I have my PCB board from Mechanical Design software as a Step file. Now, I want to import it into Altium Designer and place PCB footprints, and do the routing etc. I am looking for some guidelines or Tutorials. Any and all help is appreciated.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does it have to be a 3D shape? Or is the outline enough? \$\endgroup\$
    – jaskij
    Jun 19, 2019 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


I just looked around and I found something on the Altium website. Maybe this can help you. Here you can also find more information about PCB design.

To place a 3D Body and populate its contents in the PCB Editor, select Place » 3D Body from the main menu, create its object shape and choose the Generic option as the 3D Model Type in the Properties panel. The Souce section in the panel will then offer three alternative source options for importing a STEP files:

  1. Vault – Browse to a connected Altium managed content server and select a 3D model file revision. Altium Designer detects if this file is updated.
  2. Embed Model – Browse and load a suitable file from disk. The model data is stored (embedded) in the PCB file.
  3. Link to Model – Select a Model file from a folder registered in the Choose Model dialog – typically, the file might be shared with an MCAD designer. This file will be linked to the 3D Body, so any file updates made in the MCAD domain will be detected by Altium Designer when the file is opened.

Defining the Board Shape from a 3D Body (https://www.altium.com/documentation/18.0/display/ADES/((Defining+the+Board+Shape))_AD)

This feature redefines the board shape based on a surface (face) of an imported 3D STEP model. It can be used to quickly create a complex board shape and helps integration between electronic and mechanical design areas. This is a two-stage process: first the STEP model is imported, then the required shape is selected from the STEP model.

To do this:

  1. Switch to View » 3D Layout Mode.

  2. To import the STEP model (.step or .stp) place a 3D body (Place » 3D Body), then in the 3D Body mode of the Properties panel, select Generic in the 3D Model Type region. Select Embed Model or Link to Models in the Source region to import the required STEP model. Note that this STEP model can be deleted once the board shape has been redefined.

  3. Select Design » Board Shape » Define from 3D body.

  4. The Status bar will prompt you to Pick a 3D body. Click the imported 3D body to select it.

  5. The cursor will change to a crosshair and the Status bar will prompt you to Choose Face. As you hover the cursor over each face, it will be outlined. Click to select the correct face.

  6. The Board Outline Creation Successful dialog will appear, displaying options on how you want the imported 3D model positioned in relation to the newly-defined board shape. These can be ignored if you are planning on deleting the STEP model, otherwise configure the options as required.

  • \$\begingroup\$ the board comes from a very space constrained mechanical body. So, the shape and physical dimensions of the board are important otherwise, it won't fit in its position. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ahmed
    Jun 19, 2019 at 7:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited my answer, according to your additional inputs \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel K
    Jun 25, 2019 at 7:18

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