3D PCB - Simplified Solutions Inc.
Frequently Asked Questions
 
What is IDF-TO-3D? Back to Top
IDF-TO-3D is our soon to be released product that allows both Electrical Engineers and Electrical Designers to rapidly create 3D PCBs without the purchase cost and labor required to create 3D PCBs in MCAD tools.
 
How is IDF-TO-3D different than other software programs that can be used to create 3D PCBs? Back to Top
IDF-TO-3D was developed to be used by Electrical Engineers and Electrical Designers who typically have more familiarity with electrical geometry footprints than Mechanical Designers and Engineers. With our product, knowledge of Mechanical CAD is not necessary allowing Electrical Designers who better understand PCB components to complete the task.
 
What do I need to do to get started with IDF-TO-3D? Back to Top
Register on our website, select the PCB Home Link and select the IDF-TO-3D Tool link. You may also need to install Adobe SVG 3.03 Viewer on your computer. You can either download it here or visit Adobe directly http://www.adobe.com/svg/viewer/install/ to download the Adobe SVG Viewer.
 
How long does it take to complete a 3D PCB using IDF-TO-3D? Back to Top
Typical circuit boards take 1-3 hours to complete on the first iteration. Subsequent iterations and new PCBs that utilize the same ECAD Library in your ECAD tool take significantly less time to complete.
 
What types of files are imported into the program? Back to Top
Intermediate data format files. EMN (or other board files) and EMP (or other component files) will import into the tool and produce an IDF view of your PCB. These files can be exported from Altium, Mentor Boardstation and Expedition, Cadence Allegro, PCAD, PADS, Orcad, and other ECAD Packages that support IDF.
 
How does the IDF view become a 3D PCB? Back to Top
The user chooses replacement geometry from our 3D Library for each footprint and part number in the IDF files. After a replacement geometry is chosen, a 3D wireframe representation is added to the user interface for the selected footprint and part numbers. This replacement information gets pushed to our server to generate a 3D PCB.
 
Do I need to follow IPC7351 Pin 1 orientation and location standards to use IDF-TO-3D? Back to Top
It is not necessary as IDF-TO-3D allows the user the ability to rotate or translate our 3D geometry footprints with respect to your ECAD footprints. If your ECAD library calls out an orientation that is different than the standard orientation used in our 3D Library, you can simply rotate the 3D geometry. If your ECAD library calls out a 0,0 point that is different than the standard 0,0 location used in our 3D Library, you can translate the 3D geometry. These offsets and rotations as well as the replacement 3D components chosen get saved in your user database. The next time you select the same footprint, either on the same PCB or a future design, the 0,0 offset and component rotation adjustments will be applied.
 
What content is available in the shared 3D Library? Back to Top
Our 3D Library consists of 3D geometry for approximately 2,000 commonly used standard footprint packages.
 
What do I do if I can not find a 3D Library Component? Back to Top
There are two options: 1. If a STEP file is available, upload it to us through our STEP upload tool. We will modify the geometry so it will properly place onto your 3D PCB and we will create an enhanced wireframe image of the object. These items will be added to your personal user library. When you register you will be given 5 free STEP uploads. Additional uploads can be purchased at a very reasonable price. 2. If a 3D model is not available, submit a PDF datasheet of the item via the custom components PDF upload tool for. We will create the geometry and an enhanced wireframe image of the object. These items will be added to your personal user library. When you register you will be given 2 free PDF custom component uploads. Additional uploads can be purchased as well.
 
What are the IDF-TO-3D output file types? Back to Top
3D STEP files of your PCB is the primary output. A JPEG file of your 3D PCB can be generated for free prior to making a purchase. If you make a purchase on our site (3D STEP PCBs, Unlimited usage subscription, or pay for custom components) you will gain access to 3D PDF files of your design.
 
How can I purchase a 3D geometric prototype? Back to Top
Click on the button Generate 3D Prototype Quote. A STL file of your 3D PCB will be generated and sent to our partner Beta Layout for a quote. You will receive an email within 1 hour containing a quote.
 
Can users share personal libraries? Back to Top
Yes, for corporations with multiple users utilizing the same ECAD Library, a shared directory can be set up. 3D replacement geometries, as well as offset rotations and translations can be shared and reused within a group utilizing this same directory.
 
What is the cost of using IDF-TO-3D? Back to Top
A price list can be found on our homepage
 
If I am an Altium user, should I use IDF-TO-3D and import IDF files or purchase Simplified Solutions 3D STEP Library and integrate it into an Altium Library? Back to Top
For a fast geometric representation, IDF-TO-3D would be more suitable. If you need to fully visualize PCB layers such as pads, traces, etc within Altium Designer, our 3D STEP Library would be a good option. Integrating the 3D STEP Library into Altium will take significantly longer than using IDF-TO-3D, however, the level of detail on the circuit board graphics will be improved.
 
