Creating PCB Assemblies from your Altium PCB Project
If you use the EDA Tool Altium to design your PCB Assemblies, the best method to upload your design files to MacroFab is to create the following manufacturing package to upload to the MacroFab platform.
- ODB++ Manufacturing Packet
- Bill of Materials from a .XLSX spreadsheet
Once you have created these items you will be able to easily upload your PCB Assembly to the MacroFab platform.
In the PCB tab, simply drag-and-drop your Altium manufacturing package into the file upload target. Alternatively, you can click the Upload Files button on the right side of the screen. More information about uploading files to the platform can be found on the knowledge base article Creating a PCB and Uploading Design Files. The Bill of Materials .XLSX format upload procedure can be found here.
Altium ODB++ File Generation
ODB++ files are exported directly from your PCB and include the PCB layers and placement data needed to build your design. Open your design in Altium and navigate to the PCB view.
To open the ODB++ export window click File -> Fabrication Outputs -> ODB++ Files.
Selecting ODB++ from the fabrication output menu will bring up the following window showing the output options.
Make sure all of the boxes in the Layers to Plot section of this window are checked and press OK. Altium will now automatically generate all of the necessary manufacturing files. This may take a few moments. Once the file generation is complete Altium will generate a new folder called odb in the directory where the PCB file is saved.
Bill of Materials Generation
For the Bill of Materials Auto Fill to work on the MacroFab Platform, Manufacture Part Numbers (MPNs) must be supplied for the components. MacroFab currently does not support MPNs in the ODB++ file so a .XLSX spreadsheet will have to be made to associate MPNs with component designators. The spreadsheet only needs to contain designators and the corresponding MPN. For more information on making a .XLSX formated spreadsheet and uploading it see the knowledge base article, Importing a Bill of Materials Spreadsheet.
Generating this Bill of Materials .XLSX file is optional for Altium PCBs. You will be able to fill out the Bill of Materials without MPNs. The platform will use the footprint and value provided by the ODB++ file to suggest parts. See the Bill of Materials Management article for more information.
Additional Altium Questions?
If you have any other questions about creating a PCB Assembly with a Altium PCB Project please contact our support team.