HaD recently put up a post with a few ways to get some really slick-looking 3D renders of PCBs, so I had a look at what’s involved, and was quite pleased with the results!

A 3D render of a PCB I’m working on.

The image above is the output from a open source rendering package called Kerkythea, and looks pretty nice if I do say so. It’s not life-like (yet), but looks a lot nicer than Google’s cartoon-style SketchUp renders!

The process of going from layout to model is actually quite straight foward. Following the Dangerous Prototypes guide, I’m using the eagleUp plugin set for EAGLE and SketchUp to shift data between programs. This plugin set comes with a large number of pre-modelled SketchUp components, that are automatically chosen and placed into the model based on the package type specified in the board layout. Nifty.

I’m not going to go to the extent of re-writing what Dangerous Prototypes have already done, their guide is wonderful, and can be found here.