Today I learned how to create 3D renderings of Eagle Boards.  I’ll share with you how I got this image below.

FAB1515-REVA-3D

 

You’e probably seen this board design, it’s from my last blog posting. It’s a split +/-15V DC/DC Converter power supply, which also accepts our FAB-1248 Plugin module (for 48V DC output).

fab1515cad

So how did we convert from this 2D CAD drawing to a 3D image? The secret lies in using some neat 3rd-party software.

Part 1:

The instructions below refer specifically for OSX installation. (If you’re running Windows, there are some slight differences in the instructions, like location of your program, file path, etc.)

If you’re running OSX, (like I do) there are some additional steps to take, like installing HomeBrew.

homebrew

 

From the OSX Terminal command, type
ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)”

Follow the user prompts, enter your administration password when prompted. This will install HomeBrew on your OSX computer.

 

After HomeBrew is installed, type in your Terminal:
brew install imagemagick

That’s it…. now let’s continue to Part 2.

Part 2:

Next software we’ll need is EagleUp.  EagleUp is basically a set of programs that convert your Eagle Board .brd files into Google Sketchup files.  Download the files from the above site and follow the Installation instructions.

After downloading EagleUp (version 4.4 is the latest as of April 2013), extract the ZIP file.

Copy the eagleUp_export.ulp file goes to your /Applications/Eagle/ulp subdirectory.

Copy the /models subdirectory to your /Applications/Eagle subdirectory.  This directory contains 3D models of the different components/parts (like resistors, capacitors, chips, etc).

The SketchUp eagleUp_import.rb file goes to /Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/plugins

The first time you run EagleUp_export.ulp, you’ll be presented with a dialogue box. Click “Set for OSX” so the proper program paths will be used.

OSXsetting3D

You need to edit the path for convert.exe and composite.exe!  We’re in OSX.  We don’t use .exe programs :)

Edit the file path for convert and composite.   It should be changed to /usr/local/bin/convert and /usr/local/bin/composite.  (See screen shot above)

Now that we’ve setup our OSX, it’s time to test everything and see if it works!

Run Eagle, load your schematic and board files. Switch to the Board Editor.  Run the ULP eagleUp_export.  (Remember, we copied it to our /ulp/ subdirectory).

eagleupcad

 

Setup the parameters like dpi, board thickness, solder mask color, etc. then click OK. The script will create a subdirectory called /eagleUp in the same directory as your original .brd files.

Inside this newly created /eagleUp subdirectory, you’ll see a bunch of png files (representing the board, silkscreen, holes, mask, etc). You’ll also see a .eup file.  If you open this .eup file in a text editor, you’ll see something like this.

It’s a very long file, depending on how big your board file is, and how many components you have.

Our next step is running Google SketchUp 8.  So if you haven’t installed Google Sketchup, now is the time to do so.
http://www.sketchup.com/product/newin8.html

Run Google Sketchup, then go to Preferences.  From the Template menu, select Engineering – meters.

sketchupengineering

 

Quick Sketchup and restart the program again.

Go to Plugins -> Import eagleUp v4.4

sketchupplugins

Select the .eup file from the /eagleUp subdirectory (i.e. the one you just created in Part 2 instructions above using Eagle’s ULP)

Voila! You now have your 3D board!  Now, some 3D parts may be missing in your board file.  If you’ve created your own custom part library, or using an obscure part, chances are the part wouldn’t show up in your 3D image.

You’ll need to download .skp files that match the Library Name for your part. i.e. if your Eagle part is called CONNECT10,  you also need an .skp file called CONNECT10 so SketchUp will know how to render that part in 3D space.

Creating a 3D model is beyond the scope of this blog post but there are many tutorials on the Internet on how to use SketchUp to create your own 3D library. Another option is to download ready-made .skp files created and shared by other authors.  Use Google to find them.  Good luck!