We also use Circuitworks and Pads, but without the collaborator. I belive that pads only supports idx 2.0 and idx 3.0. Unfortunately these IDF versions do not support traces, pads, VIAs.
For copper in Solidworks we use File -> Export -> ASCII Files (*.asc); however, better results can be achieved with exporting all copper to dxf and reimport to solidworks with a lot of work.
Another way is export copper as step via the PADS 3D Export dialog.
For other simulation program we use the odb++ file format.
Hope I could help!
Thanks for your valuable inputs. We use Pads professional. The.ASCII file is the .fab file, i guess. We will try.
As you said, export .dxf is a lot of work and generates too many lines and makes it slow.
Yes, .step works fine, but it is dead information, and last time were 1600 items from a small board generated, and took three and a half minutes.
But about exporting copper with .idx V2.0 and V3.0, you are wrong. The copper information is there, I can see it when importing the .idx with our thermal simulation SW (6Sigma). But Circuitworks defines it as “filled traces”, which cannot be build.
I found an .idx file on our company drive from another layout program (Altium), even Version V2.0, and it works perfect with Circuit works. All VIAs, copper traces and pads could be built.
But not with the collaborator idx. ;(
Maybe nobody noticed it yet, because nobody uses the collaborator? Is there anybody on the planet who uses collaborator with .idx file exchange?
Thanks in advance.
Sorry I don't have any more suggestions than what has already been made that would be at all useful, all possibilities I have used all
take a large amounts of time on both PCB Designer & our Mech Designer. I am only running PADS Plus suite, but same issues I don't know what Mentor
is doing but agree 200% ALtium works very nice with ECAD to MCAD for 3D export. Each time I think Mentor
is taking a step in the right direcion with the 3D stuff NOT! I don't know who is giving them input as to how to handle the 3D
stuff but it does not appear to be anybody that actually has to use the output of the tool. Its very slow, toooo many
items in the output and they still can't get silkscreen output right, that's way too slow also, in Altium it takes
seconds to export a reasonably good size board to step or iges with silkscreen on it. Mentor is really
very behind in he 3D world they made the silkscreen and solder mask output as separate files, makes no sense it just creates
even more work for the designer even if they could use the files that way.
You are right, idx v2.0 and 3.0 supports copper and layers. I mixed it up with the idf file format. There you have copper only from v4.0.
I never before used the collaborator. Maybe you are right and nobody is using it, so it gets free since VX.2.3 in PADS Std Plus.
The requirement to model the top and bottom layer I had (fortunately) only once, whereby the primary goal here was the silkscreen...
By the way, I tested the collaborator and i missed all drills in the 3D-File. Idf works better, but without copper.
This is correct usage. CircuitWorks will read copper elements coming from us as filled areas. This should include the pads, traces and other copper elements. If you are not building the copper elements in SolidWorks, I would check what version of SolidWorks you are using. I believe copper was only supported in SP3 of SW2018.