Altium import?

I’ve secured a license for Altium Designer, and am trying to figure out how to import the proffieboard ecad files. When I tried to open the project, it showed me just the empty board with holes… I really don’t know what I’m doing with this software, so I was wondering if anyone has messed with it before and might be able to save me a bunch of time googling and watching youtube videos by giving me a quick rundown? Thanks!

I suspect that you’d be better of asking somewhere else.
Very few people on this board make their own PCBs, me being the notable exception.
However, I don’t have Altium, and even if I did I wouldn’t use it for proffieboards since it locks the design into a proprietary and expensive tool.

ah, crap, I didn’t think about that… the two things I want to do with it are making the button extension pcb I’ve been thinking of for my bayonet lug connector, and helping to generate 3d models for use in solidworks… There’s an alternative that I’m inquiring about called Solidworks PCB, but it looks like I’m going to have to get a separate license for it, as my uni license doesn’t include it. I believe there are also some tools in solidworks electrical, which IS included in the license, but that’s just as foreign. Maybe I should look more closely at kicad.

I use EagleCAD for PCBs. I hate it lol.

When I started making PCBs, I considered Eagle, because that’s what the people I asked said to use. It was pretty painful to use. Then I tried Kicad, which was even worse, but at least it’s proper open source, so I used it and got used to the quirks in Kicad. Since then, Kicad has gotten a lot better. Better than Eagle was when I started, but presumably Eagle has also improved since then, but I haven’t tried Eagle in a long time, so I can’t really compare.

The important thing about getting into PCB design is to have low expectations. If you expect to have to create every footprint yourself, place every component manually and draw every trace manually, then your expectations are likely to be close to reality, and you won’t be overly disappointed by whatever software you are using.

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I’m still trying to figure out how to set the dimensions of the board…

Have you looked at Altium’s CircuitMaker at all? It currently is free for makers, supposedly, and I just imported the proffieboard kicad files with almost no trouble. Components aren’s showing up, but that’s about it. it looks like all the layers are there, solder mask, etc. AND it works with my 3d mouse, which is a nice bonus.

No, i have not.
Free vs. Open-source is an important distinction for me. Especially since most “free” software are some sort of setup to get you to buy something. Also, just because it’s free now doesn’t mean it will be free tomorrow. Open-source software is free forever by definition.

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makes sense.

I used a number of these packages over the years, as an engineer on paid projects. They are all hard to learn. Much of UI concept are from CAD in maybe the 90s if not before. CircuitMaker is probably much better today, than it was 20 years ago, but that’s really not the problem. Many people really liked EAGLE, since the price was reasonable, but that changed when it was bought by Autodesk.

Many of these companies have switch to subscription bases licensing. Even if it is a free product, you risk loosing the ability to open your files!

I use an old version of EAGLE for now, but I plan to switch to Kicad. If are just starting, I suggest you learn Kicad!