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ODB++ to STL: Is there a way to reduce the number of surfaces it creates?

ODB++ to STL: Is there a way to reduce the number of surfaces it creates?
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I have an ODB++ file and I was able to create an STL file that appears to be an extrusion of the surfaces making up the images.  Is there a way to reduce the number of surfaces it creates? The STL file I made was too large in import into solidworks as anything but a graphics object.

Note:  Requires ACE 3000 (Version 6.3.3 or higher)

If your primary purpose is to load the gerbers/ODB++ and then export to a smaller STL file that can be read by Solidworks, I would suggest the following:

1. Increase the "Merge Vertices Tolerance" to 2 mils or higher.  What "Merge Vertices Tolerance" does is join adjacent points that are within the tolerance.  By increasing the value this drastically reduces the number of points and thus triangles used when outputting to STL.  I've seen several customers successfully use an "Merge Vertices Tolerance" of 5 mils and then export to STL. Resulting in a file up to 50X smaller.

A. To do this start ACE 3000, select ODB++ for import, then STL for export, press button "Next", and select ODB++ file.
B. Review the ODB++ settings, and click button "Next".
C. Adjust the value of "Merge Vertices Tolerance (mils)" to 5, and click button "Next".

Proceed as normal. The resulting STL file should be much smaller (see movie demo below).

2. If possible, try using "Clip Area". Many times when loading a circuit into 3D software (like Solidworks) , only a certain area is required.  Using "Clip Area" will allow you to select a boundary around the critical areas of the design (and discard the rest).  This will definitely keep the outputted STL or IGES files very small and efficient.  Clip Area is a feature in the ACE 3000 Viewer (go to menu:  Tools | Clip Area...)

Note:  I have included a simple movie tutorial (no sound) showing how to incorporate both "Merge Vertices Tolerance" and "Clip Area".

Note:  One product that we have used successfully with the STL and IGES output from ACE 3000 is Rhino3D.  It also has the ability to optimize the data from ACE and output to other 3D formats such as SAT, and more.

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