[Resolved] KiCad 6 3D formats for components: no more STEP?

I’m on Debian sid using Kicad 6 from the repos (6.0.5+dfsg-1). My installation no longer supports STEP files for footprints. The 3D model selector in the Footprint Editor only shows support for wrl, wrz, x3d, idf, and emn files.

Is it just me? Many of my custom footprints from KiCad 5 use STEP models.

Something wrong there as STEP is increasingly favoured over WRL by KiCad, for dimensional accuracy reasons

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Copy the verbose version information from Help → About using Copy Version Info button. I repeat: using Copy Version Info. Paste the result here.

So what exactly are your symptoms, and where do you see it?

If I go to: Footprint Editor / File / Footprint Properties / 3D Models / + / [Browse] then it opens a file browser with just . on my Linux Mint box. I can easily add a .jpg file as a 3D model, even though that does not make much sense.

Application: KiCad Footprint Editor

Version: 6.0.5-a6ca702e91~116~ubuntu20.04.1, release build

	wxWidgets 3.0.4
	libcurl/7.68.0 OpenSSL/1.1.1f zlib/1.2.11 brotli/1.0.7 libidn2/2.2.0 libpsl/0.21.0 (+libidn2/2.2.0) libssh/0.9.3/openssl/zlib nghttp2/1.40.0 librtmp/2.3

Platform: Linux 5.13.0-27-generic x86_64, 64 bit, Little endian, wxGTK, xfce, x11

Build Info:
	Date: May  4 2022 07:55:51
	wxWidgets: 3.0.4 (wchar_t,wx containers,compatible with 2.8) GTK+ 3.24
	Boost: 1.71.0
	OCC: 7.5.2
	Curl: 7.83.0
	ngspice: 36
	Compiler: GCC 9.4.0 with C++ ABI 1013

Build settings:


Application: KiCad
Version: 6.0.5+dfsg-1, release build
    wxWidgets 3.0.5
    libcurl/7.83.1 OpenSSL/3.0.3 zlib/1.2.11 brotli/1.0.9 zstd/1.5.2 libidn2/2.3.2 libpsl/0.21.0 (+libidn2/2.3.0) libssh2/1.10.0 nghttp2/1.47.0 librtmp/2.3 OpenLDAP/2.5.12
Platform: Linux 5.17.0-2-amd64 x86_64, 64 bit, Little endian, wxGTK, cinnamon, x11
Build Info:
    Date: May 19 2022 15:05:13
    wxWidgets: 3.0.5 (wchar_t,wx containers,compatible with 2.8) GTK+ 3.24
    Boost: 1.74.0
    OCC: 7.5.1
    Curl: 7.83.1
    ngspice: 36
    Compiler: GCC 11.3.0 with C++ ABI 1016
Build settings:


Here’s the list of formats my installation thinks it supports:

When I select All Files and select a STEP (.stp) file, the model is not rendered:

I’m suspecting this is a Debian sid library issue. When I try to open one of the STEP files in my AppImage version of FreeCAD, it works fine. However, when I try to open the same file in my FreeCAD installation from the repos, I get:

/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libfreeimage.so.3: undefined symbol: _TIFFDataSize, version LIBTIFF_4.0

KiCad uses the same libfreeimage library. The interwebs so far hasn’t been that helpful, but I’ll follow up if I figure out anything more.

This may help (though, it doesn’t address the reason Kicad isn’t showing Step in your screenshot list of file types)

At least it’s confirmed we’re looking at the same dialog.
If it’s a real problem, I can’t help much, but it seems sensible to check a few simple things.

Some things you may or may not be aware off:

  • You are using some non standard library. I know there problems with some step files which can’t be rendered. Sometimes opening them in FreeCAD and saving them helps.
  • If a link to a 3D file is present in the footprint, it does not mean the file actually exists. It’s KiCad’s policy to add links to non-existing files, so the 3D files can be added later without modifying the library itself.

A simple verification step with a known good model:

  • Open the Footprint editor.
  • Open the default library **Package_DIP / DIP-8_W7.62mm
  • Edit it’s properties.
  • Show the 3D Models tab.

For me, this footprint defaults to a wrl file:

As soon as I change the file extension to “step”, it shows the step model, which has slightly different colors.

This is definitely a problem with the Debian build, I have the same problem with the repository version. My self-built versions are working fine.

I’ll probably take a look at this problem, but you are free to open a debian bug report now.

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Thanks everyone for helping to diagnose this issue. I’ll wait a bit for a round of sid updates to see if it gets fixed. If not, I’ll submit a bug report.

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Debian Sid isn’t really getting any but security updates. Is there a reason you can’t move to Bullseye? And honestly while I love Debian for servers, I’d suggest you look at Linux Mint instead for a desktop, it’s just more upto date and stays upto date with applications. It’s not quite bleeding edge, but it’s pretty good.


@l8gravely Debian sid is the “unstable” branch that gets the newest usable packages. Are you confusing it with buster? You can read about the various branches here.

Once packages have proven they’re essentially OK in sid (for ten days, I think), they normally move to the testing branch (currently bookworm) – unless there’s a testing freeze to prepare for the next stable release. This makes sid essentially a Debian rolling release that burdens the user with occasional hiccups. It’s almost always well ahead of Linux Mint and other non-rolling distributions.

I’ve been using sid as my main OS for over a decade and haven’t found anything better for my needs. It’s not recommended unless you don’t mind occasionally digging deep to fix things and are OK with very frequent updates. I used the testing branch prior to sid but found the long freezes frustrating.

With today’s updates, STEP support has returned in Debian sid.

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