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How to Export PCB designs into DesignSpark Mechanical

This tutorial explains how to import electronic designs (PCBs) to DesignSpark Mechanical software

(From DesignSpark Mechanical FAQ's)

In many cases it is very useful to transfer Printed Circuit Board design to Mechanical CAD domain. The most popular example would include checking the board dimensions against an existing enclosure, designing new enclosure around a PCB design, validating positions of mounting holes and placement of any larger components or interface connectors.

IDF file format for PCB import

DesignSpark Mechanical imports Intermediate Data Format (IDF) files which is commonly used for interfacing from ECAD to MCAD. This file format is supported by all popular PCB design software, including DesignSpark PCB ( See, How to export IDF files from DSPCB).

When exported from ECAD software, there are actually two separate output files:

Board File - the 'board' file (although it does not contain board only information). The file extension is .idb

Library File - information about the components used in the board file. The file extension for this file is .idl

Note: both *.idb and *.idl files should be kept in the same folder for correct import

Importing IDF files to DesignSpark Mechanical

1. Click on File>Open

2. In the browser window from the drop-down list select 'All Files (*.*)':

3. browse to the to your .idb file:

4. Click 'Open'

Note: depending on the size and complexity of the design it might take a few moments to load the IDF file. While computing the geometry, the progress is indicated in the bottom of the DesignSpark Mechanical application

5. Imported design:

Re-loading previously opened IDF files

DesignSpark Mechanical saves the opened IDF flie as *.rsdoc in the '[filename] ECAD Library' folder, with its default location along the .idb and .idl files. When the associated IDF file opened, even if it had changed, the *.rsdoc version is automatically opened instead. If you made changes to the PCB and want to re-import the IDFs, you need to overwrite this standard behaviour by removing the '[filename] ECAD Library' folder (make a copy if you need it for later reference). After deleting the folder, the IDF import will be read directly from the modified IDF files with all your PCB changes visible.


See also:

DesignSpark Mechanical > Import/Export formats


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