3d Model .wrl file with no Track?!

i saved a wrl 3d model from kicad.
however, when you open the 3d file, it doesn’t show the tracks?!
how can i make the traces visible?

A 3D model doesn’t have tracks. It is just a representation of the part itself. Or did I misunderstand you? Maybe post a picture to clarify your problem? What part did you draw?


It would be nice that they would have option for exporting tracks, and silkscreen somehow. There are things that would be useful to do downstream with this information. But since its not useful always, its better to make it optional.

This is like saying components only need to be boxes. Its true in many cases, but its untrue in some other cases such as potentiometer/encoder knobs for example. Let the user decide what fidelity they want and for what reason.

Ok, so this is not a very high priority problem but still. I have had to export the tracks separately and then merge in my CAD/Visualization application later.

ATM it is possible with FreeCAD and kicadStepUp workbench.

The same for this.

But if you need a wrl tessellated 3D model, not very useful for a mechanical interaction, KiCAD should be already able to export everything, included tracks and silkscreen.

Yes obviously its possible, it is just a lot of extra work since its not exactly built in feature.

Nobody stops you from making the most complicated 3D models. It is a seperate world, and I prefer to keep it that way. For example printing on the component has to be done there. A knob has to be done there. The PCB provides the pads or THT for your well defined 3D part. And that’s it. I really don’t see what the silkscreen on the PCB has to do with the 3D. The silkscreen is a property of the PCB and not of the 3D.
I made a custom case for a PCB (in Fusion 360) and was able to export the populated PCD with all its parts and make a perfectly fitting case. That case had an elevated island for a thermal pad. But I never felt that I need to export traces or silkscreen to the case. The two worlds worked together perfectly.

Trying to mix those two world makes everything complicated. The wrl does work perfectly as is, and the 3D export of the populated PCB as well.

Just my 2 cents.

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If you would design RF circuits you would need 3d model for traces.
And as a side note you may need to have silkscreen exported to 3d model when you design a pcb as front panel.
But nobody stops you from not using these informations.

Again, traces are no mechanical property of the part. Look at the datasheet for packaging and at what you get from your distributor. No traces attached.
Now you might argue, that the mfg does show a best layout with where and how the traces should be and look like. OK. But what happens, if you do have a 4 layer board, but your 3D assumed 2 layers? How do you represent the board layers in 3D? Top layer, layer 2 etc.? What oes the 3D know about board thickness? Nothing, that isn’t a mechanical property.
I do understand, that you might want to copy the best layout the mfg. But that would suggest something like a template or module or snippet (or however you want to name it) that attaches a layout to the component.

Same with a frontpanel. Why not draw it in KiCAD? It is KiCAD that provides the (Gerber) files for the board manufacturer. And it is KiCAD that does provide the tools for layout if you have traces on the board. Yes, it might be annoying if you have fancy shapes. But how do you define the attribute “trace in layer x” in a 3D CAD? How would you do routing in a 3D CAD?

All this would open a can of worms.

I see you are just talking for manufacturing, but this is not the only story in a pcb.

but if you want to see if your silkscreen is aligned correctly with a mechanical part (i.e. a knob)?

Anyway you can simply dropping the mechanical collaboration, but luckily this is not what is done in the electronic field.

Look, just because you do one thing does not mean everybody else needs to do the same thing. There are all kinds of reasons why once can know what is where such as being their own board manufacturer.

But what happens, if you do have a 4 layer board, but your 3D assumed 2 layers?

Why on earth would my 3d application assume anything of the sort?

How do you represent the board layers in 3D?

Same way you represent anything else in 3D. With geometry. There is no reason why my 3d model can not have things inside other things. Thats kind of the point of 3d modelling. Half of the time i’m not designing the surface of anything but the interiors of things. You know stuff you cant see without the magic of the 3d model.

Why not draw it in KiCAD?

Well, because KiCAD is usually a slave to my mechanical CAD not the other way around. Primarily because my 3d cad know so much more about my other parts and front panels may not be flat. But sometimes in the act of collaborating it would be nice if information would be able to flow both ways. Because you know concurrent engineering and all that.

Also because it is useful to have multiple levels of abstraction to make certain things easier. Same way you have a schematic and board layout. A mechanical designer might have a simplified representation of boxes and arrows, lines and dots. And at the end of the day we would like the information to be able to live on all abstraction levels when we need it. Yeah i don’t always need the silkscreen but when i do it would be nice for a computer to bring it for me.

How would you do routing in a 3D CAD?

I generally do not. I want KiCAD to export it to me so i don’t need to. KiCAD is just one abstraction level in my toolkit.

You are talking about assembly. Export the 3D from KiCAD, import it in your mechanical CAD, see if it fits. Every decent mechanical CAD can do assembly. That’s what they are designed for, that’s their strength. For the CAD, your PCB is just a mechanical part.
The other way round, KiCAD would end in a full blown 3D CAD.

So you should keep it that way.

Not only, you “missed” to read the part between silkscreen on pcb and the mechanical knob.

and here you miss for example FEM…
Anyway, just do what you want for yourself.

Again, that is assembly. Mechanical assembly, to make that clear.
But if you insist, model the knob, add it in KiCAD and see how well it fits to your silkcreen. You can later change the knob to DNP. Now what was your problem?

How did I miss FEM? Is that a task for KiCAD? Or are you in need to make FEM of your PCB? If the later, go ahed and do it where the FEM is. I have the impression that you lost the path for your arguments completely. So I think I leave the discussion here and wait 'till KiCAD is a mechanical CAD.

that was what you affirmed… then I told you that the silkscreen imported in MCAD can help in fit correctly your 3D knob.

so now you say that FEM has to be done in MCAD but before you said there is no need to export tracks in MCAD…

I think you lost the path…

BTW FEM for tracks can be done also in PCB editor, not only in MCAD editor…
Obviously it will not cover all the FEM aspects, but some related to tracks only.
there are some attempts here:

Anyway, enjoy your time :grinning:

The part being designed in KiCAD is a PCB, this includes tracks and silkscreen. The 3D view offered by KiCAD shows not only the substrate but also the tracks, silkscreen, solder mask and even the components (which aren’t part of item being designed.)

FEM, as in 'Finite Element Mesh" ? as in, “Finite Element Analysis?” I posted this awhile back and StepUp has improved significantly since. Now, I use StepUp often to get the PCB with Tracks and Pads into FreeCAD to do FEA and CNC milling…

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