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EAGLE PCB Design tool offers 3D visualisation for complex board design

Posted: 07/03/12

EagleUp utility lets design engineers create and share 3D virtual prototypes before expensive real-world prototyping decision are made.

In a move to empower PCB design engineers to create virtual prototype designs, element14 has launched the EagleUp 3D design converter, enabling 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. 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/.

Visit element14 at www.element14.com