Plating FreeCad Hole

Hi All, I’m slowly getting to know Kicad and FreeCad. Using StepUp, I exported a circle with a few more internal circles. I would like to plate those inside edges as plated through holes. Is it possible? Do I need to make them footprints? Thanks! J.

You can make PTH in Kicad without using Freecad.

In the schematic, add mounting holes and tie them to Gnd. You can then associate them with a pad of any size and outline. There are a variety of built-in lib types and sizes.

You can edit the drill sizes as needed. Remember that a plated hole will be small ID than the drill size.

Plated holes need pads on both sides of the pcb. You’ll likely have better luck copying and editing as existing lib item than starting from scratch.

I guess I need to learn how to add constrainst and practice sketching with KiCad. If I understand correctly you can’t make PTH with mostly FreeCad?

you need to add PTH footprints (like mounting holes) in kicad, then you can import those in FC and move them there with sketching and finally pushing back to kicad at the right positions


I’m trying to get an overview of the big picture here.
It looks like you’re a beginner trying to get the basics down of how KiCad, FreeCAD and StepUp work. I am also a bit puzzled by the request of making PTH in FreeCAD.

Both KiCad and FreeCAD are different programs with different goals and workflows. KiCad is for making a schematic, and making a PCB form it. FreeCAD is a mechanical CAD program.

There is some overlap with the StepUp workbench in FreeCAD, but it’s main goals is to help with designing 3D models, and integrating PCB’s made in KiCad into some enclosure that gets designed in FreeCAD. If PCB’s have a complicated outline then programs such as FreeCAD can also be used to design them.

Plated holes are normally made by firs putting holes as schematic symbols on a schematic in Eeschema, then assign appropriate footprints and put those on the PCB. FreeCAD is no part of this workflow.

So, just out of curiosity, what is it you are trying to achiever here?
If your main goal is to learn KiCad and FreeCAD, then I think you are better off with treating them as different programs until you are familiar with both, and only then go forward with the StepUp workbench and the parts where KiCad and FreeCAD overlap.

I will have to give that a shot! thanks!

Well I guess I was venting at my frustration of the grid positioning

I’m not sure how true that is. At least part of it was about getting more complex shapes into Kicad for various reasons. It doesn’t make sense to duplicate efforts.

Isn’t plated vs non plated just a question of when the hole is drilled? I’m not sure how the software handles that question but it doesn’t seem like it should be hard to go into the file and ‘correct it’ if needed.

How exactly do you align footprints in FC?
So far, I’ve imported board and parts into FC, watched a few of your videos and the cheat sheet haven’t figured this out yet

you can use FC Manipulator WB (Aligner and Mover)

Hi Maui, here’s what I’ve done so far, hoping you can guide further, thanks alot for everything!

Summary: Moving one part moves imported PCB with it

  1. I sketched my outline sent it to Kicad, roughly positionned my footprints.
  2. Imported board and parts
  3. Created a body of the same shape of PCB outline with holes to locate precisely footprints
  4. used manipulator to align imported PCB to Mockup PCB body
  5. Try to align part with body, sadly all other footprints move with it messing everything up.

maui maui1

Simply de-select App::Part hierarchy checkbox (in Aligner or in Mover)


I finally made it work using this

I really wish I had the understanding to do it better. But for now it’s better than guesstimating on grid

Everyone has to find his/her way. I usually prefer to use a MCAD approach.

Me too, how come stepup works with the 3d models of the footprints instead of the footprints themselves in order to stay in sketcher

Because the mcad has to be aligned between the 3d model and the enclosure.
Btw if your model is correctly aligned to your footprint, aligning the model will also align correctly the footprint. (Your 3d model has a locked mating with its footprint).
In your sketch you can design your references and then align 3d models and fps to your sketch. This is the workflow I use and suggest.
(BTW from your screenshots it seems your screw is not aligned correctly to its mounting hole footprint)

Thank you Maui, I suspected I botched the .step a bit too much. Do you have time to make a quick video of that sketch reference you’re talking about? Thanks!

I think the plating is done before etching the copper because it is electro-plating. So you need to put plated edge cuts and holes somewhere in the gerbers so the manufacturer knows when to do them. Oshpark does plated slots that way, I think.
Since plating is done before etching the process doesn’t know about pads. Pads aren’t necessary to plate a hole, but it makes little sense to me.

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