Auto-Closing of Topics, and Converting WRL to STEP


Agree (particularly on the first part of the sentence) :wink:

Ok, if you are definitively on the ‘dark side’ you can do a conversion following these tips:

But I would suggest to improve your searching skills… it is extremely rare you cannot find a manufacturer STEP model for connectors… and in the very unfortunately case, you may find a better choice to model it by your own, instead of getting an untested and unmeasured mesh conversion found in internet…
Moreover often if you ask the manufacturer for a 3D model, they will offer it for free after a small delay


I just found this as an other good source for 3D models and footprints

The good part is that they offer the designs with a similar License model to what we have in KiCAD:

  1. There are no restrictions on the circuit board designs you make with our library components.
  2. You do not need to credit SamacSys in any way after using our Libraries.
  3. You will not distribute our models in any form useable as a PCB Library Component - except within your own company.


I will try to clarify my way the WRL vs STEP.
This is indeed not related at all with “quality” but WRL vs STEP is a matter of representation.
The two formats do not represent the same thing or any equivalent, they represent different types of information.

My illustration of this two formats would be:
You would like to build an house, so you ask someone to design an house for you so someone could built it.

  • Would you go to a painter, that will paint you a beautiful colorful house as it looks like your dream house and then you give the painting to the builders and say: “build me this house as it looks like in this paint”.
    If you give the same paintings to different builders will they build the same house?


  • Would you go to an architect that will sketch your house plan with real physical dimensions and all need descriptions to do the job.

The fact that there are no (or should not exist) WRL to STEP converters is that you would be convert an unknown unities representation, making guesses on what should be a formal description. If you convert something with guesses then you are not sure about the correctness of the CAD representation you created (the STEP)
Lets say if it could be possible to make that conversion (with guesses and unknowns) that would be something “use it at your own risk!”. You may think that it may work for you, but it is not a formal proceeding of confirm your design, so you will never be 100% sure, it always be just a guess.

If any software (eg like KiCad) allows such conversion, that would introduce a possible big error mistake that users will be doing without understand it, so it is good that it does not support it!

My suggestions would be for simpler parts, that you just base it on simple bounding boxes or simple parts as cylinders. Thats easy to create a STEP and add to your design.


Maybe this’ll help


I’ve been using Maui’s StepUp Tools converter script since a long time and am a big fan of his work towards this.
I regularly export BOTH - WRL and STEP - format models from KiCAD while designing enclosures in FreeCAD. In most cases, the WRL import model works quite well for enclosure design. The advantage with STEP import of the whole board is it allows me to selectively show or hide individual components.
And +1 for all the arguments above regarding not going down the WRL to STEP conversion rabbit hole.


I would say +2 “for all the arguments above regarding not going down the WRL to STEP conversion rabbit hole and learn to use Freecad and STEPUP efficienlty”.

That said, if you absolutely are unable to convert you board to STEP for import into a CAD program, there is the possibility to instead use STEPUP to convert and align a STEP model of your enclosure to WRL/STEP for display in the KiCAD 3D viewer together with the board. You can simply define the enclosure as a Footprint with just a silksceen that can be used for proper alignment of the 3D model of the enclosure. I used this before I got my whole library set up with both STEP and WRL models, and it is sometimes also useful to create a high quality rendering of the board with the enclosure.


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