Design & Manufacture
Farnell element14 – PCB design tool with 3D visualisation for complex board design (EagleUp 3D Design Converter)Feb 29 2012 - Design & Manufacture [More Design & Manufacture Articles]
In a move to empower PCB design engineers to create virtual prototype designs, element14, today announced the launch of the EagleUp 3D design converter. Developed from the ground-up in the EAGLE design community, EagleUp enables design engineers to export 2D layouts from CadSoft’s EAGLE PCB design software into Google SketchUp to create accurate 3D prototype simulations.
As electronic products become slimmer and more ergonomic, modern PCBs have increasingly complex layouts and outlines that need to be mapped very accurately during the design process. With pressure to shorten time-to-market for new products, the one-click export feature of EagleUp speeds-up PCB design by creating a realistic image of the PCB, which can be closely examined for accuracy and modification, can prove extremely valuable.
“EagleUp represents a step-change in PCB design – CadSoft EAGLE users can now easily simulate the viability of their design, much before the production process,” said Jerome Lamy, developer of the EagleUp converter. “The realistic rendering also makes for great marketing material, months before you have the real product available for demo.”
The 3D model allows designers to combine multiple boards in the same model to check for misaligned connectors and ‘collisions’ of tall components. The model can also be used to evaluate airflow around devices, and the accessibility of test and mounting points. Designers can also convert mechanical models from STEP and IGES available on the manufacturers’ websites. The final SketchUp model can be exported to other MCAD tools in STEP format, if necessary.
EagleUp is written as an EAGLE ULP (User Language Program), enabling customisation to specific design needs. The EAGLE ULP scripting language is simple (C-type syntax) and offers access to all the information about the layout. The import plugin in SketchUp is written with the built-in Ruby script. All source codes are also available.
All the tools necessary for EagleUp can be downloaded free of charge for Windows and Mac OS platforms from http://eagleup.wordpress.com/installation-and-setup/ The EagleUp webpage serves as a warehouse for the most common electronic components, and provides easy design tutorials, says the company.More news from Farnell element14