How to create a 3D PCB in EAGLE and push it to Fusion 360

The integration between EAGLE, the fully fledged PCB designer, and Fusion 360 is really impressive. I’ve had a lot of experience designing PCBs in EAGLE, then having to mock them up in Fusion. Often these mock-ups are just basic cubes where all the major PCB parts should be. It should be obvious that this is extremely prone to errors! Not to mention they need re-designing when the PCB changes. Here we do not benefit from all the advantages of parametric modelling (what is parametric modelling?)!

PCB Mock-ups in Fusion360. This is prone to errors and needs re-building every time the PCB is changed.

Enter Fusion360-Eagle Integration

Thankfully, since 2018, EAGLE’s been integrated with Fusion360. Although the support was limited at first. It’s now developed into a fantastic workflow that allows users to make the most of both software packages.

But how does this work? Let’s look at the workflow. Here’s a basic PCB I put together with EAGLE:

Simple PCB design

Learning how to use EAGLE is out of scope of this tutorial. But if you’d like some help, shoot me an email here!

Now I’ve chosen packages that already have 3D footprints, these are the ones that are generated when we export the 3D model. Again, if you’re interested in how to produce your own 3D footprints, you log in to libary.io with your Autodesk account and create a managed library.

Exporting 3D PCB from EAGLE

In all versions of EAGLE from 8.3 onward you should see this on the right hand side:

EAGLE Sidebar

1.Hit the “Fusion 360” button in the sidebar

2. You can either link the design to an existing one, or create a new design. I suggest always creating a new model if you’ve not already got the PCB in Fusion. It’s best to keep the PCB separate from your mechanical design.s is pretty self-explanatory

I suggest always picking “Create New” to keep your PCB separate from your mechanical design

3. Pick your location

4. Hit “Push” to push the PCB design to Fusion. Here you get a list of the components that have 3D packages. I’ve got a connector that doesn’t have a package, that’s why it’s got a yellow warning sign next to it. Let’s not worry about it just yet, and see what happens.

One component (a connector) is missing a 3D package, let’s see what happens.

5. Wait! This may take a while if it’s a large PCB. The success message should pop up as below:

Successful PCB Push

6. Admire your 3D PCB

Isn’t that a thing of beauty?

If we make any changes to the PCB in EAGLE, all we have to do is hit “Push” again and all the changes will be reflected in Fusion, just like inherited components. What a workflow!

We’re not done yet! That pesky connector has just rendered a 1mm high block of the same dimensions as the silkscreen.

Let’s fix that connector in the next tutorial…

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