Tutorial: how to export a CI Board from Altium PCB to Solidworks – GrabCAD

In this tutorial I will show how I make 3D CI boards in SW using Altium PCB project. This tutorial is about the board only, including real dimensions, all geometry and holes and also the silk. Tutorial for creating CI Boards in Solidworks from Altium. Besides these programs, you need a PDF writer (I used Acrobat) and a vector drawing editor (I used CorelDraw). 01 - In Altium, open the PCB file. Access the menu 'File / Save As / Export STEP (*.step, *.stp)'. Click OK, don´t change anything. 02 - Access the menu 'File / Fabrication Outputs / Final'. Right click on the window and select 'Page Setup' 07 - Open CorelDraw (or equivalent). Start a new drawing using RGB colors, SW doesn´t accept CMYK. Open the PDF file, it will load multiple pages (7 in this example). Each page is one layer, and they are all aligned. On page 1, select all, ungroup it (menu 'Arrange / Ungroup All') and using 'Fill / Color' tool, change color to RGB 47/72/128. Regroup it (menu 'Arrange / Group'). Repeat to page 2. 09 - Using Bezier tool, redraw the board over it. Use the tool 'Fill Color' and enter RGB 43/67/79 and no border lines. 10 - Copy the board and Paste it on pages 1 and 2, moving backwards (shift + pagedown). Page 1 will look like this: 11 - Go to page 5 (the one with top pads). Ungroup it, and using 'Fill / Fountain Fill' tool use the settings below. 12 - Regroup it, and copy it to page 1. Repeat the same on page 6 (the one with bottom pads) and copy it to page 2. Page 1 looks like this: 13 - Now, copy page 3 (top silk) to page 1, and page 4 (if your board has bottom silk) to page 2. Page 1 looks like this: 15 - On page 1, select menu 'File / Export', select 'JPG - JPEG Bitmaps', give a name like 'Front' and export using RGB. Repeat on page 2, as 'Back'. Close CorelDraw. 16 - Open Solidworks. Click 'Open' and select type 'STEP AP203/214 (*.step, *.stp)'. Open you exported board. Save it, and click on 'Save All' when asked. SW will save an assembly and its parts. Close it, and open the file 'Board.sldprt'. Click 'Yes' when asked to proceed with feature recognition. You will get a thin board, with all holes and no colors. 17 - Change the Boss-Extruded to 1.6 [mm]. Click on 'Edit Appearance' and select 'Polished Steel'. That will make the plated holes (there are a few here, but in a large board this will be usefull). Now, using 'Control + left click', select all sides of the board (but not the holes) and click on 'Edit Appearance' again. Select 'Plastic / Low Gloss' Blue and change the colors to 43/67/79. 18 - Now apply the decals created on CorelDraw, 'Front' and 'Back'. Use 'Mapping' function to fit Width and Height. 19 - The Board is ready. I use parts from GrabCad and 3D Content Central, or make my own to put on the board. This Board looks like this: Source.

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Last Modified: April 22, 2016 @ 11:05 pm