction. There is a slight stickiness in the motion whenever you cross a workspace plane. Use this behavior to guide you as you align the object.
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