Associate 3d Model with read-only library

I would like to associate a 3D model with a read-only library part that does not currently have a 3D model.

Must I save the footprint into my own custom library to associate the model?

I’ve found that I can associate the 3D model with the part in the PCB editor but I must do them one at a time and I have many of these parts.

I feel it would be nice if 3d models were treated more like the association between symbols and footprints where they were assigned (or could be assigned) on a per project basis.

Is my only recourse to clone the read-only libraries or is there a way to make the association?

It doesn’t make sense to treat footprint->model mapping same way as symbol->footprint.
By their nature symbols can map to hundreds or thousands of different footprints while for the most case each footprint maps to single model. There are exceptions to the latter but they are rare.

You can clone your library or symbols but you can also automate the editing you do in pcb to add your models with some scripting.

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