Altium NEXUS Documentation

Configuring PCB 3D Body Object Properties in Altium NEXUS

Created: December 1, 2020 | Updated: April 10, 2021

Parent page: 3D Body

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PCB Editor object properties are definable options that specify the visual style, content, and behavior of the placed object. The property settings for each type of object are defined in two different ways:

  • Pre-placement settings – most 3D Body object properties, or those that can logically be pre-defined, are available as editable default settings on the PCB Editor - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog (accessed from the  button at the top-right of the design space). Select Component Body in the Primitive List to reveal its options on the right.

  • Post-placement settings – all 3D Body object properties are available for editing in the 3D Body dialog and the Properties panel when a placed Extruded 3D Body or a standard 3D Body/Component Body is selected in the design space.

      

The 3D Body dialog and the 3D Body mode of the Properties panel

A standard 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 following 3D model formats can be used in Altium NEXUS:

  • Altium NEXUS 3D Body Objects; place these to build up the required component shape.
  • STEP models - *.Stp and *.Step.
  • SolidWorks parts - *.SldPrt.
  • Parasolid Models - *.x_t and *.x_b.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the PCB Editor - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 
In the below properties listing, options that are not available as default settings in the Preferences dialog are noted as "Properties panel only".

Location 

The  (locked) icon to the right of this region must be displayed as  (unlocked) in order to access the below fields. Toggle the lock/unlock icon to change its lock status. 
  • (X/Y) 
    • X (first field) - the current X (horizontal) coordinate of the reference point of the 3D Body, relative to the current design space origin. Edit to change the X position of the 3D Body. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial, include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. 
    • Y (second field) - The current Y (vertical) coordinate of the reference point of the 3D Body, relative to the current origin. Edit to change the Y position of the 3D Body. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial, include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. 

Properties

  • Identifier - enter a human-readable name used to identify the 3D Body object. Identifiers are useful for selecting a 3D body in the PCB panel.
  • Board Side - use the drop-down to select from which side of the board the 3D Body will project. This setting is automatically changed if the 3D Body object is flipped to the other side of the board as part of a component flip.
  • Layer - use the drop-down to select on which layer the 3D Body exists. Only layers that are currently enabled are available. If the chosen layer is paired, then when the body is flipped to the other side of the board as part of its component, it will also be moved to the paired layer.

3D Model Type

Select a model type for the 3D body object from the available options: Generic, Extruded, Cylinder, or Sphere. The options vary for each type and provide controls necessary for sizing and positioning in the 3D design space.

  • Generic ​- when this option is chosen, the 3D Body object acts as a container for it and it is automatically resized to enclose the chosen model.
    • Rotation X° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the 3D model around the X-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Rotation Y° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the 3D model around the Y-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Rotation Z° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the 3D model around the Z-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Standoff Height - the distance from the board surface to the underside of the 3D model. Click the +/- buttons to increase or decrease the value or type in the value manually. Use a negative value for a model that must pass down through the PCB.
    • Source
      • Server
        • Item Revision - the revision of the required 3D Model Item. Click the Choose button to the right of the Item Revision field to open the Choose Item dialog. Use this dialog to browse to and select the desired revision. After clicking OK, a link will be created between the 3D Body and the target revision of the 3D Model item. 
        • Vault - displays the target server. Use the Show in Explorer button to open the Explorer panel.
        • Details - displays the revision details.
        • Revision State - displays the status of the linked 3D Model item. 
        • Update - if a newer revision of the linked Item is available, click to use the latest revision.
      • Embed Model - use to select a 3D model (STEP, Parasolid, SolidWorks Part) to embed.
        • Path - click Choose to search for and select the path of the model. 
      • Link to Model - use to link to a 3D Model.
        • Path - click Choose to search for and select the path of the model. Click  to refresh the path. 
  • Extruded
    • Overall Height - the distance from the board surface to the top side of the extruded body.
    • Standoff Height - the distance from the board surface to the underside of the extruded body. Click the +/- buttons to increase or decrease the value or type in the value manually. Use a negative value for extruded bodies that must pass down through the PCB.
    • Texture 
      • Texture File - defines an image to be displayed on the top surface of the extruded body. Accepted file formats are *.bmp*.dds*.dib*.hdr*.jpg*.pfm*.png*.ppmand *.tga. Click  to open a dialog to search for and select the desired file.
      • Center - the X and Y offsets that the center of the texture image will have with respect to the center of the top surface of the extruded body. For example, a value of 100mil, 0mil will shift the center point of the image 100mils in the X direction from the center point of the top surface of the extruded body.
      • Size - the width (X-direction) and height (Y-direction) of the texture image. By default, the texture image will be uniformly scaled to fit the bounds of the top surface of the extruded body.
      • Rotation - the rotation of the extruded body.
  • Cylinder 
    • Height - the height of the cylindrical body.
    • Radius - the radius of the cylindrical body.
    • Rotation X° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the cylindrical body around the X-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Rotation Y° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the cylindrical body around the Y-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Rotation Z° - the angular rotation (in degrees) of the cylindrical body around the Z-axis. Click the +/- buttons to change the angular rotation in 90° increments or type in the value manually. 
    • Standoff Height - the distance from the board surface to the underside of the cylindrical body. Click the +/- buttons to increase or decrease the value or type in the value manually. Use a negative value for a cylindrical body that must pass down through the PCB.
  • Sphere 
    • Radius - the radius of the spherical body.
    • Standoff Height - the distance from the board surface to the lowest edge of the spherical body. Click the +/- buttons to increase or decrease the value or type in the value manually. Use a negative value for a spherical body that must pass down through the PCB.

Snap Points 

  • Grid region - displays the X, Y, and Z snap points for the sphere.
  • Add - click to add a new snap point.
  • Average - click to use the averages of all selected snap points for one individual snap point. This option is available only when two or more snap points are selected in the grid.
  •  - click to delete the selected snap point.

Display

  • Override Color - enable if desired, then click the color box to access options to specify the object's color.
  • Opacity - use the slider bar or enter the percentage directly to specify the transparency of the 3D body from invisible (left-most) to completely opaque (right-most).
This setting is a permanent setting for this object, however, it is also possible to adjust the object opacity temporarily in the PCB panel when it is set to 3D Models mode.
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