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Re: Realistic 3D Rendering


On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 05:24:06PM -0700, Cirilo Bernardo wrote:
> I agree this type of 3D rendering is only EyeCandy, but the marketing types love it. (Ooh! Aah! How awesome! but from the engineers you hear "what use is that crap?")  So I think in the future KiCAD will benefit from it because these shiny things actually get people to hand over money for development.

If he want to do eyecandy it's his time. Tried it, wasn't useful:P

>  Yes, STEP is what we really need to support but as I outlined months ago, it should be possible for KiCAD to provide generic support for any MCAD system and the tools themselves need to be separate from KiCAD because it just makes no sense to make an ECAD dependent on an MCAD.  I'm waiting for the FreeCAD project to release a version which supports assemblies so  I can get started on my pcb to MCAD demonstration; without support for assemblies I would simply be wasting my time coding.  I guess I could always code for SolidWorks, but how many KiCAD users would actually find that useful?

There actually *are* exchange format for boards designed for MCAD integration. IDF3 is one of them. Only problem is that only Big Bucks Software accept them... I've only seen CircuitWorks (in the SolidWorks family). And then, for example, there are limitation in the 'lite' version (the full suite obviously costs *even more*) like 'issues' with more than 400 components and only boundary representations (which actually are sufficient 95% of the times...). Supposedly there is even IDF4 (even less supported XD). So even if there is a simple format for interchange what if nobody can use it?

IDF3 is a standard format (documented, too! the specs are only 41 pages) but without something to read/test it developing is... well... somewhat hard XD actually for the specs it seems that it was originally designed to go from MCAD to ECAD too since it contains keepout areas and such things...

I mean, I can use librecad and I've access to an autocad copy at work, I use CAM350 for other files, but I've got nothing to use for testing an IDF3 exporter. If there was a larger selection of tools using it (converters to cad formats, for example) 

>  The MCAD model is absolutely vital in some cases where a moulded or machined housing is being designed to be compact (think about mobile phones, tablet computers, or the iPod).  Even where the MCAD model is not so critical, having the model makes life easier for the mechanical engineers because there are fewer opportunities to make mistakes in hole sizes, positions, and clearances. 

Agree, fortunately I survived till now with box representations for major components (i.e. for the mould you don't need the thickness of every single resistor).

>  As for what use the tracks are in a 3D model, I like to imagine that in the future the models will be exploited by people doing thermal analysis. Maybe one day some expert in thermal analysis would like to help out.  I would love to have such a new tool but I know I'll be too busy with the MCAD and other work to contribute anything to such an effort.

Thermals and parasites are usually done with FEM starting from the gerbers, at least here.

Oh and btw there is still no UI for (at least) the board thickness...

Lorenzo Marcantonio
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