Import Kicad boards in Freecad PCB


First post here…
I am making some boards and want them in 3D. As all of us wants these days…
And for that I use the PCB plugin for FreeCAD that is brilliant! Can export to .stp and so on.

I am able to assign part in the library that comes along with it, but the 3D models will not show on the board.
Anyone tried this and want to share some experience?
Btw, the documentation that comes along with the plugin is good!


Most probably you have exported the PCB file but the 3D models are not associated.
Did you try to show the PCB in KiCad 3D? Are the models shown in KiCad 3D or not?
If they are missing from the KiCad 3D than the only thing you can do is draw the models yourself (I use Wings3D program), associate them in KiCad and than export again.

The thing about FREECAD PCB is that it does not use the 3D models from kicad, but use the positions and puts in 3D models from its own library. Stp or similar files. It seems very handy, but most examples is using Eagle boards.

I didn’t know that. I used it once to export from KiCad to Autodesk Inventor but I just needed the PCB to check the mounting holes in a casing. Didn’t bother with the components.

Yes, I also did that… But I see the potentials and would love to see this working.

please have a look at

using kicad StepUp the easiest way is done with minimal effort from user:
just add STEP models to your standard 3D packages path with the same name of the correspondent wrl model
and run the script
(detailed instructions in README.txt at project page)

here there is also a link of the script in action…

feedback are welcome

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Thank you Maurice! This is very good. Will try that.
But I found out the issue with FreeCAD… wrong database path. Say no more.

What also is good about the plugin is that you can move components and import it back to Kicad. Pluss other features.
Anyway, very good that it is several ways to achieve a result!

there is a bug in the path of file in the installation of FreeCAD in windows
if you go to Mod/Idf folder under FreeCAD installation folder
and edit the file
at line 38 and 42
#model_tab_filename = FreeCAD.getHomePath()+ “Mod/Idf/Idflibs/footprints_models.csv”
model_tab_filename = FreeCAD.getHomePath()+ “Mod/Idf/lib/footprints_models.csv” #maui
#step_path=FreeCAD.getHomePath()+ “Mod/Idf/Idflibs/”
step_path=FreeCAD.getHomePath()+ “Mod/Idf/lib/” #maui
the path will be fine
or just substitute the file with the one at the link

could you please tell me which system are you using to test the script?
I thought I’ve managed the exception… :frowning:
Edited later:
ok I see your db prob is not related to my script… :smile:

thank you for your feedback

:smile:No it was not… Anyway, really good idea if you already have a library with the same models in step format. My concern is that often the 3d models have different reference points and needs to be edited. In Freecad pcb that can be set in the database and have many offsets depending on where you import the board from. Will make a video of it.
But your solution is faster and better if you have everything set up!

I have made a small tutorial /demo of the FreeCAD - PCB plugin that can import the Kicad boards directly, assign step models to the components and export the whole pcb assembly as step.
Really good work by the developer!
When installing this be sure to read the manual that comes along with it.

And here is the video:

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Does anyone experienced trouble with importing copper pour in .kicad_pcb file?
For me it did not imported copper pour (poured copper planes).

It seems the focus of this work was around the 3D rendering, and started before kiCad had improved 3D side of things ?

It does not seems to be support for that. I have only used it for the import into the MCAD world. And it that matter I does not care…

If you want MCAD and aesthetic you can add the wrl as texture in FreeCAD

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Is there any chance, that I could get real castellated pins in Freecad?

if you use kicad StepUp you get a pcb with castellated pins without any prob

I see. That is already a nice impression of how it will look like.

But I assume that you got this by disabling the copper layer? Or not?

Kicad StepUp tools convert only pcb edge and 3d models…
copper and silk screen are not useful for MCAD collaboration…
If you want to add aesthetic you can always add a wrl model of copper and silk screen layers, but this will add only 3d rendering effect, not much relevant for mechanical perspective
Please feel free to ask if you may require additional info :slight_smile:

I understand the MCAD point of view.

However I was looking for a way to have a full 3D model (as I get in Kicad), but then with real castellated pins.
Is there maybe (I’m not a FreeCAD expert) a way to cut-off the copper in FreeCAD to get what I want?

you can define the castellated pads with a semicircle for an aesthetic result… but that will not solve the kicad pcbnew rendering result… you should have to mix the MCAD result with texture of pads, tracks and silks… but this is a lot of work… the best would be to wait (or make a whishlist) for this to be implemented internally on kicad pcbnew …