Eagle3D and Google Sketchup Success

I’ve been playing around with Eagle3D on and off (like most things more off than on lately).  Eagle3D in a nutshell is a bunch of scripts to generates povray files.  Povray is then used to render a realistic representation of the PCB file with all components included. 

The problem I’ve always come up against when using Eagle3D is missing components.  I first looked at this tutorial – http://felixchenier.homelinux.com/doku.php?id=pcb:eagle3dnewpart, however I took one look at how to make library components and thought no way, I don’t really want to generate a 3D component by long hand.

As an example this is the Experimental 2.4GHz version of triggr PCB rendered with default output from Eagle3D, you can see how many components its missing (indicated by the red cylinders), you will also notice that its also picked up the wrong component in the top left of the board, this should be a right angle header, and it’s not correctly aligned.


Well I spent a couple of hours last night playing with Eagle3D to see if I could a) learn to create custom library components using Googles free sketchup program to create a part then export to Eagle3D, and b) to get a better understanding how components are selected and put on the board in the correct orientation.

I finally had success in exporting a sketchup component to use in Eagle3D.  I imported an already existing component for the MRF24J40MA RF module from sketchup and incorporated it into Eagle3D as a part library.  Here is the result.  A lot better wouldn’t you agree?


Here is how I did it in a sparkling new tutorial….Using Google Sketchup to create Eagle3D components

Basic Triggr Personality

Ok here is the 1st basic trigger personality board.


  • x4 LEDs for visual indication.
  • x2 Push Button Switches, one tied to input for manual triggering/testing, the second independent, could be used for channel or function selection, both could used in conjunction with LEDS for advanced function selection.
  • 1 Strobe output. 400V Max (so will work with older type strobes)
  • 1 protected TTL trigger input. 
  • Small prototype area.
  • Low profile, All large components are mounted underneath.

Still a little cleaning up required but basic functionality is there.

Still TO DO:

  • Change MOC3023 to SMD footprint, I don’t really want the possibility of a large strobe voltage right where a thumb might be.

Basic Triggr Personality PCB


Follow me on Twitter / Strobit Update

I know I’m a bit slack in updates on the blog.  If you haven’t noticed I now have a twitter account  http://www.twitter.com/madeinoz so you can follow what I’m doing when it’s not getting updated here.

However since the blog is way over due for an update here is what’s been happening in a nutshell.

Strobit Trigger:

I have finally gotten off my butt and done a redesign (hah and you thought the project had died a slow death, it may have stalled slowed, but certainly not dead!)

Features worthy of note in the new design (in no particular order):

  • 3V design, will run from x2 AA Alkaline or single CR123A 3V battery.
  • Fairly compact board, 30mm x 70mm. (without battery)  slightly lalonger on 2.4ghz design due to antenna.
  • Onboard on/off switch to save batteries when not in use.
  • FTDI 3.3v breakout cable port for connecting to either RS232 or USB using the FTDI cable.
  • Onboard ISCP port for programming.
  • Personality daughter boards.  Will allow users to create their own hardware modules, i.e. sound trigger, light trigger, LCD UI, or whatever they like etc
  • Atmega168V processor, low cost, low voltage design = longer battery life.
  • Can run Arduino bootloader, so developers have access to Arduino development libraries.
  • I’ve designed 2 different boards.  One using the RFM12B module at either 433Mhz or 915Mhz.  The second board I’m going to try a 2.4GHZ design using Microchips FCC certified MRF24J40MA 802.15.4 module, this is purely experimental so I don’t have any testing done yet, but I have some of these modules and would like to try them out, also being FCC certified will be an added benefit.  (not to mention I’ll be using these for a mesh sensor network project I have planned around the house)
  • RFM12B board design has external SMA antenna.
  • Base PCB board designs are done and I’m fairly happy with them so far, I’m just finishing a basic personality modules which I can used for testing and maybe another one so I can make up the  max designs I can have on a single panelized board (may as well get the most designs I can get fabricated when I send it off to GoldPheonix).  I’ve done some initial Eagle3D runs to get an idea of the boards and so I can post them on the blog, but I really need to learn how to create components in Eagle3D as it leaves unknown components blank, i.e. the RF modules and therefore looks incomplete.  (anyone that can help me here please contact me)

Still To Do:

  • Panelize boards
  • Send to GoldPheonix for PCB fabrication.
  • Assemble and test.

I’ve also been playing with learning Alibre, a fantastic 3D design package (they have a free version) so I can get some ideas for building enclosures design for these boards.