While Eagle3D is designed for rendering 3D views of a board rather than creating a solid model, this is nonetheless a useful tool to explore. Be prepared to step over a few hurdles to run some of the software that might not run natively on recent OSes. Think this elaborate dance is worth it worth it? Check out this visualization linked here.
Using Eagle3D and POV-Ray, you can make realistic 3D renderings of your PCBs. Eagle3D is a script for EAGLE Layout Editor. This will generate a ray tracing file, which will be sent to POV-Ray, which in turn will eventually pop out the finalized image of your PCB.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been building 3D models of our projects in Google SketchUp using the EagleUp script. This script makes a 3D model of the board from Cadsoft Eagle board (.brd) files, and populates it with preexisting models of components.
Once you have a 3D model in SketchUp you are free to evaluate it, build custom enclosures around it, or interface your model with others. This tutorial will help you build 3D models of your projects.
NOTE: Be advised that to build full 3D models of your projects you will have to have models for all your components. Some are available with the EagleUp script, some via the 3D warehouse, and some from our own library.
Usually you use eagle to design your printed circuit boards (PCBs) only in 2 dimensions (when not considering the layers as 3rd layer). This gives you some headaches for narrow space designs like in small cases.
The common solution until now is to export your board with eagleUp and assemble it with a case in Sketchup. This also gives you some drawbacks. The most important to me was that the Sketchup files are mesh based like the data used for 3D printing usually, but for further use in CAD systems this is not really usable. You also will not be able to get a STEP model that you can give to your costumers out of this data.
Another solution is to use eagle3D, which gives you photorealistic renders of your boards. This images (or even videos) are really good for marketing brochures, but this way makes it impossible for you to play with your 3D models to estimate how much space is left in your case.
The solution I found was to write a macro for FreeCAD that interprets the XML Data that Eagle 6 uses to save your board (the .brd file). This means that my script reads the outline of the pcb and extrudes it with the thickness you specified in eagle. The XML file also contains the names of your parts, which you can map to 3D CAD Models (STEP Models) of them. The last step is to assemble the parts and the board. For more information on how to use it see my github repository.
The only drawback of the freecad solution is that somehow the colors of STEP models get lost – at this time I expect it to be a freecad problem that might be fixed in the future.
As a graphic designer turned engineer, Ben has a treasure trove of tips and tricks for making your electronics projects look awesome. In this episode he’ll provide insight on the process of designing, explain some parameters to keep in mind, as well as share his thoughts in creating an aesthetically pleasing design.
This two-part design unites a tight-fit interior cavity for the electronics and components and a smooth, organic external shell with a handgrip — and it can be printed out on most desktop printers these days:
It’s one of the best RFID/NFC breakout boards around, and since I’ll be using mine in a Horse Barn environment, I needed an enclosure that could stand up to wear and tear, as well as be functional and easy to use. This is my 2nd attempt to make such an enclosure using Blender and my trust MakerBot Replicator – I have ideas for a 3rd design in the works now.
The board is made by Kevin Townsand of Adafruit, and is a particularly well-made product – really ahead of it’s time.
PN532 NFC/RFID controller breakout board – v1.3: The PN532 is the most popular NFC chip, and is what is embedded in pretty much every phone or device that does NFC. It can pretty much do it all, such as read and write to tags and cards, communicate with phones (say for payment processing), and ‘act’ like a NFC tag. If you want to do any sort of embedded NFC work, this is the chip you’ll want to use! (read more)
RobotGrrl’s Lightning LOL Necklace is both an electronics enclosure and the diffusing faceplate to produce the effect!
The inspiration for the face plate idea came from Buddy 4000. We noticed that the light can shine though its plastic, because of the low infill percentage, so figured the same would be true if the design was only 4 layers (and 2 layers on the lightning bolt).
There was one point where this whole project didn’t work. When soldering the Diavolino and LoL Shield together, the height must have slipped- which caused the reset button to always be pushed. Somehow we were able to desolder this… even though it was tightly squished between the two. Phew!
Today, in the same way as you print pots and whistles, you can now mold containers and boxes, according to your imagination. Sites like Thingiverse are filled with models, parts and pieces, but it is almost certain that you do not find exactly what you need for your purpose.
Often, the solution then is designing your ad hoc case: it may seem complicated but, with the help of the right tools, design such kind of objects is within the reach of everyone, including beginners.
…First of all we can say that the entire case (with the brackets to be fastened to 3Drag, the knob and the reset button) has been fully realized with Tinkercad, no tricks and no shortcuts. By the way, for the sake of readability, we will only focus on the implementation of part of the case – as a Tinkercad tutorial – since also the STL files are available for download and then you can download and make your case for the stand-alone printing interface for 3Drag or any RepRap printer with Sanguinololu controller….
I’ve been a software developer for quite a while. When you spend long enough inside a particular world, it’s easy to wind up with an ever-narrowing perspective. You start seeing everything from a software point of view. As the saying goes, when your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat every problem as NP-Complete. Or something. I forget how that goes.
Anyway, the point is, it’s always good to broaden one’s horizons, and solve as many different kinds of problems as possible. To that end, I started to get into hobby electronics recently. The journey has been very enlightening in a number of ways.
SmartConfig is the special functionality in the CC3000 that allows setting the SSID and password settings without having to type or re-program the module. Any iOS/Android device can be used to set the configuration – solving the annoying deployment problem of how to set the connection details for a new device.
Another ebay find- a vintage Keithley 172 multimeter. The datecodes on the parts range from 1978 to 1984, placing the final assembly somewhere in mid-1980s. It seems fully functional, but could use a bit of a calibration to regain its past precision.
For those interested, here is the user/service manual for the unit.
Dyson engineers are problem solvers and when they’re not working on new Dyson technology, they occasionally take on other engineering challenges after hours. The latest challenge was to build a machine that could fly through an obstacle course built from spare Dyson parts.
More than 100 Dyson engineers entered in both the UK and South-East Asia to compete. Balloons, planes, helicopters and several machines that defied description took to the air. Here are the results.