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Improved .step file imports

Object_MageObject_Mage Member Posts: 13 EDU
When I import a printed circuit board (PCB) from Altium as a .step file, it generates multiple parts and thousands of surfaces and curves. I can boolean the spots of the PCB that come up as a part rather than surfaces and curves. When I a select all the surfaces then try to thicken them, some of the surfaces will thicken but some will not. There are other ways to create a volume of out a surface, but it requires going through the thousands individually. 

I found out that app called IDF to 3D that can convert a .brd file and .lib file, rather than a .step file, from Altium to a bunch of parts in Onshape that can be boolean to a single part. Unfortunately the app contains little detail compared to the .step file, the app simply turns every part to a boring box that fits the part perfectly. The app does this even if the part is not originally shaped like a box, which can also be a problem. This app costs $40 per month, which is pricey and shouldn't be necessary for Onshape

Still the problem is many distributors may only have a .step file, for whatever you're buying, that will import with the same problems as my .step file. I have read many other forms and blogs, of professionals and students, bringing up similar problems with .step files.




  • Object_MageObject_Mage Member Posts: 13 EDU

  • Object_MageObject_Mage Member Posts: 13 EDU
    edited September 2018
    I agree. My consultant gives me .step files from Altuis to and Onshape does a jankie job of importing them.
  • Jake_RosenfeldJake_Rosenfeld Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,285
    @Object_Mage Have you tried the fix PCB custom feature?

    You can press the "+" button at the top of the page to add it to your toolbar.  The intention of this feature is that it will automatically extend and boolean all the solids of the PCB import so that they are one part.  In making this, I did not consider surface geometry, but if you provide an example file, I can try to do some tweaking so that it automatically does the thicken and boolean of those as well.
    Jake Rosenfeld - Modeling Team
  • robert_morrisrobert_morris OS Professional, Developers Posts: 155 PRO
    edited September 2018
    I think the problem is more with Altium instead of Onshape. We get STEP files from Altium as well, and they import into SolidWorks just as messed up as into Onshape. Usually the circuit board and sometimes a few parts are a bunch of surfaces instead of a solid. There can also be some parts floating off of the board.

    When importing into Onshape, I usually select the "Flatten to part studio" option and "Import with errors" to get all the parts into a single Part studio. I then remake the circuit board into a solid, move any components back onto the board, and then boolean everything together. I actually find fixing the STEP file in Onshape easier than SW.

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