Some simple newbie questions

  1. Is there a 3D viewer (in KiCad or out - but for Linux) where I can browse through all the 3D libraries and view the individual components in 3D without having to create a dummy PCB and place parts? Is it built-in?

  2. Is there an AutoRouter people are using? Freerouter is not supported anymore and from what I’ve seen of the reviews, wasn’t that good. Is there another open source (or low cost) autorouter that works in KiCad and Linux? Google wasn’t helpful with this question. Or I phrased it wrong.


In the footprint editor you get a preview when selecting a 3d model.
You can use cvpcb to get a preview of the footprint plus the 3d model for models already assigned to footprints.

As standalone tools you can use freewrl to view wrl files and Freecad for step. (Both are not really able to easily go through a directory of files.)

That is not really true. The devs just removed duplicated GUI elements. Freerouter uses the spectre file format which is reachable via the export menu.

Thanks for the info on the 3D viewer. But what I’m seeing is that 95% of the footprints I’ve looked at are blank. Just the PCB, drill holes, solder mask, and silk screen are shown. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Or is that typical?

Maybe not at this time.

With the version that I have installed, KiCad requires at least one Footprint to be loaded into the Footprint Editor to enable the “Footprint properties” menu icon (the icon never “greys out” to indicate that it will not open the next window dialog).

95% you have looked at. The lib has a good coverage for things like smd ic packages, two terminal parts (resistors, caps, …) and for some connectors. The rest is prepared for the time when somebody commits a model.
If you do not get a model for the 0805 resistor then something is wrong with your setup. Otherwise the lib just has no model for your part of interest.

You are correct, sir. Most of the common everyday parts I’d use seem to have 3D models, now that I’ve spent more time looking. Lots of discrete, and many active packages. Thanks for your insight.

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