KiCad v7.99: (regression) 3D viewer impossible to display external pcb elements

it seems that in kv7.99 the not realistic mode has gone…
in kv6 and kv7 it was possible top enable the view of components and text outer of the pcb board to be displayed in the 3D viewer, just disabling the realistic view…
(in kv5 they were simple visible in general, enabling i.e. extra layers like Drawings etc.)

Is there an option for kv7.99 to view components or text elements outside pcb in the 3D viewer?

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I took the liberty to change references to v8 to v7.99 because v8 doesn’t exist and may have different features than v7.99 has now. Using “8” before it has been released may confuse some readers.


The intention is that the setting would be replaced with individual flags in the Appearance Panel. It sounds like we’re missing an “outside board” visibility setting or something.

@maui could you open a GitLab issue with a sample project showing what you want rendered?


Hmm… non-physical layers (user, comments, etc.) aren’t even showing up outside the board right now. That’s just a bug – they shouldn’t ever be trimmed by the board edge.

(No need to log that part; I’m fixing it now.)


Hi @JeffYoung
thanks for your prompt reply.

Would it be possible to disable the ‘board’ clipping also for Silks layers and even components left outside the board?
That is helping in 3D modelling, using the Silk layer to have a projection of the i.e. connectors size and also for external objects used for 3D interference.

We’d need line-items in the Appearance tab for that.

One can easily see a “Off-board Models” line-item at the bottom of the models section. But I’m less clear how fine-grained other layers need to be. I certainly don’t want to add a separate line-item for each layer type.

Is it just silk that’s required? (Solder mask, paste and adhesive don’t seem useful. What about copper layers?)

I think silk would be fine, but when a model is off-board and has to be displayed, all layers should be in place imo. (like in kv7)

that would be enough I think, and very useful.

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Would also be a huge improvement if silks, coppers, and user drawing actually exported into a STEP file. For similar reasons.

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After doing some investigation and playing with this a bit I’ve pushed changes that add a single line-item:
“Off-board silkscreen”.

The implementation includes an experimental bit. If a footprint is entirely outside the board outline, and off-board silkscreen is on, the footprint’s pads will also be rendered to silk. The idea is to make the footprint more visually recognizable.

If folks could try it out once it hits the nightlies, that would be great.


that’s perfect!

this is a bit an issue in my user case where I place some fp outside just to evaluate the 3d space.
Would it be possible to have this behavior as an option in 3D settings?

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Can you say more about what the issue is for your use-case?

(In your screenshot above, U5 is placed off-board and has its pads visible. Without the experimental bit you won’t see the pads at all, while with it they will get rendered in silk colour rather than exposed copper colour.)

I simply would need they just render in real colors, to save realistic screenshots.
Moreover, if background is white, the fp will just disappear.

I simply would need they just render in real colors, to save realistic screenshots.

Sorry to be dense, but even for off-board footprints? (The experimental part doesn’t apply to footprints which are inside or intersect the board outline.)

yes, 3D viewer is a realist viewer, so part should be rendered mimic the real scenario as much as possible imo. In kv5 it was just like this

as a side note, it seems also 3D colors background have disappeared from preferences… are those moved to an other place?


thanks, they were off my view, down in the window

Wow, i didn’t realize the amount of stuff going on the 7.99 3d viewer, very nice stuff!

playing around i’d like to suggest a way to hide internal layers (one by one or all toghether) since
with multi layer boards with everything hidden you can still see copper from the internal:

maybe a feature request on gl is appropriate?