Last week, I talked about how to view your PCB design in 3D. This week, I’ll deal with a bit of a tougher question – what happens if you create your own footprint in Ultiboard, and the part doesn’t have any 3D information associated with it?
Like I said last week, being able to see a PCB in 3D provides an intuitive way of viewing your design. In Ultiboard, adding 3D information to a footprint is easy, and it's a good idea to do this whenever possible. So let’s get started!
First, open Ultiboard and find the part you’d like to edit. If you haven’t created a footprint, but would just like to edit the 3D information of an existing component, you can copy a component from the Ultiboard Master Database into your own User Database.
1. From the toolbar, go to Tools » Database » Database Manager.
2. Find the footprint that you would like to add 3D information to, and click the edit icon, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Selecting a part to edit
3. You are now in Footprint edit mode. In the Design Toolbox, switch to the Layers tab, shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: The Layers tab of the Design Toolbox
4. Double-click the 3D-Info Top layer to make it the active layer. It should be highlighted red to indicate that it is now the active layer.
5. If you’re simply modifying the 3D information for an existing part, move on to step 6. Otherwise, if you’re adding 3D information for a new footprint you created, select Place » Shape and select the shape you want for your component, such as a circle or rectangle. Place it directly over the silkscreen of the object.
6. From the toolbar, go to Edit » Properties. This will open the Components and Sheet Properties window.
7. In the 3D data tab, make sure the Enable 3D for this object and the Use 2D data to create 3D shape checkboxes are both selected, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: 3D data tab of the Part and sheet properties window
8. From here, you can change 3D settings for this part. Look under each of the sub-tabs (General, Material, Pins, and Cylinder) for more options. Anything you change will be automatically visible in the Preview area on the right of the window.
Adding 3D information for parts in Ultiboard is relatively simple, and can help you visualize what a board will look like when manufactured.