PADS TO PRO/E DATA TRANSLATION

This week, I pioneered another technique for getting data out of PADS and into Pro/e models. I needed the location of all the mounting holes for a bunch of DC-DC converter modules to make the mating heat sink, about 42 holes. The data was available in the board design and could be exported as a spread sheet and from there to CSV data. Still, how to get it transferred to a model and get it transferred to a location which, when the heat sink was assembled to the PWA, all the mating holes lined up.

There is a method of creating a point array from x/y data by importing it from a PTS file (e.g., the one attached). A CSV file has to be edited to remove the commas and add a column for the Z height, generally, zeros. This method needs only a coordinate system on the receiving part that corresponds to the comparable one in the PADS board data. While in assembly mode, I measured the x/y distances from the PWA csys to a nearby corner of the heat sink. Then I created a csys on this corner and offset another from it to the measured distances (keeping the z axis pointing out of the top [plan view face] of the part.
From there, I created the point array, an axis through each point, then coaxial holes. For the point array, I went to the datum point tool flyout and picked Offset Coordinate System. That interface wants the offset csys just created. Once selected, it lets you hit the Import button and browse to your PTS file. If all is well with this file, you'll immediately get a numbered list of points and those self-same points on your part, one for each x/y/z entry in the PTS file. I tried this a few times before I got the PTS file formatted correctly. To get a good example, I manually created a short list by clicking on the name field then saving the file. When I opened that file, it was obvious how the data had to be formatted.
When I went back to the assembly and made the display of my heat sink "transparent", guess what, the points on the heat sink all lined up with the mounting holes on the board. This method takes a little preparation but has the advantage of better speed and accuracy the bigger and more complicated the job, as well as the advantage of data reuse. Screw manual data entry, they can't pay me enough!
Happy New Year,
David Janes
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