3D board modeling with Eagle and POVRay

eagle 3d

Sometimes the two-dimensional layout of a circuit board doesn’t tell the whole story so Matthias Wei?r created Eagle3D. Once the board is laid out in EAGLE you export it using the Eagle3D tool. The tool has predefined parts that it then uses to render the board in 3D using POV-Ray, a free ray-tracing program. There are a lot of parts included already, but you can define more using POV-Ray’s Scene Description Language. Using POV-Ray you can also make 3D movies your board


  1. KOLWON says:

    this is impressive. would make circuit boards a bit easier for someone who doesn’t know what they are doing.

  2. Alex CD says:

    I tried it first and realised it could be an invaluable tool – and free, and recommended it to my father who professionally makes circuits and he loved it!

  3. kale booth says:

    This is really awesome. I just got into doing some real board design on Eagle recently, and this will help project realization a TON.

  4. This is most definantly the coolest thing I have seen today. I bet it will inspire me to actually learn how to design in eagle =)

  5. armindilo says:

    Wow, I am impressed! So impressed in fact that I just printed of the 264 page POV-Ray Introduction (it’s really a tutorial). As soon as I get better at this stuff I plan on making more parts for it.

    brandon: definitelly gotta learn eagle, it is invaluable if you do any of your own electronics stuff.

  6. William says:

    that’s awesome! great idea, the rendered result looks perfect. A very useful tool for board designers scince it helps you better visualize what you’re doing

  7. IMWeasel says:

    What would really be cool would be to have this work with one of the common export formats such as PDIF or maybe key off standard NC pick & place and gerber files, so it could work with any PCB software.

  8. armindilo says:

    #7: the problem is that nc/gerber do not include the actual parts that are used,as far as I know. so therefore it would only be a rendering of the board itself, which seems a little useless, since it is still flat and just the 2d picture extruded. but I’m not sure, maybe those files do have part information.

  9. smouldering-dog says:

    as an aside, anyone have any experience with making PCBs with surface mount technology? I like making circuits but mostly do through-hole stuff and I’d like to make something like what’s depicted in the picture.

  10. Ben says:

    Surface mount soldering is quite simple – at least for IC’s. As long as tabs on the board are long enough, the solder shuld flow easily onto the legs. Very small resistors etc can be a pain though. And of course, unlike with DIL’s, you can’r remove the chips so debugging can be a pain. Prototype with DIL’s and make final products with SMT as a general rule…

  11. jason says:

    this program looks fantastic. has anyone had errors when trying to render the .pov file? i’m using all the versions from the eagle3d homepage and i’ve got eagle 4.13 pro.

    looking at the .pov code it looks like a few variables were misdefined (string too long) or not defined at all (the code references an uninitialized variable).

    anyone else having this problem?

  12. armindilo says:

    #9: if you can get a hold of elektor electronics magazine, january 2006, there is an article in there that shows you how to make your own smd oven, which will make it much easier for you. but it doesn’t really tell you have to design with smd, although it is very similar to thru hole

    #11: did you put all the include files from the eagle3d directory into the pov-ray include directory? thats the only problems I had with it. also, are you using linux or win? or other?

  13. jason says:

    copied files from ..Eagle3dpovray to ..povrayinclude

    i still recieve the same errors

    i’m running winxp pro
    eagle 4.13 pro
    povray 3.6

  14. armindilo says:

    #13: that is odd. maybe try to reinstall eagle3d. I am not sure what else could cause this problem. I’m not very familiar with pov-ray or eagle ulps, so I wouldn’t know what to look for to fix it, sorry.

  15. mahmoud salah says:

    how to use eagle 4.13 for circuts

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