Magnificent piece of art (and software too, of course...)


#1

I’m using KiCAD for over more than 8 years now but I never expressed my gratitude to the guys who’ve made it such a great tool.
For me, it’s a magnificent piece of art and software made by enthusiastic people who offer lots of their free time to come to the result of what it is now.

I recently moved from KiCAD 3 to KiCAD 5 (skipped the KiCAD 4 saga because of too much issues at that time) and I must say I didn’t regret it. The changes are big and - even more important - useful. Especially the PCB part has much better and smoother features compared to KiCAD 3 when routing tracks and the like.
But other tools are great too: 3D viewer, Gerber viewer,…

I just finished a board to control 32 relays using 2 MCP23017 IO expanders together with 4 ULN2803 octal darlington drivers to drive the relays. I’ve attached both top and bottom view of the result. And yes, I really do like the result…

And I’m more than proud to put the KiCAD logo on my design.

Next step is to send the PCB for manufacturing to OshPark, a no-nonsense PCB manufacturer with excellent results and relatively cheap (yeah, I know the Chinese can make things maybe a bit more cheap but I like it to support our economy…). And no, I’m in no way affiliated with the company, I’m just extremely satisfied with the PCB’s they made for me in the past…

Hats off to all the amazing people who’ve made KiCAD for what it is today, I bow for you guys…


#2

just out of curiosity - how do you get wires into that 2nd row of screw terminals?


#3

My guess: dual row terminal blocks like phoenix MKKDS 1,5/ 3-5,08 - 1725041 but without having a specialized footprint/3d model for it.


#4

It’ll be something like this.


#5

@Joan_Sparky: @Rene_Poschl and @jos are spot on. Since I didn’t have the 3D packages for the elevated versions of the MKDS (which are indeed the MKKDS, mind the double “K”) I also used the non-elevated versions for the 2nd row. It’s just a matter of visualising the finished print more or less…

I got the 3D packages from this website. This guy has a ton of extremely nice symbols and 3D packages. Certainly worth a visit!


#6

phoenix (the producer of MKKDS) offers step models for their parts. (On their website search for the part number. Then under downloads check the step file.)


#7

Found the related .stp files. I wasn’t aware of the stp capabilities of KiCAD. How to import/use those stp files in KiCAD?


#8

#9

No need for import procedures.

Copy that file to a file location of your choice.
Enter that file’s location under your footprint’s properties 3D settings. That’s all.

Best way is to keep your writeable ‘in-house’ components in a seperate footprint library.


#10

There is a plugin for Freecad called StepUp - written by a regular here @maui. This is an excellent way of making sure your 3d models and footprints align and render correctly. You frequently find that downloaded models need to be rotated and scaled to fit, StepUp will do this and also render a wrl ( a format for rendering) which will improve how your board looks in the 3d view. Step files are dimensionally accurate but don’t tend to render well as they lack surface material information. Having a matched pair of step and wrl files ensures that step export contains dimensionally accurate models and rendering produces attractive and realistic results.


#11

Hello GeertVc.

Here is a video illustrating the integration of a 3D model from Phoenix Contact with KiCAD: https://youtu.be/0uFwihrttwE

Sorry, the comments are in French, but the illustrations may be explicit enough ? …

Christian


#12

@ChristianH: Excellent tutorial! And French is not a problem (in Belgium you’re supposed to know both Dutch as well as French… :slight_smile:).

Thanks for pointing this out.


#13

Finally found the time to update my models with the STEP models from Phoenix and below is the result. I now have the larger and smaller terminal blocks which are a true realistic representation of the board.

Thanks all for pointing me to the STP files readily available from (in this case) Phoenix Contact.

For the terminal blocks I’m using, I saw that Phoenix Contact only provides .igs files (whatever that may be). I’ve imported them into FreeCAD and I saw the models were just in plain grey. I’ve adapted them to the green colour using FreeCAD and then exported them to .stp files to be used in KiCAD.
Is this normal that the colours are not there with .igs files? How do other people cope with this?


#14

According to this igs would appear to be a predecessor of step and therefore considered being an older format. Best is to update by conversion to e.g. step.


#15

One of the great things at Kicon was the ability to meet the core developers. Bravo Zulu, folks!