DesignSpark PCB to Google SketchUp in 3D

June 29, 2011

DesignSpark have released a small conversion program which will take a DesignSpark PCB’s 3D IDF output and convert it into a format Google SketchUp can import.

To make the most of this you need to enter height data for the components on your PCB. But this is pretty easy, you need open the property dialog for a component either on the schematic or layout and select “values” and edit the “component height” value. If you’re doing this on the schematic you’ll need to forward annotate the design changes to the PCB layout before outputting the PCB as a IDF model.

At the moment it just gives you a simple “skyscraper” 3D model, but even this is useful for checking for space clashes when you come to integrate your PCB design into a mechanical design.

“PCB Converter for SketchUp allows designers to import Intermediate Data Format (IDF) files into Google SketchUp. The new module adds a 3D CAD back-end capability to PCB design tools and takes SketchUp into the electronic product design domain.”