Render 3D realistic images of EAGLE circuit boards

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Did you ever wanted to see how some of your electronic projects would look before you actually build it? This post will show you how to create realistic images of your PCB designs that you can use in presentations, websites or only to get an idea of how it will look.

The process is the following: you design a PCB using CadSoft Autodesk EAGLE. Then, the Eagle3D script converts the EAGLE PCB file into a POV-Ray source. This is then rendered into something like below. POV-Ray is a very high quality and very configurable renderer. To make an idea of what ic can do with the right input, see the hall of fame of images rendered with it.

There is also a video version of this and some new improvements in: [Video] Render 3D images of EAGLE PCB projects.

This post will describe:
  • How to install POV-Ray. Linux users may want to compile POV-Ray (at the time of writing this there were no Ubuntu packages, you can now install from repositories).
  • How to use HDRI lighting to improve the quality of the rendered pictures.
  • How to install MegaPOV, a modified version of POV-Ray 3.6. Again, Linux users may want to compile from source. This is described below.
Hexapod Interface EAGLE example project

Compile and setup PonyProg on Ubuntu

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PonyProg is a device programming software for the SI Prog serial interface programmer designed by Claudio Lanconelli. The latest version of the PonyProg software can be found on SourceForge, but there are no Ubuntu packages.

Here is how to compile it on Ubuntu. This post was updated for Ubuntu 16.10. First you'll have to install some development libraries:

sudo apt install build-essential libxt-dev libxmu-dev libxaw7-dev

Then download the archive from SourceForge and extract it to some folder you want (at the time of writing this, the latest version is 2.08d).