How to share step 3D model with all the components on the PCB too?


This shouldn’t be a problem; models from different manufacturers follow all kinds of orientations etc so you always have to specify the X,Y,Z offsets and the rotations. If you really want to create your models a certain way, that’s not a problem either. You know all the package dimensions so you can create reference planes where you need them. In SolidWorks you can always change the plane of a drawing at a later stage if you need to move things. If you really wanted to shift the origin (and even orientation) in SolidWorks you just create an assembly, specify the relationships of the part to the origin, then export a STEP file. If the part was added to the assembly as ‘fixed’ then you can convert that to ‘float’ and create the relationships you need.


I found that FreeCAD in many cases is more reliable than commercial packages… and for sure is much more customizable! :smiley:


As a matter of fact, I evaluated FreeCAD two years ago. What me stopped was the lack of assembly support. I believe that is still work in progress.

But, for now, I have a legitimate reason to make it part of my mechanical tool chain (the nice Boolean unite operation) :-). So, i can have a look at it again.


there is a WorkBench for Assembly which is very useful… still there is a lot of work to do to complete that Assembly side…

There is something growing up on 0.17 dev release, but still not fully usable…
moreover from FC014 (two years ago) and FC016 there are huge improvements in features and stability :smiley:


Hi there,

I have one more question about the Boolean fusion operation. I made several .step files and .wrl files using the StepUp macro. Just works fine.
I am now moving on and importing a PCB board with the.step files (for connectors only) into FreeCAD. And then it appears that some fused models actually aren’t turned into a solid. I attached an example.stp file (from Amphenol) and the export result using the StepUp tool. When I use StepUp I also unified the subparts using the Part workbench. The resulting .step file and .wrl files are attached too.

When the .stepfile is processed during a PCB import, its start complaining that it is not fused. Which is true when I import the model by hand in FreeCAD.

What am I doing wrong?

Connectors.rar (1.1 MB)


this is nothing to do with StepUp macro
the issue is that you are not able to fuse the model in FC, because of some particularity of the model itself… the FC (OCE) fusion operation is fine, but when you reload the model, you get it in many parts…
have a look at FC forum for this topic

there is also a reference on that on kicad StepUp Starter Guide (follow the link to FC forum)

10. Create your own Library

  1. assure that your STEP module is fused to just one solid object
    (Part Boolean Union in FreeCAD)
    Note: here FreeCAD forum fusion howto some tips to fuse correctly objects in

there are some tricks to make the model ‘a union’, or you can just to try using a different sw (i.e. OnShape), but this is a process that one has to discover on the field :slight_smile:


Your part is not a solid. It consists of a lot of open faces.
(one example is here in this screenshot.)
The union operation only works on solids.


Hi Rene_Poschl,

Thanks for the reply! I understand the problem.

Is there an easy way to transfer this model in a sound solid part?

Or can I better create a model of my own (a solid one :-))

Any suggestions?




I’m not sure if there is a software which can repair such a model.
Maybe you find a better one online. (Look at the manufacturers website)

Otherwise your only option would be to design it yourself.
If you do that, i would suggest making it a bit less detailed. (In my opinion having a 3d representation of threads is a bit of an overkill.)


Ok, I will have a look if I can ‘repair’ it somehow and otherwise I will make a less detailed model.



Repair would be futile… that model is way to detailed for KiCAD.
That looks like a production model for the single components… dunno why something like this is offered as download for MCAD/ECAD users… total overkill.


Yes, I Agree. One can wonder why Amphenol put such a detailed model online.

What I have done now is: import the detail model in Alibre design (MCAD software) and made an abstract solid by projectioning the outline of the Amphenol model in the drawings that are used for extrusion and so forth. So now I have an simple solid with exact dimensions as specified by Amphenol. I’m happy with the result.

31-5431-10RFX.step (207.5 KB)
31-5431-10RFX.wrl (60.0 KB)


Nice trick to project the model to get a shape to extrude from!..
then you can also add a bit of color with material properties :smiley:
31-5431-10RFX.step (209.6 KB)
31-5431-10RFX.wrl (59.3 KB)


Ah, looks nice! I will follow your example :slight_smile:


@maui Hi there, first of all thanks a lot for your hard work into this plugin, I use it quite a lot, and since I “discovered” that the alignment can be done directly in FreeCAD, it has made everything much easier! :slight_smile:

Now, I’m having problems with a footprint in a new board, I’ve use this footprint already in another board without an issue, but altough I’m able to see the WRL 3D Model in KiCad and I’m able to open the STEP 3D Model of the footprint in FreeCAD, when using StepUp the footprint doens’t appear, nor do I receive a message that it wasn’t found.

Therefore I would like to know if there some kind of log file, where I can dig to see why is this footprint not being found or if there is a parsing/path/file problem.

I’m using kicad StepUp version
OS: Windows 7
Word size of OS: 64-bit
Word size of FreeCAD: 64-bit
Version: 0.17.12643 (Git)
Build type: Release
Branch: master
Hash: 868d9cc6c215ce3a2ab20d454378ec00e1b9ed26
Python version: 2.7.8
Qt version: 4.8.7
Coin version: 4.0.0a
OCC version: 7.1.0
Locale: German/Germany (de_DE)

Application: kicad
Version: 4.0.6 release build
wxWidgets: Version 3.0.2 (debug,wchar_t,compiler with C++ ABI 1010,GCC 6.3.0,wx containers,compatible with 2.8)
Platform: Windows 7 (build 7601, Service Pack 1), 64-bit edition, 64 bit, Little endian, wxMSW
Boost version: 1.60.0
Curl version: libcurl/7.52.1 OpenSSL/1.0.2k zlib/1.2.11 libssh2/1.8.0 nghttp2/1.19.0 librtmp/2.3

Once again, thanks a lot for your efforts !


I cannot understand if you mean:

  1. you cannot load the footprint (.kicad_mod) in FreeCAD
  2. you cannot load the 3D model associated to the footprint in your board in FreeCAD

If you enable the Report Panel in FreeCAD you will get all log messages when StepUp is loading the board…
(from from FC Menu ‘View’ -> ‘Panels’ -> ‘Report view’ enabled)


KiCad 4.0.6 doesn’t support STEP 3D files


Thanks a lot! For some reason my component was declared as virtual in this board, and StepUp was skipping it!

Although I don’t have a nice render, here is a screenshot of my board :slight_smile:


you can configure StepUp to skip or load Virtual models

Although I don’t have a nice render, here is a screenshot of my board

nice board :wink: