4
\$\begingroup\$

I have been having this issue for some time and have not yet figured out whether it is a user error or an Altium bug.

I have a PCB design with two layer stackups:

enter image description here

In the Altium 3D view it looks good. You can easily see where the different layer stacks are applied:

enter image description here

However, when I export to a STEP file and open in SolidWorks, the entire board is a uniform width:

enter image description here

The STEP export seems to ignore the layer stacks and just exports the entire board (or flex) as one solid piece. Altium claims to support rigid-flex and flex designs, but this export failure seems to be a significant problem. Is this a known bug, or am I using the tools incorrectly?

UPDATE: It appears the 3D-PDF export does it correctly, but I really need a STEP file:

enter image description here

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1. Are there converters from 3D PDF to .STEP? 2. Try the forums at live.altium.com, usually people there are quite helpful. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Wigton May 4 '16 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I already looked for a way to convert from 3D-PDFs to STEP but all I have is Acrobat Pro, which does not appear to have any method to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 4 '16 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you import IDF into SolidWorks? I would try that way instead.. \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel May 4 '16 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ SolidWorks does accept IDF but the same issue appears there as when exporting to STEP. The board is all one thickness. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 4 '16 at 17:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a dedicated solidworks plugin for altium which gives reasonable results (can be real slow though). The step exporter in altium is pretty basic, it wouldn't surprise me if it was a limitation of the exporter itself causing your board to come out wrong. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam May 5 '16 at 9:38
1
\$\begingroup\$

Putting this into an answer. Looks like the technology licensed for the 3D PDFs is owned by this company, Tetra4D.

And you're in luck, my friend, they offer a free 28-day trial of their program that will convert PDFs to .STEP :)

| improve this answer | |
\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, but I'm really looking for a more permanent solution. I first came across this problem at work about 6 months ago, and I ran into it again today. A 28-day trial is not going to help, and this is really something that Altium should be working on. \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 4 '16 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. I've had my own frustrations getting .STEP files for the mechanical team, so I get it. I would check out the forums then, or open a ticket if you're a paying Altium customer. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Wigton May 4 '16 at 17:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I actually just created a ticket for this at Altium. Unfortunately unless 300 people vote on it I expect it'll be quite a while before they get to it.... Thanks for your suggestions, anyway \$\endgroup\$ – DerStrom8 May 4 '16 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sad but true. I've actually had better responses on the forum posts than filing tickets, even though I pay the maintenance fee every year! \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Wigton May 4 '16 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.