Quick Tutorial: Real-Time Interactive 3D

July 3, 2019 Team EMA

In today’s world, the size of mechanical housing for electrical products is constantly decreasing, making 3D integration more important than ever. Ensuring your board and components fit correctly in the mechanical housing creates its own set of difficulties. This is especially challenging for rigid-flex designs. With Real-Time Interactive 3D in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional, you can seamlessly transition between 2D and 3D during your design process, bend your rigid-flex designs and measure paths to fully visualize your completed design. This tutorial will show you how to flex your design, measure paths in the x, y and z directions, and perform collision detection in real-time without leaving your CAD environment. If you would like to follow along with this tutorial, you can download the design files here.



 

Step 1: Open your design in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional and select Display→ 3D Canvas from the menu.
 

Note: You can also click the 3D Canvas button on the toolbar.
 


Step 2: In the Symbols Tab, expand TOP and uncheck “STEP_3D_MECH_BASE”.
 


Step 3: Enable Flexible Circuit Bending. Select the Option Tab. Right click in the 3D Canvas and select Bend.
 


Set the following angle values:

  • Bend_1: 90
  • Bend_2: 90
  • Bend_3: 90
     
Note: You can also slide the “Percentage Bar”. Select “All” from the drop-down menu and slide the Selected Bands Percentage Bar to bend all the flexible parts at once. To enable the bend capability in future designs, you will need to create bends and set an anchor point in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional. For a detailed tutorial on this, check out Appendix A at the end of this blog post.
 

Right click and select Done.
 


 

Step 4: Enable Measurements. Right click and select “Measure Path”.
 


 

Click on components to measure distances. Distances are displayed in the Options tab for the X, Y and/or Z axis.
 

Note: Selected components are indicated with a blue dot and measured paths indicated with a blue line.


Right click and select Done.
 


Step 5: Enable Flexible Circuit Bending. Still in the Option Tab, right click in the 3D Canvas and select Bend. Set the following angle values:

  • Bend_1: 180
  • Bend_2: 180
  • Bend_3: 180
     
Note: You can also slide the “Percentage Bar”. Select “All” from the drop-down menu and slide the Selected Bands Percentage Bar to bend all the flexible parts at once. To enable the bend capability in future designs, you will need to create bends and set an anchor point in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional. For a detailed tutorial on this, check out Appendix A at the end of this blog post
.


 

Step 6: Select the Collision Detection Tab and click Calculate.

A collision has been detected due to flexing the circuit between U5 and U24.
 

Note: Click on a component in the Collision Detection results. This will highlight the component on the PCB Assembly for easy detection. To view the collision in this tutorial, rotate the assembly by using “Shift” + the middle mouse button or use a pre-defined view (Back) by selecting View→Camera from the menu.
 


 

Step 7: Move the components. Back in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional, click on component U5. Move the component and use “R” on the keyboard to rotate. Click to place.
 

Note: For purpose of this tutorial, the color of U5 and U24 has been changed to yellow for easy detection.
 


 

Click on component U24. Move the component and use “R” on the keyboard to rotate. Click to place.
 


 

Note: The components are moved in real-time and the 3D view is automatically updated. If the symbols are not updated automatically, make sure the “Enable 2D/3D Interactive” option is checked by going to Setupà Preferencesà Interactive in the 3D Canvas.
 

Step 8: Back in the 3D Canvas, run the collision detection again by selecting Calculate.

The collision has been resolved and is no longer visible in the Collision Detection tab.
 


 

Visualizing the final result of your PCB Assembly and how the assembly interacts with mechanical housing can be difficult, especially for rigid-flex designs. Collisions within the PCB Assembly or with the mechanical housing can create delays or even respins. Ensure your assembly is completed successfully by detecting issues and collisions during your design process with Real-Time Interactive 3D in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional.

 

Appendix A: Creating a Bend for Rigid-Flex Designs in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional
 

This appendix will provide step-by-step instructions to set up your rigid-flex design to utilize Bend capabilities included in the 3D Canvas. Creating a bend will allow you to view the actual PCB Assembly in 3D, to ensure there are no collisions with the board or mechanical housing after assembly. If you would like to follow along with this tutorial, you can download the design files here.
 


 

Step 1: Open your design in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional and select Setup→ Bend→ Create from the menu.



 

Note: This will bring up the “Create Bend Area” Window.
 

Step 2: Add BEND_3 for the Bend Name.
 

Note: For designs with multiple bends, each bend name needs to be unique.
 


 

Step 3: Define the Bend Line. The bend line is the center of the bend along the bend radius.

Click to start the bend line. Select coordinate (144.6244, 76.2110). The X and Y coordinates are automatically populated in the Create Bend Area Window.  Or type the X and Y coordinates into the corresponding boxes in the Create Bend Area Window.
 


 

Click to finish the bend line. Select coordinate (144.6244, 96.2110). The X and Y coordinates are automatically populated. Or type the X and Y coordinates into the corresponding boxes in the Create Bend Area Window.
 


 

Step 4: Set the Bending Parameters. Set the following information:

  • Inner Side: Top
  • Inner Radius: 4
  • Angle: 180
  • Order: 0
     
Note: The following Bending Parameters can be defined:
  • Inner Side: Defines the inside surface of the bending area. Top indicates the bend is upwards. Bottom indicates the bend is downwards.
  • Inner Radius: Defines the bend radius on the inner surface of the bend area.
  • Angle: Defines the final angle of the bend.
  • Order: Defines the order sequence number of the bend when multiple bends exist in the design. In some assemblies the sequence of the bends may impact the final result of the design. This parameter is optional.
     


 

Step 5: Set the Bend Area Options. Check “Via Keepout” and set the following information:

  • Oversize: 2
     
Note: By checking this option a via keepout will be generated for the bend. By default, the same outline will be used as the bend area outline. Entering a value for “Oversize” will expand the via keepout size from the bend area size. The via keepout will not expand beyond the design outline boundary.
 

Check “Package Keepout” and set the following information:

  • Oversize: 2
     
Note: By checking this option a package keepout will be generated for the bend. By default, the same outline will be used as the bend area outline. Entering a value for “Oversize” will expand the package keepout size from the bend area size. The package keepout will not expand beyond the design outline boundary.
 


 

Step 6: Save the Bend. Click Create and Close.
 

Note: Bends can be edited at any time by selecting Setupà Bendà Edit from the menu and selecting the desired Bend Area from the Bend Name pull-down menu.
 


 

Step 7: Set the 3D Anchor point. Select Setupà Anchor 3D View from the menu.
 


 

Note: The area containing the anchor point remains stationary during bending in the 3D Canvas. This is typically the rigid part of your rigid-flex design.
Click on the part of the design you want stationary when bending the PCB Assembly. For this tutorial, click on the rigid portion of the design farthest to the left. Right click and select done.
 


 

Note: The Anchor point can be re-defined at any time by selecting Setupà Anchor 3D View from the menu and selecting a new anchor point.
Bend capabilities will now be available in the 3D Canvas. For more information on bending and other real-time interactive 3D capabilities in OrCAD PCB Designer Professional, check out the blog post here.

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