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PADS 9.5 + Solidworks 2013 Premium - My experience

Question asked by enrico.migliore on Jan 3, 2015
Latest reply on Oct 25, 2018 by digger

Hi,

 

I've been using PADS 9.5 and Solidworks Premium 2013 for quite a while now and I wanted to share my experience.

 

 

POST REVISION:

This is revision D of my post - January  5, 2014

 

 

NOTE:

You need the Premium version of Solidworks because it comes with Circuitworks.

Circuitworks is the piece of software that reads PADS netlist ASCII files and translate them into a Solidworks .SLDPRT file

During Christmas time you might purchase the Premium version of Solidworks at the price of the standard version: 5000 Euros

 

 

WORK FLOW:

1. Export the PADS ASCII 2007 netlist file (I tried other versions but 2007 it's the one that works perfect)

2. Import the ASCII netlist file into Solidworks

3. Wait 10 to 30 seconds for Solidoworks to build the 3D file of the board

4. The 3D file created is an assembly file

 

 

NAMES MATCHING:

Solidworks reads the PART TYPE of the component.

The 3D files of your components must have the same name of the PART TYPE of the components in PADS.

 

 

BUILDING SOLIDWORKS LIBRARIES:

1. Launch Solidworks

2. Launch Circuitworks

3. Locate in your disk or network the 3D file of your component (STEP or SLDPRT formats are preferred)

4. Add the 3D file to the library

 

Please, note that Solidworks doesn't store the 3D files of your components into a single big library file.

Solidworks' 3D library is just a collection of links.

 

 

COMPONENTS ROTATION AND SHIFT:

You might need to rotate or shift one the 3D files in Solidworks in order to see the component correctly oriented and placed.

That means that after downloading the 3D file from the Internet you have to open it up with Solidworks and use the "Move/Copy part" command.

 

 

TWO-WAY OPERATIONS:

If you move a component within Solidworks you may export the new netlist and import it back to PADS.

To be honest I've never tried this function.

I've been using one-way operations so far.

 

 

PCB THICKNESS:

Set the PCB thickness within PADS Layout.

 

 

MULTILAYER PCB:

They are perfectly translated into Solidworks.

 

 

3D ELECTROMAGNETIC SIMULATION WITH CST OR ANSYS:

Never tried.

I doubt though it can be done because to save file space, all copper pieces are considered one solid body in Solidworks.

 

 

CST PLUG-IN FOR SOLIDWORKS:

CST 2014 now reads Solidworks native files that's the first step needed for 3D electromagnetic simulation of a PCB.

PCB antennas or monopole antennas without a ground plane can be easily detuned by large copper planes or walls.

 

 

BOARD CUTOUTS:

They are perfectly translated into Solidworks.

 

 

DXF drawings in the PCB file:

They are perfectly translated into Solidworks.

 

 

LAN network path:

Solidworks works fine in a LAN.

You can place the 3D files of your components in a network path.

 

 

MY PC CONFIGURATION:

Windows 7 Pro, Intel i7, 8 GByte RAM, 2 Hard disks, 90 dollars Video card (GPU)

Solidworks works perfectly with low cost video cards.

In case of 3D boards with more than 150 components, you might need to check a property in Solidworks: "Large Assembly View Option".

 

 

WHY I DIDN'T  PURCHASE ALTIUM:

I needed a real 3D CAD software.

 

 

 

Enrico Migliore

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