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dxf import to Cadstar design editor

Ninja13

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Hello,
Firstly, apologize, this is not my first post on this topic, but i am still blocked with that functionality.

  • : it says that i must use dxfio.map as the map file for the importation. Is it a mandatory ?
  • Is it mandatory to have separate layers defined into the the dxf file to be imported as boadoutline, cutout ?
  • Is it necessary to have specific layer names into the dxf file to make the importation work ?
  • When i try to import a board outline, with few holes (apperture) in it, it pops up: Error: more than one shape found on the board outline layer.
  • Are those holes called "cutout" in Cadstar ?
  • In my DXF Map configurator windows: i have only the choise to pick "0" or (none). Is "0" the layer recognize by Cadstar from my dxf ?
Thank you in advance,
 
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Mattylad

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I remember the video, I cannot remember if it was me or Bob that made it, most likely Bob. (I forgot a lot.)

DXF import is actually very easy if you forget all the stuff about trying to import the DXF as a PCB.
Instead import it as a simple drawing and then afterwards convert the outlines to the board outline etc.
  • it says that i must use dxfio.map as the map file for the importation. Is it a mandatory ?
Yes, otherwise it will not know what is what, you recreate the map every time you import - unless its a repeated procedure in that case you can make and save specific map files.
  • Is it mandatory to have separate layers defined into the the dxf file to be imported as boadoutline, cutout ?
Yes - but only if your importing a board outline with holes (cutouts) in..
  • Is it necessary to have specific layer names into the dxf file to make the importation work ?
No, you can select them in the mapping.
  • When i try to import a board outline, with few holes (aperture) in it, it pops up: Error: more than one shape found on the board outline layer.
See below.
  • Are those holes called "cutout" in Cadstar ?
Yes, a hole is simply a cutout of the shape.
  • In my DXF Map configurator windows: i have only the choise to pick "0" or (none). Is "0" the layer recognize by Cadstar from my dxf ?
Yes - thats the layer name in your DXF file.
Warning, once you select a layer in one of the tabs it will not be available in any other tabs.

Let me explain.
Cadstar has the ability to import a board outline and any holes in it, also components, copper tracks/groundplane etc.
This would enable you to make a PCB in CADSTAR, export it (via mapping) to AutoCAD - make some changes and import it back in again.
This is very old technology and there are far easier ways of doing it now. (I.e. BoardModeler/IDF).

If you want to import a DXF, its best that you just import it all as figures/lines on one layer then do what you want with it in Cadstar.

If you want a board outline to come in then follow these basic steps.
In AutoCAD/Solidworks etc:

1) Ensure that the board outline is the only thing on a specific layer - I used to name this layer "boardoutline" (I wonder why? lol)

2) If you want holes and cutouts in the board outline (not drilled holes) then these need to be drawn as figures and placed on a specific layer with nothing else on. I used to call this layer "BoardCutouts". (See what I am doing here :) ).

To identify the location of things like mounting holes, specific components, dont worry about the cutouts idea - simple draw a cross or circle on a layer and you can then import this as figures and use them to snap to with your component that you have as a mounting hole.
ISTR you can have multiple figure layers so you could for instance (if its a very busy board DXF) have a layer with crosses/circles for the mounting holes - called "go on - you guess what).
You can also have outlines drawn to use as keepout areas so you do not move components into them etc. - take a guess what I called these layers.

(I'm suggesting here - that naming things so that the name reflects what it is used for IMO just makes everything easier).

If you bring a figure into Cadstar (not a board outline) then providing you do not already have a board outline of any shape/size defined, you can duplicate the figure shape to a board outline (it must be a closed shape).

Importing from DXF requires some work in your other CAD package to prepare the file in the correct way.
Otherwise its all just figures, deal with it as such and just use duplicate shape etc.

It really is simple once you get the hang of it, dont get stressed. :)
 

Ninja13

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Wow Mattylad, thank you for your answer, which was really expected, and what an answer !

  • it says that i must use dxfio.map as the map file for the importation. Is it a mandatory ?
    => Yes, otherwise it will not know what is what, you recreate the map every time you import - unless its a repeated procedure in that case you can make and save specific map files.
    => I meant, must I use the specific dxfio.map which already exist or can I start the importation from scratch with a fresh-created .map file?

  • Is it mandatory to have separate layers defined into the the dxf file to be imported as boadoutline, cutout ?
    => Yes - but only if your importing a board outline with holes (cutouts) in..
    => Ok, so far I undestand that Iam not forced to use several layers for all the components elements i want to import. I can simply convert the drawings elements into Cadstar elements in Cadstar.
    But, if i have holes (apperture inside the board outline shape), I have to put them on a specific layer (to avoid the error: "more than one shape found on the board outline layer"), with, for example, the very apropriate layer name "BoardCutouts" . Is that correct ?

    What if some components are closed-shapes (as a rectangle). I must put them in boardCutouts layer (or in a specific other layer), otherwise the same error will pop-up if i let them in board-ouline layer. Is that correct ?

  • Is it necessary to have specific layer names into the dxf file to make the importation work ?
    => No, you can select them in the mapping.
    => I don't understand this part. If i want to select them in the mapping, it must be recognized by the dxf improtation module of Cadstar. So they must have different names and be on different layers ?

  • If you bring a figure into Cadstar (not a board outline) then providing you do not already have a board outline of any shape/size defined, you can duplicate the figure shape to a board outline (it must be a closed shape).
    => This part is also not clear for me. Could you explain me again ?
Ok, so , as a first conclusion, I must ask to my mechanical engineer to generate a new Dxf file with at least one board-outline layer and one layer with holes (boardcutout) and others figures in it.
 

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