Populate/PcDraw now using 3D rendered boards (KiBot/KiAuto)

Hi All!

The populate tool from PcbDraw can generate step-by-step assembly instructions. For this PcbDraw draws really nice boards using KiCad’s plot interface. The problem is that PcbDraw needs a 2D top view of the 3D model for each used component. The current library has various components, but is far from the size of the KiCad 3D models lib, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of 3D models out there.

PcbDraw is currently trying to incorporate a 3D renderer using KiCad 3D View, a task implemented long time ago by KiAuto.

Recently I incorporated PcbDraw as part of KiBot, it was an external tool before. I also added the populate facility. In the process I added the option to use PcbDraw as renderer, but also KiAuto.

So now you can create step-by-step instructions choosing between the 2D drawing or the 3D View images. For an example comparing both options visit this site (click on the images to see the whole generated page).

The options are all centralized in a KiBot configuration file, the configuration used can be found here. The instructions are in markdown format, like in the original populate tool. The example was generated using this markdown. There are a couple of differences here:

  1. The render options aren’t embedded in the markdown. They are in the KiBot YAML.
  2. You can use KiBot filters to create the lists of components to populate.

Some details details remains to be solved, and this will be included in the next release. I would like to get some feedback.

The workflow used to generate both examples can be found here