3D model association to part

How do I associate a 3D model to a footprint, I have several models from 3rd party sources and my problem is if I use them but then have to UPDATE the PCB the models disappear and I have to redo them, is there away for me to attach them? so this dosent happen. At the moment my models are in a file called ‘my_packages3D’ and I’m not great at file management.


Are the footprints your own or the built in ones?

Oh yes sorry, they are symbol’s and footprints that I got from ‘Grabcad’ and the model came from elsewhere.

In that case the best workflow is to open the footprint with the footprint editor, associate the 3D model file and save.
The in the PCB editor select your footprint and either Update Footprint or Change Footprint, select change footprints with the identifier and Change. This will update all the instances.


Of course ! thanks so much this makes total sense now.

I now want to associate a 3rd party model to a standard Kicad footprint but when I save it is ‘read only’ does this mean its not possible please ?

Make a copy of the footprint to a private library and do as above.
You can use the Change Footprint tool to bulk change the built in to your private ones.

Even if you force a change on the built in footprints, you would lose it at the first KiCad version upgrade

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Thanks again that wasn’t to hard, do the 3D models get added to the Kicad libary over time by administrators please ?

They do.

  1. They must meet certain quality standards
  2. and the hard one, they must clearly have a suitable license, Creative Commons is good.
    The ones that you get from manufacturers and these 3rd party sites have restrictive licensing
  3. We need a reviewer, I see 107 merge requests on GitLab for 3D models

What skillset would a reviewer need and how does that work ? do you have candidates ? Although it may not be top of the list of ‘things to do’ the 3D viewer is one of the many awesome features of Kicad and should be kept up to speed, the reason I asked the initial question was because I used the RK097 range of Alps potentiometer footprints found in the Kicad libary and found a superb model for it, the maker had even bothered to do a green and blue bodied version which are the two colours offered by Alps, Its a shame the 3D libary dosent have them but I understand that version 6 stable release is the priority.


That one probably falls under the licensing issue. Manufacturers usually have restrictive rules that prevent redistribution or modification of their models. Modification is often needed because their models have the wrong axes and offsets. Frequently excess detail as well - it looks beautiful, but 100 KB for a single component STEP file is a bit much.

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I am using one Ethernet socket that is not listed at manufacturer www. I asked if they have a step model for it. I expected the answer - “yes - here it is” or “no”. After a week I got the model (because of that week I suppose they have just did it for me, what I didn’t expected as I could live without it). The step file is 3.25MB ! :slight_smile:

This happens when cylindrical contacts are modeled too perfectly. For 3D models we only need something dimensionally correct. I have passed bloated complete board STEP models to a Solidworks user and 10 minute loading times do happen

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