0 Replies Latest reply on Aug 14, 2009 3:50 PM by Abraham Azar III

    PCB Drawing Trick/Tip (PCB123)

    Abraham Azar III

      I work for a small electronics company and we use two software programs in colaboration: SolidWorks 2009 and PCB123 V3.  I found the following quick method of making your PCB solid model resemble the electrical model.  If this is a double post please feel free to let me know, but I'd found nothing of the sort.


      1.  In PCB123 V3 there's an option to view your board in 3D, view the top of your board.

      2.  Zoom the window such that the you can see as much of the board as possible and screen shot it (Prt Scr Key).

      3.  Open Microsoft Paint and paste the image (CTRL+V).

           a. Now at this point I usually hit the paint bucket tool to convert the black outline around the board to white.

      4.  Move the image around to effectively "Crop" it such that the only image showing is the PCB.  This is done by clicking CTRL+A and moving the top left       corner of the board to meet the top left corner of the viewing area.  The bottom right corner of the viewing area (indicated by a little square) is then moved      to the bottom right corner of the PCB in a similar fashion.

      5.  Save the file as a bitmap with a unique name in some folder you'll remember (I usually save it in the folder which the PCB *sldprt is contained)

      6.  Go back to PCB123 and hit the Right Arrow Key until you're looking directly onto the backside of the board and repeat steps 2-5.

      7.  Now in SolidWorks you can right click surface of the board *sldprt that you've created with the footprint and click the Edit Appearance sphere.

      8. Click the square next to "Face" to change the face that you right clicked on.

      9. On the Appearance menu that appears on the left, click "Browse..." and find the bitmap of your first PCB screenshot and open it.

      10.   You'll then be prompted to save the file as a *p2m, do so wherever you'd like the file.

      11.  When you are shown the scaling square object, typically you can drag it so that the bottom corner matches the corner of your *sldprt and the image should      match that which you saw in PCB123 as far as a 3D model is concerned.

      12.  Repeat steps 7-11 for the other side and the other image file and your *sldprt now closely resembles the PCB that was designed in PCB123.


      I've found that this works not only for component differentiation in assemblies (even though it may take up more memory) but have found some design errors in electrical design due to connector/mounting hole locations.  Overall it's an easy way to get a visual reprisentation of how your PCB will work in your product without extensive modeling or CircuitWorks and only takes about 2 minutes after a couple tries.