At 01:56 PM 2/7/2002 -0500, [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
>"Many users will not want to have to convert all their libraries to include
>3-D information"
>This is my point exactly. Some PCB designers have no interest in the 3D
>world, so let's not create a proverbial white elephant inside of Protel.

Lloyd missed my point. A good implementation will not require users to 
provide 3-D information. It will merely allow them to attach a 3-D model to 
a footprint. Thus there would be no legacy issues.

>functionality you request would add cost, or possibly an add-on package.
>Hmmm extra packages....sounds like the road the PADs and Orcads have been
>down before. And frankly I'm not interested in going down that road again.

The functionality is almost there, additional cost would be minor. Protel 
already did most of the work in providing the viewer. Sure, if there were 
substantial additional cost, it could become an add-on, like the excellent 
-- I understand -- Qual-ECAD package. Altium might simply buy Qual-ECAD, 
which makes sense if Qual-ECAD is on offer at a reasonable price.

The decision was already made, obviously, to provide 3-D functionality. Why 
they did not give us access to the models, a relatively simple step, I 
don't know, that's a mystery.

>You don't use a car in the lake nor do you use a boat on roads, but as long
>as you have a boat trailer to transport back and forth to the different
>mediums.. (perhaps a flakey analogy!?)

Yes, pretty flakey. It is routine for me as a PCB designer to be 
considering vertical interference issues. Most of the time they are simple 
enough that, yes, I don't need interference checking. But we asked for a 
way to deal with height information a long time ago, there was broad 
consensus that it would be useful.

There is a height field already assigned in the PCB file format. This is 
enough for simple checking, but some components are pretty complex in shape 
and a single height won't cut it. What I'm asking for does not require a 
database change. Instead, a text file could associate 3-D models with 
footprint names. If the file does not have an entry for a footprint, the 
height attribute would be used. We need to have editor access to the height 
attribute, both in the footprint library editor and in the PCB.

This is not a great deal to ask for. I think the only work actually needed 
as a first step is give us access to the height attribute.

The reason why this truly belongs as part of a sophisticated PCB design 
package is that *placement* belongs in the PCB design package. It is 
entirely too cumbersome to have to move designs in and out of various 
programs just to figure out where on the PCB to put a part, assuming that 
there is a model of the environment. Yes, 3-D placement rule checking would 
need to be added as well. I'd want to be able to move a part around and see 
the error color appear and disappear.

Abdulrahman Lomax
Easthampton, Massachusetts USA

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