What's New In Altium Designer 18 Webinar Recap May 17, 2018

May 22, 2018 Alexsander Tamari

In case you missed our Altium Designer 18 live webinar, no worries. You can catch up here with the video recording and presentation slides. If you’re not a fan of videos I’ll try my best to summarize in the webinar notes bellow.  The key takeaways will be the same as the April 19th webinar but do take a look at the questions as they’ll be different. Also for next months Altium Designer webinar I plan to show more, i’m thinking Active BOM but if you all have something you’d like to see leave a comment.

 

“I had not been exposed to much 3D PCB design capability in the past. As a relatively new ALTIUM user I have to say that designing PCB in 3D using Altium is a lot easier than I thought it would be. Trading 3D PCB layout files with my mechanical cohorts for review has never been easier!”

-Kelly Dack, CID+ CIT, PCB Designer / IPC Instructor

 

Key Takeaways

Performance Improvements

Multi-threading

Multithreading allows Altium Designer to parse out different tasks to different cores making it much quicker. Multi-threading is used for tasks that can be run in parallel. Its Great for things like polygon pours, gerber generation and DRC checks, things that do not have to be calculated sequentially. Its to be noted that smaller, simple designs will probably not notice a difference in performance but users that work with larger, more complex designs will.

64 bit

Now that Altium Designer is 64 bit its able to utilize much more memory than its predecessors, giving the user a faster and smoother design experience.

Selective Optimization

Certain tasks in the software have been completely rewritten to be much more efficient. Examples of this would be gerber generation and net building. Our R&D team went through and reduced the amount of calculations Altium needed to do to complete a task without losing any data. They’re pretty clever.

New User Improvements

Properties Panel

The interactive properties panel provides universal editing access to the properties of documents and objects in design editors. The panel changes its content based on the document or object that is currently selected and presents specific properties and settings that relate to that document/object. For example if you click on a component in the schematic the properties panel will show the designator, description as well as parameters and pin information. And when in the PCB the properties panel will show similar information just slightly geared for PCB.  The properties panel is a work in progress and will continue to improve.

View Configuration Panel

The view configuration panel is used to configure what is currently displayed in the workspace and how it is displayed. This includes layer visibility and color, object visibility and transparency, masking and dimming levels, the current single layer mode, and a number of additional workspace display features, such as the display of net names on pads, vias and tracks. This is a work in progress and will continue to improve.

Multi-Board Assemblies

Altium Designer 18 introduces true system-level design that connects both logical system design and the physical board assembly. In the Multi-board schematic environment is where one is able to logically connect the seperate board modules together. Once connected use the connection manager to manage the connectivity across designs.

 

Within the multiboard assembly environment one is able to physically connect the separate PCBs in 3D space. The multi-board environment also has 3D collision checking to make sure everything fits perfectly. And if a change needs to be make to a components placement, changes can be pushed to the child PCB.

 

Q&A

Q: How can I export a 3D model of my design, including copper and individual components.

A: If you export as a parasolid you’re able to export board, component, and copper information. Link

 

Q: What resources do you have on multiboard?

A: We have a few resources you can view one of our webinars or take a look at our documentation.

 

Q: Do you have a getting started guide for Altium Designer 18?

A: We have a tutorial called ”Getting started with PCB Design” that takes you through the creation of a simple board. Link

 

Q: Is Altium Designer backwards compatible with older versions?

A: Yes. Altium Designer 18 is able to open and work with file formats of previous versions.

 

Q: Can you configure the properties panel?

A: Yes the Properties Panel is configurable. The properties panel will keep its last used settings so you only need to set it up once. Link

 

Q: Can Atlium Designer 18 produce video animations with multiboard?

A: Not at this time. We are continuing to develop this technology. Video animations when working on individual boards are still available. Link

 

Q: Can you export a 3D model of the assembled multiboard assembly?

A: Not at this time, but you can export the individual boards and assemble them in a mechanical CAD tool such as solidworks.

 

Q: Can our team work with Altium Designer 18 and an older version of Altium Designer on the same project?

A: Yes, but Altium Designer 18 specific functionality such as multiboard are not available in Altium Designer 17.

 

 

Try Altium Designer for yourself. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Alexsander Tamari

Alexsander joined Altium as a Technical Marketing Engineer and brings years of engineering expertise to the team. His passion for electronics design combined with his practical business experience provides a unique perspective to the marketing team at Altium. Alexsander graduated from one of the top 20 universities in the world at UCSD where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

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