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Question for those of you working with PCB designs

Question asked by Jack Henriques on Apr 17, 2020
Latest reply on Jul 2, 2020 by Jack Henriques

Hi all


I work for Altium's R&D department.  For anyone that doesn't know, we make ECAD software (Altium Designer) for designing PCBs.


We've recently launched a feature called CoDesigner (More about ECAD-MCAD CoDesign | Altium Designer 20.0 User Manual | Documentation ) which allows ECAD engineers using Altium Designer to send their 3D board model straight to various MCAD packages (one of which is SW).  The MCAD engineer can edit the board shape (alternatively the board can be created initially in SW), add holes/cutouts, move/place components etc, and then send their modifications straight back to Altium.


One thing the MCAD engineer can't do at the moment is define any specific areas on the board and feed these definitions back to the ECAD engineer.  For example, areas such as...

  • Component keepout areas
  • Trace/copper keepout areas
  • Limited height areas (only components below a certain height allowed)


How we define these areas in MCAD is what I'm looking into.  It would be useful to know how you guys do this at the moment.  Do you use 2D sketches in the part/assembly, which you attach a note to in the drawing?  For a limited height area would you use a solid body?  Or do you add sketches directly in the drawing?  Do you use a dxf/dwg with different layers to give to your ECAD colleagues, or do you give them a pdf etc?


Any feedback much appreciated.


Many thanks