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dxf import to Cadstar design editor

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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.
 

Mattylad

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Sorry for not getting back sooner.
1) you can make your own map, one per PCB, one per 2 layer, 1 per 4 layer - whatever you want :)

2) cutouts in the board - yes that is correct.
For the board outline - ONLY the board outline should be on the layer, if you want holles in the board then they must go on another layer and ONLY those holes on that layer, it should not be needed to say - these holes must be within the outline of the board lol

3)The DXF import will recognise the layers in the DXF file -0 you can select them in the mapping.
So in the DXF if 1 layer is called layer1, the mapping layer dropdown will have layer1 in it (and the others).

4)If you import a shape into cadstar, providing there is not already a board outline in cadstar, you can select this shape (which is just a figure) and use "duplicate shape" and duplicate it to be the board outline.
I used to bring in an entire chassis plate with additional shapes on for other items and the board outline, mounting pillars as circles, connector locations etc.
All bought into cadstar as figures.
These I mapped onto a layer I crated called "chassis plate", then I would select the figure that represents the board outline and use use duplicate shape to make a board outline (the original figure remains on the chassis plate layer), the mounting holes Idid not duplicate as cutouts in the board outline because instead I made a part for mounting hole - a picture of a screw in the schematic and a single pad in the PCB, with alternatives for different sizes/styles. These could then be dragged and snapped into place using the mounting hole figures for location - then fixed into place.
Everything on the chassis plate layer would be fixed into place so it could not be moved, also the layer turned off when not needed and eventually deleted before making the output files.

RE asking your mechanical engineer - yes prepare a document that specifies exactly what layers to use for what and the rules to follow - give them that.
Additionally - if your bringing figures over that are say for a logo etc,. ask them not to fill the shapes with lines as that takes ages to redraw - you can duplicate them in cadstar and fill them yourself. If they use a font you do not have installed - that too could be a problem.
 

marce

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Don't forget the co-ordinates of the DXF data will locate to the same co-ordinates in Cadstar as long as you have not moved the origin. Also don't use the negative co-ordinates in the DXF.
I use it all the time for creating board outlines, areas etc. as well as importing data from the model/drawings that allow me to place components etc. accurately.
Whomm is this Mattylad with witch you convers, he sounds like a young go getter...:LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:
 

Ninja13

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Hello,

Thank you a lot Mattylad, you helped me a lot. It now works well !
Nevertheless (yes, there is ! :D), I do not manage to import the component placement areas into the PREditorXR from the PCB DEsign Editor ..
Must they be in a specific layer in the PCB Design Editor ? And in which layer(s) they will be in the PREditor XR?

Thank you =)

Note to Marce: yes, thank you for tips =)
 

Ninja13

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Hum... I think I have understood: to follow the component placement constraints from dxf file, I must place/replace the components in the PCB Design Editor and not in the PREditor XR, is that correct ?
 

Ninja13

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Do you have any method to create/draw such a shape (a frame) which will be interpreted by PREditor XR as a "no track area" ?

Cadstar.png


In this example, the issue is that it's only to 2 imbricated rectangles ... and I would like no copper between the 2 rectangles.
 

Mattylad

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draw an area for the outside shape.
draw a cutout, select the area and then draw the inner shape.
Shift select it to confirm that its all 1 thing.
choose the properties, select the layer on.
To keep copper out it will be a no routes area.

However, that also means you cannot have routes within it.
To enable you to draw routes within it, enable errors when routing and use the display options to show the errors.
You can clear the errors and ignore them later.

As I would sometimes want to enable/disable an area like this I generally chose to first draw the shape on an unused inner layer (that I can later remove) used for storing it - and move it to that layer when routing, moving it back when pouring copper.

OR:

When you draw your template for pouring copper in, add a cutout following this shape, if your template is bigger then start at the outside shape crossing it at one point to get to the inner shape, then return at the same point very thinly.
 

Ninja13

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Hello Mattylad,

Thank you, the first solution works well.. but only for simple shapes : if i want to do, for example, a merge of a rectangle with a circle as a cutout of an Area shape, it seems to be not possible (!?). The 2 inner cutout shapes can't have any intersection.

Isn't possible to have 2 shapes already drawn, one into the other, and then just only defines the inner shape as the cutout of the outside shape?
 

Mattylad

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Yes I think your right, I cannot see how to convert a shape into a cutout of another shape - but then I have not used it for 3 years.
Cutouts must be wholly within the outer line and both be closed shapes.

As for the shapes, have a play with "Trim/Merge" on the net/shape tab.
When it does not do what you want correctly, change the order of your selections.
 
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