Google SketchUp is already known as the world’s most popular free 3D design tool, and is rapidly gaining a widespread and loyal following with electronics design engineers. This is not only due to its capabilities as a CAD package, but also the fact that many of these capabilities are available in the free version. Using PCB Converter for SketchUp, users can, for the first time, import IDF files, a file specification designed specifically for the exchange of printed circuit assembly data between mechanical design and PCB layout.
Electronics engineers are able to export their PCB designs into Google SketchUp to assess their compatibility with the mechanical constraints of enclosures and mounts. This allows them to make design decisions immediately, and avoids the need for redesign requests and design reviews. Users can then incorporate 3D models of popular electromechanical components to complete their design. CAD models of products in the RS product range can be downloaded from its website in SketchUp compliant format (*.skp) and used in the tool.
Commenting for RS Components, Mark Cundle, Technical Marketing Manager said: “We’ve witnessed the growing popularity of Google SketchUp with electronic designs engineers, shown in format downloads of our 3D CAD models from the RS website, as well as comments and feedback from DesignSpark members. RS is delighted to be launching PCB Converter for SketchUp, continuing the development of free, essential design resources available for engineers through DesignSpark.”
For Google, Stephen Dapkus, Google SketchUp Team added: “PCB converter for SketchUp offers electronics design engineers a new pathway to move seamlessly from eCAD to 3D MCAD design. Google are excited about the vision shown by RS Components in the development of PCB converter for SketchUp and are proud to see Google SketchUp being used by RS as a key component in the delivery of free access design tools, integrating the design journey for engineers.”
PCB Converter for SketchUp is available free of charge without limitation to all members of DesignSpark, the RS online electronics design community and resource centre. DesignSpark provides free access to information, resources and reviews. Users will also have access to a full suite of video tutorials and examples.