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Browse our library of resources to learn more about electronic computer aided design (ECAD) and mechanical computer aided design (MCAD) for printed circuit boards.
Editing Your PCB Geometry with MCAD Tools
You need to define your PCB geometry in the context of your enclosure. If your board cannot physically be assembled
CoDesigner and MCAD Component Placement
We design products not just PCBs requiring effective collaboration between MCAD and ECAD engineers. We need to consider how we
Creating Unusual Shapes in Altium Designer - The Donut
How To Reduce Design Respins With Embedded 3D STEP Models
Differential Pairs Without Ground: Is it a Problem?
Some designers tell you that differential pairs without ground are acceptable. So who’s correct? We’ll examine the pros and cons of a differential pair ground plane.
Which Type of Capacitor Should You Use?
Capacitors are used in far more applications than just bypassing noise, and there are many more types of capacitors than just ceramic and aluminium electrolytic.
Solder Bridge Jumper Best Practices in PCB Design
A PCB variant is often simply thought of as a new layout created from an old design. However, if you’re creative with your routing and layout, you can use a solder bridge jumper to configure portions of a single PCB layout for multiple variants. This lets you quickly create variants of a PCB layout without rerouting traces or changing your schematics. If you plan to use jumpers in your PCB layout, there are some important guidelines to follow to
Designing Pressure Tolerant Electronics: It's All About Mechanics
After a recent inquiry from a customer about a high power board that must withstand high gas pressures, my team suddenly realized we needed to do some research on designing pressure tolerant electronics. This area is not as popular as designing electronics for ambient pressures, but the design techniques used here enable important scientific expeditions and industrial applications in high pressure environments. Whether the board will be placed in
Evaluating Concord Pro
I’m working on several projects that require new PCB assemblies, and this presented a great opportunity to try Altium’s new product: Concord Pro™. Concord Pro is a component management system which makes component creation and organization much easier than using the current workflow. One of the PCB assemblies I need is a high-current voltage regulator that I will be using for a DC motor controller, and this is the PCB design I will use to
Design for Additive Manufacturing with Your ECAD/MCAD Software
Your next set of advanced PCBs will roll off your 3D printer with these Design for Additive Manufacturing guidelines Industry 4.0 is surely on the horizon, and with the rate at which technology advances, many advanced products will be 3D printed in part or in full. The industrial IoT paradigm is already transforming the way many manufacturers operate and is helping usher innovation in a number of advanced industrial and consumer products. The
Concord Pro and ECAD to MCAD Integration
Introduction Back in September, I did a blog called PCB Design is a Team Sport, in which I specifically examined the different roles involved in the PCB Design Process. One of my conclusions was that the most important role involved in the whole design process is the Librarian. Everything begins and ends with the Library of Components, and if it is not correct, then Game Over. If the Librarian held the most important role, next would be the role
Rigid-Flex PCBs in IoT Devices: ECAD and MCAD Collaboration
At a recent PCB manufacturer’s trade show, multiple fabricators informed me they are seeing many more requests for flex and rigid-flex PCBs recently, particularly for smart wearables and small embedded/IoT products. The advantages of flex and rigid-flex PCBs include more efficient use of space in an enclosure, and the ability to adapt to foldable devices. Whether you need a static or dynamic flex/rigid-flex PCB, you’ll need to verify a number of
ECAD-MCAD Collaboration - Bridging the Communication Gap
Let’s face it, there are things that we do the same way every day, simply because ‘we have always done them that way’ and we are used to them. Due to schedule pressures and outside demands, there is rarely time to think about how to make these things better, never mind try to actually implement something new. This makes the motivation to invest in exploring different methodologies challenging. Our general tendencies lean more toward continuing to
Integrate Your ECAD Tools with Mechanical Design Software
Communication between ECAD and MCAD teams can be like a game of telephone Ever play a game of telephone as a child? Once the message gets back to the sender, successive miscommunication along the way causes the original message and idea to be completely modified. This is the same thing that happens when mechanical and electrical design teams are siloed into different groups. Collaboration breaks down and communication becomes difficult. The
ECAD/MCAD Co-design for PCB Manufacturing with 3D Printing
It is ironic that PCB design has helped drive the adoption of new technology in all industries, including manufacturing automation, yet PCB manufacturing processes themselves have not seen radical innovation for many decades. Some innovative companies are looking to change this and are driving PCB manufacturing into Industry 4.0. 3D printing is already driving new manufacturing methodologies in every industry, such as “lights out” and digital
New Product Overview: Altium Concord Pro
There are many risks if your library and component data are not managed efficiently and effectively. Inefficiency occurs when multiple
Hardware and Software Co-Exist Due to Model-Based Software Development
As we discussed in the last post, more software is making its way into traditional mechanical products, and organizations need to find new and innovative ways to deliver quality products within strict time constraints. Software and electronics are taking over everyday items, from household products to cars. Many smart products need to process copious amounts of information in real-time. Generic computer processors aren’t cutting it anymore