Exporting 3D view as stp file

Since at leat KiCad 6 (you don’t say which version you are using) you can export your board using File->Export->STEP…

You could also use the excellent StepUp Workbench in FreeCAD to import board and export it as an STEP file.

Hope this helps.


The Export → STEP option works well, but it doesn’t have traces on it. So if you’re just worried about hole locations or geometry it’s a great option, but for show using the StepUp Workbench method may be better. I’m not sure if that method keeps traces or not.

VRML exports traces, vias, soldermask, etc

And VRML is useless for hole positions when opened in mechanical CAD.

Pity we can’t have the best of both worlds out of the box . . .

Export it from KiCAD as VRML, import it to FreeCAd and then export it from FreeCAD as a STEP file?
Would that work?

Nope, holes are not properly defined in VRML

Two parts to this Story:

  1. Use FreeCAD’s StepUp Workbench. Load the PCB then Load the Traces/Pads. You get everything.
    Then, select as desired and Export STEP (either via StepUp’s tools or by usual FreeCAD export).

  2. (re @RaptorUK comment;

Well, if one thinks of Kicad as being an Application with embedded Apps (like FreeCAD has workbenches) and, one is interested in running FreeCAD from Kicad - it’s simple to do…)
Video shows opening FreeCAD from Kicad Plugin. I did not fuss with the window to show the full FreeCAD app…)

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Getting a STEP file with traces/vias and whatnot has been explored before on this forum. I looked into this a while back and saw a few posts asking about it. It’s not the main focus of them, but they are discussed in the thread. The first one I linked is the shortest, but has a good comment from kliment explaining why it doesn’t have traces by default and how you can get them:

Another option without constant conversions is to convert the project to altium and already there do whatever you want with a solid inverter, etc.

@jbell @Robin_Gangopadhya

I posted this quick video on Getting the PCB, Track/Pad into FreeCAD/StepUp.

Vid does Not show Exporting STEP from FreeCAD or StepUp. It’s too simple to bother adding it to video… Two minutes of Exploring how to do it (and reading Posts) will get you there…

I have gone the StepUp route before with FreeCAD and while it was mostly OK, I found it painful and prone to error, so much so that I don’t bother anymore. For example one board I put through the process, if looked at carefully, has the silkscreen floating above the board not actually on it.

It was some time ago, maybe things have gotten better/easier in the last 2 years.

I had the same experience and sometimes posted (here) about it’s poor performance.
However, it’s been well de-bugged and improved in the past year such that I find Zero problems now (doing what I need to do and use it for). Thus, I now recommend it without reservation…

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Thanks @jbell . You have quoted my post of some months ago, so I got a notification (otherwise I would never have known). @BlackCoffee - your Youtube video is very helpful. The process does produce something which I will work on, but like your video, it showed missing components for the initial import.
Since FreeCAD is open source, its a pity we can’t use their code to export the excellent 3D render already created within KiCad. I guess they have different internal representations.

The ‘Message’ does Not say ‘Missing’. It say’s ‘Hidden’.

They are Hidden because that is what I set their Visibility to in Kicad. Why did I set them to Hidden?
Answer: Because I set the Footprints to have Two LED’s; Red and Green/Yellow. I don’t need to show the Red ones. But, they are part of the full enchilada so, the Message warns they are set to Hidden.

You can see their Names are Greyed out in the Tree…


if this is your error you probably miss the meaning of “z-fighting” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I will give it another go when I have some free time . . . and I didn’t need to do many boards so never probably got a workflow optimised/familiarised and never really got to grips with FreeCAD

thnx a lot for the answer.

Awesome info!
Trying to reuse TurboCAD Platinum 2023. Any opinions on this, pl?

Hello jbell:
Where do you find the “Step up” workbench in FreeCAD?
There is nothing of this name in my installation.
Appreciate any help in this matter.

In FreeCAD go to Tools > Addon Manager and search for “KicadStepUp”