3D Models of potentiometers, neutrik audio connectors, and vacuum tubes not loading

Hi, first time post here!

I was a user of KiCad 5 and now I have downloaded KiCad 6 to work on new project. So far like a lot. But I am having trouble figuring out why some of the 3D models for some parts like potentiometers, audio connectors, and vacuum tubes are not loading by default. Parts like leaded resistors and opamps load 3D models without any manually intervention.

I believe many of these parts I’m trying to use had default 3D models in KiCad 5 so I am a little confused why they don’t seem to show up by default in KiCad 6.

Anyone else have experience with this? Attached is a specific example for the footprint Potentiometer_THT:Potentiometer_TT_P0915N which is in both KiCad 5 and KiCad 6 default libraries.

I have tried to uninstall and reinstall KiCad 6, but doesn’t seem to have any effect on this issue.

The 3D model file path is stored in the footprint. Open up the properties of the footprint to see where the viewer is looking for it.

Thanks for such quick response! This was a fresh KiCad 6 project. The example I showed was two different designs. One old one in KiCad 5 and one brand new one in KiCad 6 using similar standard library parts.

mmh, I think you are on to something. This is what I see when I show properties in the layout tool. Is that pointer not the default one to use to point to KiCad default library of 3D models?

This is what I see for paths too. Happen to know if I am missing one? I assume I don’t have to point to specific path for each component that is standard part in KiCad provided library?

Look in your filesystem to see if that 3D file actually exists. May not be related but there was something about STP and WRL files.

The footprint includes a link to the WRL file even when that file is not available yet. This is to avoid having to change the footprint when a 3D model is added to its library

Yes but he had the 3D model in v5. I’m wondering if they were not in the standard v5 library but added, so needs to be put in a personal library in v6. Several possibilities which only some digging can disambiguate.

Edit: I don’t see the relevant 3D models in the v6 library. So either they were in the v5 standard library and were removed going to v6, or they were added to the v5 directories on the side. Looks like you have to obtain the 3D model files that are missing and store them to a personal libary, and also make a copy of the footprints and edit the 3D model paths there.

Thanks for such great detailed responses everyone. I have determined that my original thought about how these parts were in the V5 library is indeed false :slight_smile:. I also confirmed that 3D models for what I am looking for do not exist in the V6 library. I was confused how my V5 parts were working, but it looks like I did a manually path override somewhere I did not see nor expect.

I also see now after davidsrsb’s response that I see that path for FUTURE parts. I didn’t realize they still kept a pointer for WRL files to be added in the future. That was confusing me, I thought that path was the model, but in fact when digging into the folder (and looking at source folder online) that the models don’t exist.

Thanks for the education everyone, this was very helpful.

Another example I have is the Connector_Audio:Jack_6.35mm_Neutrik_NMJ4HCD2_Horizontal footprint. This is by default in the V6 library. However, it does not have a 3D model, but this is easy to get from vendor online. Where is the best place to save 3D models of parts in library that already have default footprints from kicad? This might be a preference vs. best practice question. Curious how other uses go about this.

Seldom do I use kicad’s 3Dmodels (Never know about accuracy/details) so, I make my own models.

For the two or three Kicad models I do use, I Copy them and paste them into my User home folder along with all the Footprints and Symbols… shown below. Naturally, I set the Paths as needed.

When updating Kicad, they remain in place…

I chose a location for storing my personal libraries of symbols, footprints and 3D models. I set KICAD_USER_3DMOD (your choice of name) to the 3D model directory, then in the symbols I set the 3D file path to ${KICAD_USER_3DMOD}/<name of wrl file>

Things get a bit complicated if you are attaching a 3D model to a standard part. The standard footprints are meant to be read-only. This where the Alias comes in. (I did a quick search but don’t see it mentioned in the documentation.) The alias settings are accessed via the 3D Models tab > Configure Paths > 3D Search Paths, but are not stored in the footprint but in <kicad config dir>/3d/3Dresolver.cfg of the user. Say you have a 3D model for the standard vacuum tube Valve_ECC-83-1 which is under Valve (singular). You would then create an alias called Valve and point it to where you store the 3D model under the same basename, Valve_ECC-83-1. The footprint editor can’t show the 3D model, but the 3D viewer will. This seems to be the way to avoid making a writable copy of the footprint when you subsequently acquire a 3D model.

There are ramifications for archiving or exporting projects but that’s a separate discussion.

I tested this with one of my personal footprints and this seems to be the way it works. I had to investigate not so long ago after I had renamed my 3D directory from 3dshapes to 3dmodels and the PCB editor started complaining that the 3dshapes directory didn’t exist, prompting an investigation. I have a theory that sometimes you should make tweaks in your environment to examine the robustness of your arrangements. Not just in design but also in life.

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