3D Models/Footprints. Is there a preferred format for 3d? STEP? STL? Something else?

I hereby certify that I am not simply asking someone else to design a footprint for me.

When adding a 3d model to a footprint, is there an argument for using WRL? STL? STEP? x3d?

Personally I prefer STEP in case I want to throw the file into another CAD package for case design or whatever else I might need.

However I’ve seen a lot of WRL files floating around, and I don’t know why that seems to be so popular. I’m guessing it’s just legacy.

Could someone tell me a little more about this?

The KiCad Library Conventions (KLC) has guidance on the 3D file formats:

Granted, “must” in this case means to be accepted by the library team.

In general, if you want to be able to use “Export STEP” at the project/PCB level, your parts need STEP files.

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100% the answer I was looking for! Thanks!

Not so fast! First, What is the difference between step and wrl 3d models?.

But more importantly, there has recently been discussion about removing wrl files from the official libraries because STEP can use colors and for most needs wrl is redundant, Can we drop 'wrl' 3D models and keep only 'step' libraries, keeping artistic rendering?. So, even the FAQ article and the current version of KLC may be outdated some day.

For your own libraries you should use primarily STEP unless you know some specific reason to add wrl, too. On the other hand most 3D CAD programs which you would use for original work can probably export both. In FreeCAD there’s the StepUp plugin which exports directly KiCad-compatible STEP and wrl files, so there’s no extra work in having both.

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