Introduction: Make Realistic 3D Render of Your PCB Design in 5 Minutes
Since I often creating documentation files with description of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) part and components I was confused about non-realistic screenshots of PCBA files. So I found an easy way to make it more realistic and beautiful.
Step 1: Things You'll Need
- Altium Designer 16 or higher – CAD/CAM software for electronical engineers for PCB development.
- PCB project file created in Altium Designer.
- SolidWorks 2018 or higher with PhotoView 360 plugin – CAD/CAE software used mostly by mechanical designer for 3D model and assembly creation.
Step 2: Export Your PCB Project File in 3D Format
Open your PCB project file in Altium Designer. Go to Menu bar, File -> Expport -> PDF3D. In a "Save as type" drop down menu select "Wavefront Object (*.obj)" Press "Save". In dialog window check the export options.
NOTE: If "Merge meshes" will be selected SolidWoks will be not able to import the file.
Step 3: Import 3D File to SolidWorks.
Run SolidWorks. Go to Menu bar, File -> Open. In a "File type" drop down menu select "Mesh files". Press "Options" button. In dialog window select "Import as - Surface body". Select Units.
NOTE: Time to import such PCB example file can take up to 10 minutes. PCB files with more components require more time to import.
Step 4: Make Render
Enable PhotoView360 plugin: Go to "SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins", Press "PhotoView360". A new "Render Tools" tab will appear. Go to this tab and press "Final Render" and get awesome render of your PCB project! Enjoy:)
NOTE: You can modify scenes, apply another appearances and decals for components surfaces that available in PhotoView360 plugin.