Browse all 3d models for a family?

An awful lot of parts look the same even though they have different functions. I’m trying to see if there’s an existing 3d model (for another part) that I can associate it with my new part. This seems harder than it should be.

In this post: Feature request: Integrate 3D Viewer into library browser which I can’t reply to because it’s too old, there’s a gem: “If you keep the 3d viewer open, it will do a live render of the component. So as you scroll up and down the list of footprints you will get a render of each footprint in turn in the 3d window.”

That’s great, but I can’t scroll up and down the list of footprints with the arrow keys. Hitting an arrow key moves the footprint design window, not the selection line in the listbox. Nudging the mouse and clicking a new line a few hundred times is really, really cumbersome.

(insert as-seen-on-tv narrator voice) There has to be a better way!

How do other people do this, am I missing something obvious?

The other, completely-opposite approach that popped into my head, is to somehow programmatically generate a board that just includes “one of everything”, a giant grid with a component in every square. Then you render the whole board as 3d and fly through the city looking for the model you seek, glance a the silk under it which tells you where to find it, then go back and grab it.

This seems like something that someone might’ve already cooked up, but I’m not even sure what to search for.

It should work, however there is currently a bug:

A work around is to avoid the display area with the mouse, up to that moment all works as expected

… After doing it my way, then having problems, I re-organized/re-named folders and followed the recommendations in this post. All is now good :grinning:

(the important thing I learned is to Not use fonts based on graphics and not in my font’s folder (I was using ‘Bullets’ but, they caused trouble when cleaning/auto-deleting font lib’s).

To organize the Part/footprints I made and/or tweaked, I created Folders leading with ‘z’ (was using Bullets). Naturally, ‘z’ named folder go the end of the list, which is convenient for me.

I made a project containing most of the Part/Footprints I use… (below)

Could you give an example? In general if the 3d model is exchangeable so is the footprint.

I assume you know that one can reuse footprints in KiCad (There is for example no point in having more than one footprint for SOIC-14 with 3.9x8.7mm body and 1.27mm pin pitch even though there are thousands of very different components that use this package.)

I think I misspoke, my apologies. What I should’ve said was, a lot of parts seem to be made in the same packages, by different companies under different names.

The built-in libraries handle this fine for things like semiconductors – one company’s 555 in DIP-8 is identical to another company’s 555 in DIP-8, and the 741 in DIP-8 is mechanically identical too. You just search for DIP-8 and it’s all good. And the 3D model for the DIP-8 exists and is already associated with that footprint.

But it falls down for things like relays, where I was searching for a footprint for the TE ORWH, couldn’t find one, browsed through every available option, and discovered the Omron G5LE which appears dimensionally identical. There doesn’t appear to be a common name for that footprint, so it’s named G5LE, which you can’t search for unless you already know this equivalency.

And even though someone already made a footprint for the G5LE, there’s no 3D model for it. Maybe there’s yet a third relay that shares this same footprint and has a 3D model associated with it, but there’s no good way to discover that.

That’s what I think is missing – a way to say “oh hey, that looks the same as the one I have, just under a different name”, for these parts that don’t have common names. Currently, browsing all the footprints and 3d models in a family is very cumbersome.

And I’m not sure if there’s a right way to amend the G5LE footprint and include the keyword “TE ORWH” or something, so others in my situation can find it. Even though they’re not exactly the same part – they have different ratings, despite the same package. Which I think means the package should get a generic name like DIP-8 – nobody would call that the TI 555 package, would they?

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