I think ideally, I would like to be able to generate a 3D file that is simply the thickness of the PCB as determined by the layer settings (or by me entering the known finished value), and then component locations on top/bottom. Basically, what the PCB viewer gives you, but in 3D. I don’t need all the detail of the entire layer exported into individual entities; I would even prefer they be combined into 1 entity/object (per layer or overall by choice) to simplify the export. For me, the importance of a 3D export is to:
- Capture the real-world size and geometry of the overall object
- Capture the positions/sizes of the components
- Capture the position/sizes of through hole drills.
Any chance you could update the 3D exporter to be able to work like this in an upcoming update?
Starting with FAB V8.4, this quickly is possible. In this quick tutorial (no sound) I opened any IPC-2581 (or ODB++) and then exported a STEP file by going to menu: File / Export / 3D STEP...
Note: ODB++ and IPC-2581 files work the best for quickly generating 3D Step files.
Note: This is also possible with plain old Gerber files, however you will need to,
1. Generate Component centroids from the Gerber files. https://support.numericalinnovations.com/support/discussions/topics/14000003420
Note: If you have an IPC netlist file, FAB 3000 can automatically extract all components (and bypass the step above), https://www.numericalinnovations.com/blogs/news/how-to-generate-a-centroid-file-aka-pick-and-place-for-any-pcb-in-less-than-2-minutes?_pos=3&_sid=8a46e4e1a&_ss=r
2. Verify/Assign component heights. You can modify heights of any components by selection them, go to Properties (menu: Edit / Properties...), and edit the component height.
3. Export 3D STEP file as shown above.