SOLIDWORKS PCB now natively integrates with PDM!

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SOLIDWORKS PCB has been a big hit with customers, enabling an easy, seamless collaboration between ECAD and MCAD designers. However, one thing has been missing: PDM integration. We could store the board assembly files in PDM just as easily as any other SOLIDWORKS Assembly, but the ECAD files had to be manually placed in PDM and managed, similar to any other non-SOLIDWORKS file. In the last couple of weeks, SOLIDWORKS has released the PCB-PDM Connector. Installing it will give you […]

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SOLIDWORKS Electrical: Sub-Components

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What is a sub-Component? When you place terminals using the insert terminal command in SOLIDWORKS Electrical, it will automatically add terminals to an overall terminal strip. In this case the terminal strip is the master component, and the terminals are the sub components. In the PLC manager, you can create a PLC and then add plc cards, racks, etc to the PLC. There is an overall master component mark, and then the sub component PLC parts. This same type of […]

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SOLIDWORKS PCB: Global Editing of Component Parameters

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Every component in SOLIDWORKS PCB has parameters that will be available in your document generation, such as your bill of materials. Having to manage them on an individual basis does leave a possibility for error, though. For example, some diodes may have a parameter of Vf, some Vforward, some Forward Voltage. You wouldn’t want to have to include all three columns in your documentation. The parameter manager allows for quick and easy editing of parameters across all of your components […]

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SOLIDWORKS PCB: ECAD Collaboration

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The standard way that SOLIDWORKS handles collaboration is through PDM and allows only one user to edit the file at a time. The method used in SOLIDWORKS PCB is a little different. PCB uses a product called PCB Services, which runs on a central server, similar to PDM. Each user will open the project through the project manager in SOLIDWORKS PCB. You’ll notice there is a column for “local copy.” When you open a project, it will create a copy […]

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SOLIDWORKS PCB: Adding 3D bodies to imported legacy layouts

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If you import a legacy board layout into SOLIDWORKS PCB, you probably won’t have 3D bodies attached to your 2D footprints. Doing a board layout from scratch, you’ll be placing the footprints from libraries where you’ve most likely added 3D bodies as well, so placing the footprints places the 3D bodies as well. Imported board layouts will not have the footprints linked to the libraries you’ve put together. However, adding 3D bodies isn’t as hard as you may initially think. […]

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SOLIDWORKS Electrical: Creating Variable Length Custom Ducts

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When placing wire ducts in your 3D model, if you select the “insert as duct” option, it will place a generic looking hollow box, sized according to the manufacturer part properties, and then ask you for the length. This works great, but some people want their ducts to look more like the real thing: If you have a model of the duct, and it is linked in the manufacturer part properties, then you can just select “insert” instead of “insert […]

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Connection Labels: Extra Info in Your Schematics

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SOLIDWORKS Electrical has a nice tool for displaying the connections to a component, through the use of the Connection Labels command. A connection label is simply a symbol that looks like a table and contains a multitude of attributes. It is frequently used similarly to what is shown below, as a means of displaying the destination for each wire on a connector. Something that I’ve seen that is a pretty neat idea, is to take those symbols a step further […]

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Hot Tip: Import SOLIDWORKS PCB Library from Ultra Librarian

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I’ve gotten some questions about whether SOLIDWORKS PCB can import the files generated by Digikey’s Ultra Librarian tool. Just recently I learned how to do it, so here is the official answer: you can download any component from Ultra librarian into SW PCB 2017 and newer without the use of any script. Navigate to the part you need to download in Ultra Librarian, and select to download the PCADV15 file under the Altium grouping. Might as well check to download […]

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SOLIDWORKS 2019 What’s New – PCB Enhancements – #SW2019

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There are some exciting new features in SOLIDWORKS PCB 2019. The mechanical oriented workflow has several enhancements, including the ability to define placement and component size constraints. The Collaboration now features copper and silkscreen representation, along with some other enhancements such as supporting multi-contour holes and patterning. Mechanical Workflow Inside of SOLIDWORKS, you can define any required PCB constraints such as placement and height restrictions. Also, the collaboration will communicate whether components can be moved. ‘Fixed’ components in SOLIDWORKS will […]

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SOLIDWORKS 2019 What’s New – CircuitWorks – #SW2019

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CircuitWorks has been around for a number of years, and is a great tool for generating board assemblies based on ECAD data exported from other board layout software. It also has the ability of generating CircuitWorks data from a SOLIDWORKS assembly so you can import that data into your layout software. There are a few improvements this year on the latter form of communication. When you export SOLIDWORKS board files to CircuitWorks using the CircuitWorks Export Wizard, the wizard will […]

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