Welcome to eagleUp

Welcome to eagleUp website. If this is your first visit please check the installation page with a complete step by step tutorial on the setup. Then you can follow a tutorial on how to use eagleUp with the example provided.

For the model of your own project you will need some 3D parts. You can get them from the warehouse, or draw them yourself. It’s quick and simple. You can also import step files for the mechanical parts.

Feel free to leave a feedback in the comments or by email.

development ideas

eagleUp 4.3 is in beta test at the moment and will be released soon. It will fix some rounding errors for the edges that can appear if you have a very curvy board outline.

What do you want to see in eagleUp ? Here is a short list of what the users have requested so far :

  • work in millimeters instead of meters. This request appears very often, but Sketchup is designed for buildings so it limits the precision at our low scale. But mm-scaling should be possible and will probably appear very soon in eagleUp.
  • smarter part management. At the moment the name of the part.skp has to match the package name in Eagle so it limits strongly the flexibility. With the next releases the part will be handled differently and will allow the designer to change on the fly the parts, and why not pick directly from the eagleUp warehouse.
  • multi-layer board 3D view. We have now achieved a nice and realistic preview of the parts and of the outside of the board, but when you work with multi-layer boards, it could be interesting to see the inside of the board : how the layers are connected, where is this via going, what is the separation between critical signals in the real board…
What else can you suggest ? The discussion is open in the comments.
Jerome

eagleUp made my day

In this post I publish some user comments that tell how eagleUp could help by saving time and money.

Take vertical measurements

Measuring in the PCB plane is simple, but when it comes to vertical dimensions, the designer often has to read datasheets and to make estimation for the missing dimensions. With eagleUp, you simply assemble the parts as you would do with the prototype, and then take measurements with a virtual ruler. Quick and accurate !

In the example below, Joe needed to know the height of spacer necessary for the mounting of the PCB on the enclosure floor, and the total height. He used the import procedure to get an accurate model of the male and female parts of the wire to board connector. The result appeared immediatly.

Then he needed to determine the path of the ribbon cable. The position of the ribbon was not indicated in the datasheet of the connectors, so he added a virtual ribbon cable, and could shape it to match the future location of the cables in the enclosure.

Detect collision in time

Before launching the circuit into production, Joe had a last look at the model, and saw something wrong. There was a collision between a spacer and a jumper. The jumper was added quickly at the end of the project and appeared fitting on the Eagle design. The mistake came from the spacer that did not appear in Eagle, as previously it was a completely empty area.

The mistake was detected on time and corrected, and the schedule was kept.

 

(Feel free to share your experiences in the comments or by email)

eagleUp 4.2

After a few days of beta testing, eagleUp 4.2 is now released.

This version focuses on reducing the amount of settings and on the automatic detection of the configuration. eagleUp is becoming more user friendly, thanks to your comments and suggestions.

The main new feature is that you do not need to manually edit the RB file for the settings any more. The paths and the settings for the board (colors, thickness…) are saved and restored at each launch.

You now have access to custom colors and can sort your SKP parts in as many sub folders as you want.

You can find eagleUp 4.2 in the installation page. Remember to check the tutorial as well.

Release notes :

  • fixed an issue with decimal separator in the folder names.
  • fixed an issue with comma as decimal sign and Windows XP platform.
  • added decimal sign detection in Sketchup, no more errors due to a wrong setting (currently the first cause of troubles).
  • added unit detection in Sketchup, warns the user and stop if meters are not set in the template (the second).
  • added a custom color choice for easier users experiments with board colors, select the color ‘custom’, a popup will help you fill the values.
  • added storage of users settings in eaglerc configuration file for Eagle versions 5.10 and above. All settings and preferences are now saved and restored at each launch for higher productivity.
  • added storage of users settings in a text file for older versions of Eagle (equivalent to the previous line, but not as reliable in shared environment).
  • added settings for the paths and commands (previously these values had to be edited by hand). At first launch the user can edit the paths (or choose the default values for Windows or for OS X). These settings can be accessed later in the eagleUp main window.
  • added compatibility with multiple projects in a same folder by naming the exported images with the board name.
  • added an option to export and import a design without the realistic PCB images. The image creation is a slow step, in particular for large designs. With this option you can make a quick preview, check for the missing parts, and when all is ready make the real export/import with the images.
  • added an automatic correction of package names having a comma (replaced by a dot) or slash (/, replaced by _ ). SKP files should be named the same way.
  • added support for sub folders in /models. You can sort your models as you want with as many levels as you need.
  • added automatic zoom to the extent of the model in Sketchup.

The next version will have a better skp part management, and more error detection on the board level. Feel free to suggest any improvement you would like to see.

I am looking for a way to get photo realistic views of the assembled boards. If you are experienced with Blender or other freely available rendering software, please get in touch with me.

Jerome

import step files for your models

Many mechanical parts like connectors, switches and large parts are offered as STEP models by their manufacturers. Unfortunately there is no direct way to import them into Sketchup, so we usually have to redraw them from scratch based on the datasheet and some imagination.

Lorenz wrote me a short description of his method to import STEP files. I will illustrate it with a Micro-Match connector, manufactured by Tyco. The reference of the part is 1-215460-0. Follow the link and download the STEP model (you do not need to sign in, just close the popup).

Locate the zip file on your computer and extract it. There should be a .stp file inside.

Download and install FreeCAD. This tool is multi platform. Launch it.

Import the model with File / Import .

Press ’0′ (zero) for isometric view. Pretty realistic. It would be a lot of work to draw so many details !

Create a mesh for this model : Meshes / Create mesh from shape. Click OK in the left hand side tab.

Then click on “c_0215460_10_u_3d (Meshed)” and Meshes / Export mesh… Save as binary STL.

You can open the STL file with eDrawings to check the intermediate file.

Still looking nice ?

Now download and install Blender. This tool is multi platform. Launch it and import the STL file : File / Import / Stl…

Export as Collada (DAE).

Then Import the dae file in Sketchup. You can explode the model and edit it : add colors, re-orientate it.

A good check is to measure the component and check that the dimensions are correct (remember the scale : millimetres are now meters).

Summary : STP => STL => DAE => SKP

Feel free to share your own methods in the comments.

export your model as DXF or STL

Sketchup is a nice CAD tool but the SKP format is not the most useful. You cannot open it with many other software or share it with mechanical designers. Today we will see how to export it nicely.

Following this link you can find a plugin for Sketchup that can write DXF and STL files. Copy the RB file in your Sketchup plugins directory. This plugin works for Windows and OS X.

Then open your existing design, or run eagleUp from scratch. You can find the export plugin in the tools menu :

 

Choose to export the whole model, then select an export in millimeters.

Finally you can choose your export format.

  • the polyface mesh can help measurements on 2D drawings
  • the STL gives a more useful 3D model

 

STL is widely used for milling, printing, and other quick prototyping.

There are several free viewers available. I can recommend eDrawings. Feel free to share your experience in exports and 3D file formats in the comments.

Tomorrow in another post we will see how to import parts in Sketchup.