KiCad nightly dimension interface discussion

I seem to be missing an icon for horizontal dimensions.
It also seems more logical to me to have the icons in the order:

  • Horizontal.
  • Vertical.
  • Aligned.

Another nice detail would be if the expandable toolbar is aligned in such a way that the current selection of the expanded bar is next to the original icon.

Other measurements I would find very useful are measurements to add the horizontal, vertical, or both (X, Y) distance from a reference position. These measurements are particularly useful for manual operations on a machine with a DRO (Digital Read Out), as is common these days.
Graphical it could look like:

  • Horizontal leader for vertical measurements.
  • Vertical leader for horizontal measurements.
  • The angled leader with X and Y between parentheses, I.e: ( 203, 45)

Horizontal and vertical dimensions have been put together as an “aligned dimension”.

I actually don’t think this is that good for usability. If the alignment of the expandable toolbar changes depending on which one was last active, that means that the user has to always look at the palette to find the right button. By always having it aligned with the top item it means that the buttons are always in the same place and it allows repeatedly activating them to become easier (so you build a muscle memory for it).

P.S. If a mod can move the previous comment and this one into the other dimensions thread, that would probably be best - then discussion can continue there instead of here.

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This might not be really user friendly to be honest. One quite often has something to dimension where both the x and y dimension is >0 and for that usecase one really needs to be able to fix it to horizontal or vertical.

Just take this dimensioned footprint (form one of my pull request reviews) as an example of what i wish would be possible from within kicad (or alternatively give us a dxf export of footprints where pads are made into outlines and graphical lines as lines then we don’t need all features within kicad and can use librecad more easily.

Horizontal/vertical is the Orthogonal dimension not Aligned

Aligned is the “classic” KiCad dimension which measures parallel to the vector between the two chosen points.

Orthogonal measures aligned to the X or Y axis – we haven’t split that into a Horizontal and Vertical type

@Rene_Poschl your screenshot can be accomplished now with Orthogonal dims (well, minus the radius dim, which we don’t have yet)

Do we have snap to pad corners, pad centers, line ends and centers, … ?

Snapping is a separate feature unrelated to the dimension objects. Ian was working on some additional snap points – right now we don’t have line centers as a snap point, or pad corners.

Is it planned to have it for v6? Because we might make such dimensioned drawings of footprint submissions a requirement as soon as kicad can make them (reduce the workload for us maintainers).

I agree with @paulvdh, the “orthogonal dimension” could the the first and default measurement tool. I think it is the most more usual.

I propose the order:

  1. Orthogonal (default)
  2. Aligned.
  3. Radius measurement (future)
  4. Angular measurement (future)
  5. Could be a line separator here
  6. Center tool
  7. Leader tool

I have just added two wishes that may fit into this discussion:


Just added them, so yes!

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Seems i need to take a look at nightly then.

Today I had a look at the datasheet of the “powerStep01” https://www.st.com/ja/motor-drivers/powerstep01.html
(Which is quite a beast of a stepper motor driver, with upto 84V and 10A drive current)

On page 84 the footprint is drawn, and it has the sort of measurement that started this thread. All measurements are either horizontal or vertical distances from the origin.

In the third post of this thread,

But these sort of measurements are not mutually exclusive. The classic way of 3 lines and two arrows such as shown in Rene’s example is more common, but for some drawings such as the footprint from this IC, just a leader with the number is much more convenient, and it would be useful if both options were present.

Just FIY: you do not show the footprint drawing. This is the drawing of the package itself. The footprint is a lot simpler as seen in figure 35 of the datasheet (it consists of a few rectangular or roundrect pads and for the corner pads they show pads made from three overlapping rectangles)

Yes, I saw that this datasheet has exceptionally many drawings of the package / pads / Footprint.

So the footprint is simplified for the corner pads, but still, despite of the simplified footprint, they need Fig.34, Fig45, and Fig.36 for essentiallly very similar measurements as the coordinate locations from Fig.32.
Compare these two parts, and then tell which one is the clearest to interpret:

Apart from some strangeness ( Upto 20 micrometer deviations between Fig.32 and Fig.34) the measurements are very similar.

But the whole footprint was just an example of how this kind of measurement can be used, and drawings can be easier to read. And for this it does a good job, and it would be nice to have this kin of measurements in KiCad too.