3D models and library management

I don’t know if this is the right section to ask this. Maybe we need a library management section?

So I can load up symbol and footprint libraries into the library paths but what about 3D libraries? So with a symbol I can point it to a footprint by just naming a loaded footprint. but is the only way to point a footprint to a 3D model to put it’s actual location on the drive in?

You are right in thinking that KiCad doesn’t manage 3D object libraries. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to manage 3D object libraries.

Actually, in a symbol you “point it to” a footprint by naming both the footprint library name and the footprint name. For example: Package_TO_SOT_THT:TO-92_Inline_Wide is footprint TO-92_Inline_Wide in library name Package_TO_SOT_THT (as defined in the footprint library table). In the footprint library table the Package_TO_SOT_THT library files are by default found in ${KISYSMOD}/Package_TO_SOT_THT.pretty. Note the ${KISYSMOD} variable.

Yes and no…

You can point the 3D model to a specific filesystem path, but you can also use a environment variable to point to an easily configurable path on your system (that doesn’t have to be the same path as on my system). For example, using the footprint mentioned above, ${KISYS3DMOD}/Package_TO_SOT_THT.3dshapes/TO-92_Inline_Wide.wrl is its default 3D object. The ${KISYS3DMOD} environment variable points to where on my computer the system installed 3D packages were installed. On this computer that is on the C: drive, on a Linux computer that won’t be on the C: drive because Linux doesn’t use drive letters.

More abstractly, while there are no 3d object library tables, you can use the environment variables in 3D object paths the same way as substitution variables are used in both the symbol and footprint library tables. If you need more environment variables, you can create new ones to use in the Configure Paths... menu entry. But, be aware that any you create on your computer won’t be there on your collaborator’s computer unless they make their own environment variable pointing to where on their computer they have a copy of your data.

I see yes that is what I thought with regards to the 3D models. So only wrl models are specified, does the step model of the same name get used automatically on export? does it matter if the extension is *.stp or *.step ?

Yes (that is why we went that way.)

in general i think these are good reads for you:

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