Parent page: PCB Objects
A 3D body is a primitive polygonal design object that is 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. They can be placed into a PCB library component footprint. Their overall shape is displayed when the editor is switched to 3D display mode (press the 3 shortcut). 3D body objects can be placed on any mechanical layer.
The following 3D model formats can be used in Altium Designer:
Generic model support includes STEP, Parasolid, or SolidWorks format models when choosing a model from the 3D Body dialog.
3D bodies are available for placement in the PCB and PCB Library Editors, by selecting Place » 3D Body.
After launching the command the 3D Body dialog will open. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:
During placement 3D model item revisions can be referenced from the Vault (If you are using Altum Vault 2.5 or newer).
The quickest, and easiest way to use a revision of a 3D Model Item is to place it directly from the vault into a PCB or PCB Library document, creating a 3D Body object that references that Item Revision. The 3D Body object can then be fine-tuned as required. To place:
Conversely, if you are defining the 3D Body object, and want to reference a 3D model that is stored in an Altium Vault, this can be done from within the 3D Body dialog, when defining the properties for the body.
To do so:
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, press the 1 shortcut to toggle placement between 2
edges or 1 edge.
This method of editing allows you to select a placed 3D body object directly in the workspace and change its size, shape, or location, graphically.
For an extruded 3D body, click once on the object to select it, which puts it into edit mode. The outer shape of the 3D body object is defined by a series of edges: where each edge is represented by an end vertex at each end, and a center vertex in the middle, shown as a solid white squares. Each end vertex represents the location where 2 edges meet.
A selected extruded 3D body.
The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:
Dialog page: 3D Body
This method of editing uses the following dialog to modify the properties of a 3D body object.
The 3D Body dialog can be accessed during placement by pressing the Tab key.
After placement, the dialog can be accessed in one of the following ways:
An Inspector panel enables the designer to interrogate and edit the properties of one or more design objects in the active document. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering, the panel can be used to make changes to multiple objects of the same kind, from one convenient location. The Inspector panel is ideal for editing 3D body objects as the changes can be seen in the workspace without needing to close a dialog. For example, if you are aligning two body objects with the display in 3D mode, you can watch as you change the Model Z setting for one of the objects (there is a brief pause after changing a 3D Body setting in the Inspector panel).
A PCB List panel allows the designer to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering, it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing the designer to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.
Extruded objects can also include an image overlaid on the upper most surface. When a Texture File is added it is automatically stretched to fit to cover the entire upper surface of the 3D body, as shown in the image below. This can be adjust by altering the Center location, Size and Rotation settings in the 3D Body dialog. Note that the texture file is embedded in the Library or Board file.
Supported Texture File formats include: *.bmp;*.dds;*.dib;*.hdr;*.jpg;*.pfm;*.png;*.ppm;*.tga.
A texture or logo can be added to an extruded 3D Body object.
Snap points and lines of Axis can be added to a 3D body. Snap points define points at which the 3D body can be held. When the cursor is moved close to a snap point and a click and hold is performed, the cursor will jump to and hold the 3D body at the snap point. The image below shows a 3D body with 2 snap points defined. Axes can be added to provide a visual aid for positioning and orienting a 3D body.
Add Snap Points to a 3D Body to hold the object during positioning.
Add Component Clearance design rules to check for collisions between components that include 3D body objects in the X, Y and Z planes. This allows the designer to fit one component over another component. Multiple rules can be defined to handle different clearance requirements. Note that the Design Rule Check does not test for 3D body objects passing through the board.