Home » What is and how to use SolidWorks CircuitWorks?

What is and how to use SolidWorks CircuitWorks?

When working on a combined design model with electrical and mechanical elements, most SolidWorks electrical and mechanical engineers require a bridge to collaborate. CircuitWorks is that bridge. CircuitWorks is a Solidworks add-in that includes a shared library of 3D electrical components to assist designers in adhering to company requirements. It enables mechanical and electrical engineers to share, compare, update, and track electrical design data while drastically increasing productivity.

What Is Solidworks CircuitWorks

Solidworks Circuitworks is a simple application for reading, altering, and interpreting Solidworks files. You may transfer data between electrical CAD (ECAD) and mechanical CAD (MCAD) using Circuitworks from within the SOLIDWORKS system. CircuitWorks supports the industry-standard Intermediate Data Format (IDF). It also uses the Mentor Graphics PowerPCB PADS ASCII file format and the Mentor Graphics and Cadence ProStep EDMD collaboration format. CircuitWorks may provide annotations from the ECAD data in addition to the board outline, components, holes (plated and non-plated), keep-out and keep-in zones, and holes. IDF v4 displays even pads, filled regions, and traces. The Solidworks Professional and Premium packages feature SOLIDWORKS CircuitWorks. Solidworks CircuitWorks reads and writes IDF (v2, 3, and 4) and PADS industry standards (.ASC).

CircuitWorks for SolidWorks adds capabilities by establishing a bidirectional connection between CircuitWorks and SolidWorks. Learning to use Solidworks Circuitworks would help create an exact, fully-functional assembly model of the circuitry. SolidWorks generates panel designs, keep-out (and keep-in) zones, holes, and components. With the Show Part Creation in SolidWorks option enabled, this happens directly in front of your eyes.

You may make adjustments when an ECAD data set is open in CircuitWorks. Components may be relocated, filtered out, and characteristics like reference designators can be changed as needed. Changes to the imported data can be saved as IDF files for use in the originating PCB design program.

How To Use Solidworks CircuitWorks

CircuitWorks is a robust electrical CAD/ECAD converter that allows engineers to produce accurate 3D circuit board models in SolidWorks 3D design software. To create a model with SolidWorks circuitry, first, import the IDF file into CircuitWorks. A preview of the PCB is provided using assembly information in a tree-view structure that SolidWorks users would recognize. You may expand the plus symbols in the tree to see all of the design model’s entities, including the board contour, holes, either plated or non-plated, and details for every single element from the IDF file. 

To learn how to use Solidworks Circuitworks, you must first understand its features and settings. Follow this guide to identify and understand SolidWorks circuitworks features. You must activate the CircuitWorks add-in before you can use it. To enable the CircuitWorks add-in, follow these steps:

Step 1: Click on Tools and select Add-Ins from the SolidWorks menu bar.

Step 2: Choose CircuitWorks to utilize in your current SolidWorks session from the Add-Ins dialogue box. Select CircuitWorks under Active Add-ins to do so, or you may configure it to use CircuitWorks in every SolidWorks session by selecting CircuitWorks under Start-Up.

Step 3: Select “OK.” A CircuitWorks menu is available when CircuitWorks is active in the current SolidWorks session.

After enabling Solidworks CircuitWorks, you could use it to design a PCB board, which would be required in any electrical product you are creating.

Step 4: The board design must have key electrical connector positions for the circuit. Circuitworks’ simple, wizard-based approach enables you to quickly capture the critical requirements of the board, ready to be utilized by electronics design.

Step 5: Choose the SolidWorks feature that defines the board chip and select the feature that defines non-plated holes and cutouts, followed by any holes that need to be plated, making the process even faster. Your features are automatically renamed in Solidworks Circuit to match the circuit work naming convention.

Step 6: Any sketches and features that define critical keep in and keep out and other outline areas can be selected, providing a complete definition of the circuit board’s initial requirements.

Step 7: When the board definition is complete, Circuitworks provides an intuitive way to view and interrogate the PCB design information. You can establish a baseline for your specific fit and form requirements using the integrated ability to synchronize the initial board layout with the electronics design. It ensures that you can use the PCB design immediately to fulfill the circuit design requirements of the board and that the same transparent workflow works seamlessly back into the CircuitWorks.

Step 8: You will be notified when a new board version is available. Once you open it, you can compare the latest revision against the previous version. Any changes are highlighted, making it quick and easy to review the updates and make informed design decisions.

 Step 9: When finished, approved changes can be immediately incorporated into the Solidworks design, ensuring that both the mechanical and electronics requirements are met.

Tools used in Solidworks CircuitWorks

  1. Plated/Non-plated Hole Layout
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The Solidworks Circuitworks tool allows you to define plated and non-plated holes. The SolidWorks features are renamed once they have been described. When importing, the holes are identified in the feature manager so that mechanical users can tell which holes are plated and which are not.

  1. Interference Detection

To guarantee the perfect fit of the PCB assembly, you may employ SolidWorks interference detection features, interferences between the board components, keep-outs, and other assembly components.

  1. Industry-Standard File Formats

Several industry-standard file formats, such as IDF, ProStep EDMD, and PADS ASCII, may be used to retrieve data from the most widely used ECAD applications.

  1. Component Location

Component placements can be altered or rotated when imported into Solidworks on the same side of the board. The component placements and sides will be sent to the ECAD program when you define a new board in Solidworks.

Conclusion

Circuits are one of the most commonly used critical components in all electrical sectors. Learning how to use Solidworks circuits in your designs has several downstream benefits, including lowering the requirement for costly physical testing and the danger of product failure in the field.