Recently, I've been moving more and more to using SketchUP for my CAD designs, now that I've taken the time to figure it out and get more comfortable with it. One of the issues I ran into, was finding a better way to bring in the designs from Eagle for the PCBs so that I wouldn't have to spend all day drawing them out by hand.
Here, for example, is a 3d rendering of the nanoMoCo board, and an example of fitting a PCB into an enclosure (the enclosure was imported via a free trial of a paid STL->Sketchup importer, the STL files provided by the manufacturer).
The nice part about having interactive 3d models is that I can move elements around immediately and visualize the changes - which I like a lot, instant feedback makes me happy. =)
Here's a quick brief on the tools and process, I'm not going to go into "step by step" details, as most of it is easily explained on the EagleUP website, but here are a few things:
EagleUP is composed of a ULP script for eagle, and a Ruby script for SketchUP - between the two, you are able to go from a board layout in eagle to a sketchup model by exporting via the ulp script, and then importing via the ruby script. If you want to then create DXF or STL files for someone to machine, you can export DXF or STL out of sketchup using the plugin from Guitar List linked below.
- SketchUP sketchup.google.com
- Eagle cadsoftusa.com
- EagleUP eagleup.wordpress.com
- ImageMagick imagemagick.org
- (optional) Eagle to DXF/STL plugin guitar-list.com
Notes on using EagleUP:
- You need to make sure to download all of the models in the warehouse first thing: http://eagleup.wordpress.com/warehouse/ (see the link near the bottom for the archive of all models)
- You should always be working in the "Engineering - Meters" Template when working with EagleUP
- Remember that everything is 1,000:1 due to the resolution of SketchUP
- Making models is easy from the parts datasheets, aligning them properly - especially with your custom eagle footprints - is the hard part, but the reward is worth it.