3 Replies Latest reply on Dec 3, 2010 4:49 PM by Jerry Steiger

    Communication between Altium Designer and Solidworks



      We have the following situation:
      We want to use Altium Designer to design PCBs, Solidworks is our MCAD Tool.


      Our approach is:
      1. Create the empty raw board in Solidworks
      2. Place the mechanical relevant parts (Connectors, LEDs, ...) also in SolidWorks.
      3. Export via STEP to Altium Designer
      4. Create PCB there
      5. Export finished PCB back to SoWo for a final interference check.


      My Problem:  How can I create (with Altium Designer) a connection between the mechanical parts I place on the board and the corresponding components on the schematic?


      Or: Is there a different approach for pre-placement of mechanical parts with SoWo?


      Thank you



        • Re: Communication between Altium Designer and Solidworks
          Jerry Steiger



          I'm not up to date on the very best methods to use for the back and forth required between Altium and SolidWorks, but I believe that the best method we have come up with so far is to build a dummy board in Altium that has the known connectors and other big components on it. Export that PCA to SW. Modify the PCB and PCA in SW to match the actual mechanical requirements. Ship it back to Altium for the initial board design. Repeat as needed. The dummy board can be just a simple rectangle. It is needed to set up the initial features in Altium.


          Jerry Steiger

            • Re: Communication between Altium Designer and Solidworks

              Hello Jerry,


              your suggestion sounds very nice. But when you say "ship it back to Altium for the initial board design" I don't know how to do that.

              When I transfer the board back to Altium designer via STEP, I loos the connection between the Model (for example a connector) and the correspondig

              part in the schematic. 


              Peter Ruh

                • Re: Communication between Altium Designer and Solidworks
                  Jerry Steiger



                  Oops, I forgot the most important step. First you buy the Desktop EDA SW-Altium link,SolidWorks Modeler for Altium:



                  Now you have a bidirectional link between Altium and SW.


                  We've been very happy with Desktop EDA as a solution. The only issue we have now is that the MEs and the EEs don't always want to move to new versions of SW at the same time. It's a pain when they are out of sync.


                  Jerry Steiger


                  PS. Desktop EDA isn't the only supplier of an Altium-SW link. When we started using Protel back in 99, it seemed like the best solution to us, but it may not be the best for you, or us, for that matter, now. CircuitWorks is part of SW Premium. There are some other Gold Partners listed under CAD/Design/ECAD that might be worth investigating.


                  Message was edited by: Jerry Steiger