3D software accompanying KiCAD install?

This may come across as confusing, so bare with me here…

I fist installed KiCAD on one of my laptops. During the process I got a pop up recommending that I also install an open source 3D software package along with it. I don’t remember what it was called or what it said I needed it for (3D model viewing?) I just accepted it and installed both software items.

A few weeks later I got a new laptop. I installed KiCAD. I did not get the pop up recommending the 3D software. Does anyone know what it was and what functionality it is for? I did noticed when I looked at the 3D view of one of my PCBs that there were no components on it, just a board. I don’t know if this is related or not.

I have Inventor, but it is on my workstation, not my laptop. I just want to know if I need this software and what it is. I have no issue installing it.


this software was Wings3D, it has since been replaced with Freecad and Stepup which can also be used for mechanical integration :slight_smile:
as a note the software (either one) is only used for creating models, not for viewing


Kicad used to recommend wings3D, but its garbage. Its much better if you install https://www.freecadweb.org/ to design , import, export, etc your 3d models

So, if I’m understanding correctly I don’t need any of this for KiCAD to function fully?

That being the case, I may be better off to use the Inventor on my workstation and transfer the exported models using a thumb drive.

Freecad is not necessary for using KiCad. (Wings was also never necessary)

This software is only used to design 3d models for the use in the internal kicad 3d viewer. As long as you don’t want to design your own 3d models you do not need any 3d modeling software.

Great, thanks!

Now to figure out why my 3D view had no components…

What does KISYS3DMOD say? (kicad main window -> preferences -> configure path)

Open that directory in any file browser. Is it empty?
Does it contain a 3d model for the footprint you wanted to view?

IDK, but I’ll check that when I get home!
I was surprised that the basic through hole diodes and resistors weren’t showing up.

Unless you are fluent in FreeCAD and only want to do the occasional not-available part yourself, you’re better off to use the package you’re fastest in - Inventor.
I think I gave you some hints a couple days back how to go from Inventor to STEP, so you should be fine.

Yes you did.
Thank you again!