7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 12, 2013 12:52 PM by Dave Dinius

    Modifying step files for PCB assembly

    Phillip Head

      Hello all,


      I am trying to map step files to PCB footprints for 3D PCB assembly. Problem is the step files (downloaded from component mfg. website) NEVER line up to the same origin and orientation as the PCB footprint. I can tweek the position and rotation of the model in the footprint file but it is enormously painstaking and very difficult to tell if it is properly positioned. So what I would like to know is......


      How do I move the origin of the model to match the origin of the PCB footprint?


      How do I properly orient the model so it matches up with the PCB footprint orientation?


      How do I change the colors of certain features to match the actual component?


      I am a complete newb to Solidworks so thanks for any help!!!

        • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
          Jerry Steiger



          I use the Move/Copy Body feature to rotate and move the part so that the origin and orientation line up with the way the PCB design software wants it.


          There are a number of different ways to change colors. You can change the color of the whole part, to get most of it the way you want. You can change the color of bodies separately if your part has multiple bodies. You can change the colors of features, although an imported file is not going to have any feature unless you used the FeatureWorks add-in to recognize them. You can change the colors of individual faces. The face coloring overrides the feature coloring, which overrides the body coloring, which overrides the part coloring.


          To change the color of something, left or right click on it, and select the multi-colored ball (Appearances). Select the color you want and continue clicking on the stuff you want to be the same color. If you already have a face that is the right color, pick it first, then select the Appearances ball and then select the faces that you want to apply that color to.


          Appearances are not just colors; check out the Appearances ball in the Task Pane to the right as well.


          You can also apply colors at the Assembly level. This tends to confuse matters, as the assembly appearance overrides the appearances applied at the part level.


          Jerry S.

            • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
              Phillip Head

              Thanks Jerry, you got me a little closer to figuring this out. Now I just got to figure out how to pick up the model at a certain point and move that point to the origin.

                • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
                  John Burrill

                  Phillip, use the Move/Copy bodies tool in either constraint mode if you want to align a point on the model geometry to the origin ( cardinal planes).  Use translate mode of Move/Copy bodies to move a body using sketch points and reference geometry.

                  In any event, read the online help on the Move/Copy body feature.

                  • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
                    Phillip Head

                    So when you go to Insert>Feature>Move/Copy and the triad displays, is that the true origin of the model? As opposed to turing on the origin in the model tree?

                      • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
                        John Burrill

                        Read the help associated with the feature.  You can access it right from the property manager.


                        But the answer is that the triad is a manipulator that you drag to provide displacement information that SolidWorks in turn applies to the solid body that you select.  The default location of the triad is at the centroid of the body.  If you right-click on the blue ball at the center of the gizmo and select 'move to selection' or 'move to component' origin, the triad will relocate.

                        If you click in the 'Translation reference' control and then pick a point or vertex in your model, translate will use that as the from point and show another control where you specify the destination point.

                        You can also move bodies by picking a start and an end point or by creating geometric constraints similar to assembly mates.

                          • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
                            Phillip Head

                            Thanks John, I have read thru the help for this command. I just need to brush up on my mechanical terminology...and I've been playing with Solidworks for a total of two days.


                            The origin on the part I'm working with is basically floating. It is on the center of the large circle and the front plane of the main body (not the boss). You can barely see it in the image below. I want the origin to be on one of the pins at the bottom, where the pin enters the body of the part.





                              • Re: Modifying step files for PCB assembly
                                Dave Dinius

                                What I normally do for something like this is to create a sketch with just a point in the location that i want the origin to be. Then in the move/copy function, select that point as my from and the origin as my to position. Then you can do another move/copy and rotate the part as you need to. After you move the part just hide the sketch.