Recently our needs for PCB design software increased, and our current solution is straining to meet the new demands. My question to you is:
Thanks for your time!
There are a lot of solutions including free ones. My interaction with CAD has always been a DXF. Nothing automated or associative. However, the ATB should be able to help with this but your solution would need to be robust to keep the models correct.
However, I have seen PCB dedicated CAD systems becoming more 3D aware and their components are actual 3D models. They can output STEP and with the increasing effort in Unite technology, there might be more interaction. You might want to get with PTC and find out what they are supporting and planning in case you don't use their solution.
I guess it all depends on how deep you want to get into this.
We use Altium Designer. It has the functionality Antonius describes. It can output 3D STEP files that do import nicely into Creo. It also allows the PCB designer to view shaded 3D models of the PCB directly in Altium. The only downside is that when changes are made it is a manual repalcement of one imported STEP with another.
Bill, Altium is one of the packages we are considering. Thanks for the feedback!
One thing you may want to take a look at is the creation of the 3D library. I know our design team spent a good deal of time creating the 3d library to enable this STEP functionality. This was probably 5 years ago, so maybe there is more out of the box now. I also believe there are 3rd parties that may be able to supply this information.