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3-D Modeling of PCB designs from EAGLE

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When working with fellow designers on electronic device projects, I have found providing a 3-D model of my PCB designs quite useful for describing the general placement of connectors and components on the PCB. A 3-D model communicates the little informational details that can trip up a project, such as: the polarization a given connector is expected to connect, where the mounting holes are expected to be drilled, and how much clearance mechanical devices might need to be physically accessible.

I’m fond of using EAGLE for my PCB designs, and typically use the Eagle3D expansion to generate 3D renderings of the designs. Eagle3D (which can be found here) is a ULP script for EAGLE. The resultant is a text file with a *.pov extension, written in a format to be read by POV-Ray (found here). POV-Ray is software package that generates ray-traced models from *.pov files.

Here’s an example of the PCB design and the resulting 3-D model:

Printed Circuit Board design for FTC-200: Open-Source

3-D Model from POV-Ray of the FTC-200 Open Source PCB board design

Here are two excellent reference articles describing the exact process and other extensions to this procedure:

http://www.juergentreml.de/archives/846

http://www.societyofrobots.com/electronics_Eagle3D_tutorial.shtml

Written by sturnfie

October 16th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Posted in Design,EAGLE,Model,PCB