SnapEDA is launching a new plugin for Altium Designer to cater to engineers and product designers who want to search, discover and then place parts directly within their PCB design tool.

The new plugin contains computer-aided design (CAD) models for millions of electronic components, many of which have been created in collaboration with industry-leading electronic component suppliers. These models can be placed directly onto an Altium Designer schematic or layout for instant use, or added to the designer’s library folder for future use.

Altium Designer is one of the most widely-used PCB design tools today, and is the most downloaded format on SnapEDA. 

Prior to launching this new plugin, designers would use SnapEDA’s web platform to download CAD models, and then import them into their designs. This new plugin removes the extra step of importing the CAD model, and then placing or saving it to a library folder, in addition to creating a native experience for searching directly within Altium Designer. This means that engineers will no longer have to leave their design environment when adding CAD models into their designs, further streamlining their workflows. 

In addition to placing parts and saving parts directly, the plugin’s component database is also updated in real-time as soon as new supplier parts are added to the SnapEDA ecosystem. Designers can also request CAD models via SnapEDA’s InstaPart service—a popular service among large OEMs—when they are unavailable.

Using the plugin is simple. After installing it, designers simply search for a part they need, and will be prompted to place, or save the part to a desired library, or project. All models imported via the plugin are native Altium .SchLib and .PcbLib file types.

“We created this new plugin based on feedback from the SnapEDA community. Over the last few months, we’ve been running a beta group with hundreds of designers to better understand how they interact with SnapEDA and Altium Designer. This new plugin was created based on that feedback, with the aim of further streamlining their design process,” said Natasha Baker, founder and CEO of SnapEDA.

SnapEDA also offers other innovative tools for engineers such as InstaBuild, a free computer vision-based CAD model creation tool, and InstaVerify, its patented real-time CAD model verification technology.