If you've got any questions about ecad.io, then hopefully we've answered them below. If not, please take a look at our Forums. Somebody may have answered your question already, but if not just ask on the forum and somebody will get back to you as soon as possible.

Supported Formats:

Which ECAD Systems will ecad.io work with?

Currently ecad.io supports four file formats: IDF 2.0, IDF 3.0, IPC-2581 and Cadsoft Eagle (v6+) files. The most common of these formats are the industry standard IDF 2.0 and 3.0 file formats. There's more information about supported formats and the advantages and disadvantages of each here. A list of ECAD systems that we know will produce supported files is here, although there may well be others we're not aware of.


Which MCAD Systems will ecad.io work with?

A list of supported systems is here, although as with ECAD systems there are almost certainly more systems not currently listed. If your MCAD system supports the industry standard STEP format then it should be able to read files generated by ecad.io.


I've uploaded an IDF file, and I'm not seeing traces or silkscreen information. Why?

This is a limitation of the file format unfortunately. IDF 2.0 and 3.0 files are specifically designed for ECAD-MCAD interchange, so only contain a very simple description of the board outline, holes and cutouts, components and keep-in/keep-out areas. They don't contain any trace, layer or silkscreen information.

ecad.io can extract trace and silkscreen information from Eagle and IPC 2581 files.


Will you be adding support for other ECAD or MCAD systems in future?

Yes, we'll be adding support for more ECAD and MCAD formats and improving our support for existing formats as fast as we can.


Using ecad.io:

I can't find the detailed component I need in your library. How can I add it?

If you have a 3D model of the component you require, then you can upload it the Component Library for use in your boards. Simply select the Library category you wish to add the component to and then click the Upload a Component to this Category button and follow the instructions. Note that you can’t upload a component to the root Surface Mount Components and Through Hole Components categories, only to their child categories.

You can choose to keep the component model only visible to yourself, or choose to share the model with all other users of ecad.io.

If there’s a component you'd like us to include in our Library and you don’t have a 3D model of it, then please contact us with a data sheet if possible and we'll do our best to create a new model add it to the Library as soon as we can.


Do I have to use detailed components, or can I keep the simple components from my ECAD data?

You can use the simple component shapes from your ECAD data, detailed components from our library, or any combination of the two. It really depends what you want to use your final MCAD model for. Using simple components will produce a model more suitable for meshing for Finite Element Analysis or checking basic space constraints. Models with detailed components will be more suitable for checking space constraints more accurately, or for generating detailed images for user manuals or marketing use.

Detailed component models require a great deal more memory and will result in a much larger MCAD file size, so it's best to avoid using too many detailed component models if possible.


ecad.io has put a detailed component in the wrong place. Why, and how can I move it?

A detailed component model in ecad.io may not be modelled relative to the same origin as the corresponding component in your ECAD data. We may have used an IC's 'Pin 1' as our origin for example, while your ECAD system may use the component's center or another location. Unfortunately there's no standard for component origin locations between ECAD systems or even between users using the same ECAD system.

To attempt to solve this problem, ecad.io attempts to 'best fit' its detailed component models to the component shapes in your ECAD data. However, it won't get it exactly right every time. A component may be initially inserted rotated 180 degrees out for example.

To correct the component's location, select it to show the Properties Panel. On the Properties Panel, select 'Package Offset' to reveal the component's offset information. This is the offset ecad.io needs to apply to match its detailed component model to your ECAD component footprint. You can increase or decrease the X,Y,Z and Rotational offsets manually, or use the 'Center Component' and 'Rotate and Center' buttons to automatically attempt to align the component. Once you're happy with the position, click 'Apply' to apply the new offset information. The updated information will be stored and applied every time that component is inserted in future, so you should only have to correct the offset information once for each component you use.


Can I use ecad.io just as a free ECAD viewer?

Yes, of course. There's no charge to upload and view ECAD files online in 3D using ecad.io. Just create a free account and upload your files.


I've found a bug or have a suggestion for an improvement. How do I let you know?

We'd love to hear your suggestions and feedback. Please get in touch with us via the Contact Us page, or join the discussion on the Forums.


How can I tell if I've got the right ECAD file type? Is there any way to tell if my file is an IDF, IPC2581 or Eagle file?

There's a whole load of different file types and suffixes used for ECAD file formats, so often the easiest way is to attempt to open the file with a text editor such as Notepad. Take a look at the first few lines and compare them with the samples in the Supported Formats section. You can also use the Supported Systems page to give you an idea of what file types and suffixes to expect from a particular ECAD system.

All the formats that ecad.io supports are readable text or XML-based formats, so if you open the file in a text editor and the contents are a load of meaningless symbols and letters then it's unlikely to be the correct file.


Your account:

Is my PCB data secure?

We take the security of your data very seriously. When an ECAD file is uploaded to ecad.io we only read the sections of data we need to build the 3D model from the file. We then convert this information into our own format, compress and encrypt it before storing it on our server. We'll store a maximum of five designs online for you at any time to allow you to edit them whenever you want. Your designs won't be visible to us, or any other users and you can delete them from our server at any time.


How much does ecad.io cost?

Nothing – ecad.io is free to use. There are currently no plans to charge to use the site.


Will you sell my name and email address to anybody else?

We need a correct email address to enable you to log in to the site, to notify you when boards have been successfully processed, and for us to keep in touch with you about ecad.io. We won't share your information with third parties. If you don't want us to keep you up to date with ecad.io you can opt out at any time.


Can anybody else use my account?

No, please create a separate account for each user. ecad.io needs the user's email address to send notifications of when files have been successfully converted.