Why does Simplified Solutions charge a yearly subscription fee? Back to Top
Simplified Solutions Inc is dedicated to expanding its component library to support its users. Subscription fees will be used to continually update the library as new component types enter the marketplace. Component families will continually be added to our site with the most widely used component families receiving priority.
 
What criteria does Simplified Solutions use to determine what parts go in the library? Back to Top
Component families will continually be added to our site. The most widely used component families receive priority. Simplified Solutions Inc. initially created the library with components based on JEDEC, EIA, or IPC standards. Over time, individual semiconductor manufacturers' geometries will be added to the site.
 
What if I can't find a component I need for my PCB in the online library? Back to Top
It is not realistic to expect every electrical component from every manufacturer worldwide to be included in this library. Many components are unique to one particular design. Our goal is to provide 90% of your 3D replacement models without custom requests. If you can't find a component in our library that you require for your PCB, you can place a request for that component. Click here to purchase additional 3D models of components not found in our library. Custom requests will be turned around in two business days.
 
What additional services does Simplified Solutions provide? Back to Top
We provide a service to quickly build your PCB in Pro/Engineer. A quote will be provided upon request. Cost will be based upon the number of unique components on a PCB and the complexity of those parts. Click here to submit a request for a custom quote.
 
What is an emn file? Back to Top
There are two types of emn files that will be mentioned on this site. The first is an emn file generated from your ECAD tool. This file contains location and orientation information for every component on your PCB. This file also contains the PCB outline, drilled holes, and any keep-outs that may have been added to a design. Simplified Solutions Inc. only uses component name information from any emn file that you upload.

The second type of emn file is referred to as "component emn file" on this site. It contains outline information for a single geometry. This file can be imported into your ECAD package to insure that your Pro/Engineer part outline is identical to your ECAD outline in the X and Y directions.

 
What happens to my emn file when I upload it the Hint Map Tool? Back to Top
Simplified Solutions Inc. only uses the component name information from any emn file that is uploaded. That information is then put into the table that is used to create, and process your ecad_hint.map file. The remainder of the data is discarded immediately.
 
What is an emp file? Do I need an emp file to use the Hint Map Tool? Back to Top
An emp file contains a 2D outline for all components in your PCB design. This is the information that we want to replace with 3D models.

This Hint Map Tool never uses the emp file. However, when you import your PCB into Pro/Engineer, any components that do not have replacement 3D models will have outlines generated from the EMP File.

 
What is an ecad_hint.map file? Back to Top
During a Pro/ECAD import of an EMN File, if matching entries are found in the EMN File and ecad_hint.map file, Pro/Engineer does not use the EMP File to create the component geometry outline on your PCB. Instead, the field "mcad_name" inside the ecad_hint.map entry is used to call out a 3D model. Pro/Engineer then searches your Workstation or Network for that "mcad_name" and places that 3D Pro/E model on your PCB.
 
How is a component's orientation determined? Back to Top
Components in the Pro/Engineer and STEP Libraries follow IPC-7351 for orientation. For surface mount components, Pin 1 is typically in the upper left corner, with the coordinate system being in the center of the component. For thru-hole components, Pin 1 is typically in the upper left corner, with the coordinate system through the center of pin 1.
 
How do I import a component emn file into my ECAD tool? Back to Top
Menu picks will vary depending on which software tool you use. Check user documentation to determine how to import an IDF file. It may be beneficial to import the EMN File to a height of "0" and later add in the height. Some ECAD packages will import duplicate outlines on top of each other if the height is not set to zero.
 
Is mass property information attached to the Pro/Engineer models? Back to Top
Mass property values are not included on the Pro/Engineer models. Many of the 3D models on this site are standard packages manufactured by several different corporations. Densities, materials, etc may not be uniform from manufacturer to manufacturer. As a user, you can add your own information to the downloaded models.
 
What config.pro settings are required in Pro/Engineer to use the ecad_hint.map file exported by this site? Back to Top
ecad_comp_csys_def_namecs_ecad_comp
ecad_mapping_file"Choose the location of your downloaded hint.map file"

Make sure Pro/Engineer can find the 3D .prt files you download. Either put the files in your PDM system, create a search_path in your config.pro, or make sure the files are in your session memory when importing your PCB.

 
Why are the Pro/Engineer electrical parts modeled in older versions of ProE? Back to Top
Many corporations have not updated their software to the latest Pro/Engineer revisions. Because of backward compatibility issues, we have chosen to model our parts to meet the needs of as many customers as possible. The Pro/E electrical models on this site can be used with Wildfire II, Wildfire III and Wildfire IV.
 
Why can't I generate IDF emn and emp files from PADS Back to Top
PADS has an add on package called IDF Link that can be purchased from your PADS Reseller, the cost is approximately $2,000 USD. Simplified Solutions can generate IDF files from your PADS design, contact us for a quote.
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