[SOLVED] How can I rotate a footprint interactively?

Hi all, I am trying to place a few SMD LEDs on a (somehow) banana-shaped PCB. For reference, I have imported a DXF file into the user.drawings. The LEDs should be placed and rotated according to this plan (tangential to curved shape).

EDIT: As of summer 2022, there is no interactive arbitrary rotation command as known from print / screen design layout apps. I did it the hard way.

In my home world (Illustrator et al.) I can just rotate any element interactively so that I can see the rotated shape in real time:

Bildschirmaufnahme 2022-08-30 um 11.52.11

Is it possible to rotate the respective footprint in the same manner in KiCad?

Or would I measure all rotation angles and then enter these into the properties dialog by hand? If possible, I’d like to avoid.


You can use the Circular Array tool:

Understanding how it works is the magic to success - after placing your LED, Right-click it>Special_Tools>Array>Circular

This screenshot provides enough info to help… Mouse-hover to get info and play around a bit… Horz/Vert center dim’s are relative the the Page Origin

As far as Banana shape, well it does only Circular so, you can play with origin and angle to get close (or do them manually…)

ADDED: Making it simple: You can place an Origin (tool in sidebar) at your desired center of rotation, thus avoid thinking about the page origin, so just enter Zeros if using placed Origin. Also, the angle you enter (if not ‘0’) is the angle between individual parts…

NOTE: All those lines are simply reference for visual understanding in this post. They are not needed…

This is a great find and explanation, thank you! But the shape is not a circle segment, so the circular array will not yield the right rotation amounts for the individual LEDs.

You can rotate any element using the shorcut key ‘R’ it normally rotates in 90° step, but you can change this under Preferences->Preferences->PCB Editor->Editing Options->Steps for rotate command.

Hope this helps

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As @der.ule said… Also, you can place origin where it yields/approximates something closer to your desired shape…

Thank you all!

I ended up measuring all rotation angles in my design software pipeline (Rhino to Illustrator) as follows

  • Construct board outline and LED placement in Rhinoceros
  • Measure rotations in Illustrator, create location placeholders, export DXF
  • Align LEDs to location placeholders in KiCad
  • Rotate LEDs according to angle measurements (see above)

Above: Partial PCB with placed elements.