3D data for housing design and collision testing

Generating 3D data from PCB layout software

Aarbergen, (PresseBox) - The designer requires a three-dimensional data model of an assembled circuit board to fit it into a housing. This is the only way that the dimensions and positions of keyboard cut-outs, connectors, sockets etc. can be precisely designed. The previous solutions for creating the 3D data for an assembled circuit board from a chosen PCB layout software were not particularly satisfactory. The Intermediate Data Format (IDF) considered for this purpose actually contains very little relevant 3D information. It defines nothing more than the circuit board outline and the position and designation of each component. Consequently, every component must be elaborately designed and placed in a 3D-capable software programme.

Beta LAYOUT now offers its customers the simple option of creating a three-dimensional data model of an assembled circuit board from any desired PCB layout software without the need for special 3D design knowledge and without the use of mechanical CAD-Software. The IDF data from the PCB layout software are read into the free on-line IDF viewer, which was developed together with Simplified Solutions Inc. Thanks to the viewer's extensive component database, the circuit board can be assembled virtually with components in a 3D view. Missing or special 3D component geometries can be independently entered in the STEP format or created by Beta LAYOUT as a service. The 3D model of the assembled circuit board created in this way is provided at no charge in a 3D PDF format. Moreover, the data can also be output in STEP format or as a printed ABS plastic 3D prototype.

There is even a solution for the EAGLE layout software which doesn't offer IDF data output. The Beta LAYOUT website offers EAGLE users a free ULP (User Language Program) which generates IDF data and transfers them directly to the on-line IDF viewer. This programme automatically allocates components from the original EAGLE component library to the appropriate 3D elements.

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Beta LAYOUT GmbH

Beta LAYOUT (www.beta-layout.com) is a leading company in Europe in the field of printed circuit board services. Beta LAYOUT was founded in 1989 as a service provider for printed circuit board design. Today, Beta LAYOUT GmbH not only produces and sells printed circuit board prototypes, high-tech PCBs, and small series according to the PCB-POOL® shared-cost principle at three locations in Germany, but also laser-cut SMD stencils, front panels including laser engraving and colour printing, 3D prints and prototypes for collision detection, in addition to the BETA eSTORE which offers tools and accessories for prototype PCB builds. Moreover, Beta LAYOUT offers the embedding of RFID chips in printed circuit boards, and SMT/THT assembly. Beta LAYOUT, with its headquarters in Aarbergen/Germany and further locations in Ireland, France, South Africa, and the US, has more than 170 employees. Beta LAYOUT GmbH is ISO 9001 and UL-certified. This guarantees a quality standard that is required by worldwide operating industrial enterprises.

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