Author Topic: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?  (Read 3037 times)

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Offline ANTALIFE

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Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« on: November 21, 2021, 11:42:24 pm »
Hi All

How do yous handle 3D bodies on different board sides? Do you:
  • Put all your 3D bodies on say MECH 13 and leave it at that (1st pic)
  • Create a Component Layer Pair and manually specify which side the 3D body is on (2nd pic)

To me both methods have their "limits", with 1st one it's becomes tricky once you have components on both sides, and with 2nd one you need to unlink component primitives, manually specify the MECH layer, and then link the primitives again. Or does Altium have a better way of handling 3D bodies that I am not aware of?

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2021, 01:02:11 am »
Yes, very much so!

You have to set layer pairs.  Typically e.g. Mech 1/2 for top/bottom centroid, 13/14 for 3D, 15/16 for courtyard, whatever.

This is found, right-click menu on the layer name, Configure Mechanical Pairs...

Assuming your models are in library footprints and haven't been customized since, remember to update from library after this change.  Then layers will be assigned correctly.

Then double up your assembly outputs in the OutJob/project export settings, so only the top and bottom pairs show respectively.

Tim
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Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2021, 02:47:55 am »
Thanks for that, you are absolutely right! Looks like it's time to update all my libraries then...

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2021, 02:57:31 am »
Unless you've been building your libraries with components on multiple sides, shouldn't be a big deal.  True, occasionally you'll need that, those will need an update.

Tim
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Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2021, 11:47:04 am »
Unless you've been building your libraries with components on multiple sides, shouldn't be a big deal.  True, occasionally you'll need that, those will need an update.

Tim

I guess the next question is, is there a bulk edit option with .PcbLib? Like I know with .SchLib you have the Parameter Table Editor to do bulk edits

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2021, 02:04:53 pm »
Hm, what do you have to do per part?

To be clear, if all your parts are top side, and already use 3D models on Mech 13 (or whatever you're standardized on), set as top side models and aligned relative to the board top: then, you don't have to do anything, they will automatically be placed on the respective layers when imported into the PCB.

You can query objects across the library but it's jankier than for example querying and inspecting objects across SchDocs.  In particular, you can only undo on the current part, not others / globally (and it will warn you as such: "the operation cannot be undone").  So, if you do need to edit things this way, save frequently or make copies, and check everything regularly to make sure you're doing the edits you think you are.

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 
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Offline ajb

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2021, 04:11:59 pm »
In addition to setting component layer pairs, recent Altium versions also have meaningful layer types that can be assigned.  This is a little clunky because they've basically replaced the layer labels, which are really just for the user, with explicit types that change the way Altium handles layers.  The upshot is that you now need to have consistent layers assigned to be 3D body layers in both library footprints and in PCBDocs.  If there's a mismatch you can end up with different mechanical layers automatically getting assigned to be 3D body layers in your PcbDoc. 
 
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Offline thm_w

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2021, 09:52:25 pm »
"To me both methods have their "limits", with 1st one it's becomes tricky once you have components on both sides,"

Can you explain what issue you ran into? I use double side boards and can't recall any specific problems with exporting the 3D models, 3D DRC, etc.
 

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2021, 10:35:19 pm »
"To me both methods have their "limits", with 1st one it's becomes tricky once you have components on both sides,"

Can you explain what issue you ran into? I use double side boards and can't recall any specific problems with exporting the 3D models, 3D DRC, etc.

So the 1st method becomes an "issue" once you have a double sided board and you need to make some PDF's for assembly house. If all of your component outlines are on MECH 12 then all of them overlap when you generate the PDF. 2nd method solved this, I just did not know how to use it properly
 
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Offline ANTALIFE

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Re: Best way to handle 3D bodies on top/bot MECH layers?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2021, 10:55:02 pm »
Hm, what do you have to do per part?

To be clear, if all your parts are top side, and already use 3D models on Mech 13 (or whatever you're standardized on), set as top side models and aligned relative to the board top: then, you don't have to do anything, they will automatically be placed on the respective layers when imported into the PCB.

You can query objects across the library but it's jankier than for example querying and inspecting objects across SchDocs.  In particular, you can only undo on the current part, not others / globally (and it will warn you as such: "the operation cannot be undone").  So, if you do need to edit things this way, save frequently or make copies, and check everything regularly to make sure you're doing the edits you think you are.

Tim

I want to use MECH 13/14 for top/bot 3D bodies, but all of my footprints use MECH 14 for something else... So will have to clean up the libraries a bit, thanks for reminding me of querying objects across whole PcbDoc library



In addition to setting component layer pairs, recent Altium versions also have meaningful layer types that can be assigned.  This is a little clunky because they've basically replaced the layer labels, which are really just for the user, with explicit types that change the way Altium handles layers.  The upshot is that you now need to have consistent layers assigned to be 3D body layers in both library footprints and in PCBDocs.  If there's a mismatch you can end up with different mechanical layers automatically getting assigned to be 3D body layers in your PcbDoc. 

Yup, will have to burn some time cleaning up all my PcbDoc libraries
 
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