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Working with Altium 365

Introduction to Altium MCAD CoDesigner

First, check if the Altium MCAD CoDesigner extension is installed in Altium Designer by clicking on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner and selecting Extensions and Updates.
Fig. 1 - Extensions and Updates
Fig. 1 - Extensions and Updates
Click on the Installed tab.
Fig. 2 - Installed Tab
Fig. 2 - Installed tab
Scroll down until Software Extensions. You will see MCAD CoDesigner installed.
Fig. 3 - MCAD CoDesigner installed
Fig. 3 - MCAD CoDesigner installed
If you don't see the MCAD CoDesigner extension, scroll to the top and click on the Purchased tab.
Fig. 4 - Purchased tab
Fig. 4 - Purchased tab
Scroll down under Software Extensions until you see the MCAD CoDesigner icon. Click the down arrow. This will download and install the latest version of the extension to your system. You will need to restart Altium Designer to complete the installation.
Fig. 5 - Install MCAD CoDesigner
Fig. 5 - Install MCAD CoDesigner
Once you have the ECAD extension installed, go to the Downloads page on the Altium website, find the plugin-specific for your MCAD Tool, and download it.
Fig. 6 - Downloads Page
Fig. 6 - Downloads Page
Go to your computer to locate the downloaded file and install it.
Open your MCAD and make sure that the plugin is installed correctly. If all is set correctly, you should see that the Altium CoDesigner Task Pane has been added. Note that the example below is only for Solidworks. MCAD CoDesigner also works with PTC Creo, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Fusion 360.
Fig. 7 - MCAD Example
Fig. 7 - MCAD Example
If you don't see it, go to Tools >> Add-ins and ensure you have the Altium CoDesigner active and enabled for Start Up (the steps will vary depending on your MCAD environment).
Fig. 8 - MCAD Example: Add-ins
Fig. 8 - MCAD Example: Add-ins
Once you have the extension and plugin installed, open a project in Altium Designer. Ensure that you are connected to the Altium 365 Workspace, and if you have opened a local project, please make the project available online.
Let’s show an example of how to start the process by adding a PCB to your project and pushing it to the server. We’ll start with a blank PCB. Open the MCAD CoDesigner Panel.
Fig. 9 - MCAD CoDesigner Panel
Fig. 9 - MCAD CoDesigner Panel
Click Push (push a board to the server). Please see Working with Panels in Altium Designer to work in docked modes.
Fig. 10 - Push a board to the server
Fig. 10 - MCAD CoDesigner Panel
Add a comment, select the Share checkbox (if you need to share the project with the Mechanical Engineer), and click Send.
Fig. 11 - Share
Fig. 11 - Share
If the mechanical engineer is not invited to the workspace, a window will automatically open, and you can invite them by specifying their email address.
Fig. 12 - Invite to workspace
Fig. 12 - Invite to workspace
At this stage, the mechanical engineer can start their work on the project. They need to pull a board from the server using the CoDesigner task pane tab to select the project and save it.
Fig. 13 - MCAD CoDesigner task pane in MCAD
Fig. 13 - CoDesigner task pane in MCAD
This will create an identical board shape in the working window of the MCAD system. Here, the mechanical engineer can modify the board’s dimensions, change its shape, place mounting holes, and change any other design elements required.
Fig. 14 - Identical board shape in the MCAD
Fig. 14 -  Identical board shape in the MCAD
Now, the mechanical engineer can transfer their changes to the PCB to Altium Designer using the push feature.
Fig. 15 - Push Feature in MCAD
Fig. 15 - Push Feature in MCAD
After the mechanical engineer has pushed the board, you can see the updates and changes in the MCAD CoDesigner panel. Every change can be previewed, and the electrical engineer can accept or reject each one and add comments (only available for PRO users for more information, please access New Subscription Plans)
Fig. 16 - Updates and changes in the MCAD CoDesigner panel
Fig. 16 - Updates and changes in the MCAD CoDesigner panel
As soon as changes have been applied/rejected on one side, the engineer on the other side is notified, and any rejection comments are displayed.
Fig. 17 - Rejection Comments
Fig. 17 - Rejection Comments
Once the electrical engineer has completed preliminary component placement, they can push the updated PCB to the server so that the mechanical engineer can view the changes in the MCAD and make any adjustments that may be necessary.
Fig. 18 - Changes in the MCAD
Fig. 18 - Changes in the MCAD
In the MCAD environment, the mechanical engineer pulls the board to see the component placement and make necessary modifications, such as deleting holes or moving components. Once completed, the mechanical engineer pushes the PCB back to Altium Designer.
Finally, after the electrical engineer selects the accepted changes, the PCB acquires the exact look set by the mechanical engineer.
Fig. 19 - Final PCB
Fig. 19 - Final PCB
Good job! Article is now completed!
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