Stack of PCBs for verifications

Mmm not sure if we are talking about the same workbench, AFAIK maui recommended this workbench:

to make analysis in the copper, KSU however, uses it internally, but just for the top and bottom copper.

My bad. I mis-remembered. I knew, though, that he did recommend a different workbench instead of insisting that his workbench was the best for all situations. Integrity like that always impresses me.

I do this all the time. Choose one board as the “mother”. Create a module for the other board (now the daughter). Separately export the daughter board as a complete 3d image (Kicad can do this) and point to it with the new module you created. Now include the new daughter module on the mother board as if it were any other component.

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this has been solved here:

Thanks Xenomorph, interesting, how can you export a PCB board as 3D image ?
under PCB-Editor I try to export board as .step :

Then in Freecad when I open the file nothing visible ?!!?

I’m able to load separately both boards, under Freecad using StepUp :

with .kicad_pcb files, but probably I miss some thinks !

you may have a look at:

To see the imported step, be sure to select the correct Item in the tree and set Visibility to True.

Note: You can do quite a bit without using StepUp. However, one nice feature of StepUp is the ability to load the Traces.

But, you can load traces without StepUp too.
Export the traces as DXF then, import into FreeCad then, using ‘Part’ workbench, “Make Face From Wires”. I do it both ways, depending on it’s usage… This way is less prone to error/crashing when DXF’s have many redundant element lines. I do it this way especially when doing FEA on the traces…

Either way, you can use the step file for creating attach hardware/etc and export back into Kicad… example below showing some items on risers…

Hello BlackCoffee & Mauni, I can export my 2 boards from Kicad in the form of .step files. If I load each in Freecad I get 2 folders, as the snapshot from BlackCoffee shows, I would like to put both boards in the same folder. I am not familiar with Freecad and would like to know or find an explanation for this.
From another side, with a big PCB design the exportation to .step format hangup :

The Kicad2Step say : Not reponding, not sure is normal ?
Thank you.

I’m not quite clear on that statement - my post doesn’t show any folders…

• If wanting two PCB’s (or other Step’s) in the same FreeCAD project, then:

  • In Freecad, Create a New project, Add a ‘Part’ to it
  • Import the Step file into the ‘Part’ (don’t File>Open each, that will create two FreeCad folders, so to speak)

• If wanting two PCB’s in the same Kicad Project, then:

  • Just copy the one that’s in the project and Rename it and paste the copy into the project
    (you can paste other PCB’s into the same project, too)
  • Then, work on the PCB’s of interest… Can have many PCB’s in a single Kicad project.

I don’t know anything about “Kicad2Step”, I don’t use it so, can’t comment on it…

From Kicad, I export Step files by:

Then, I FreeCAD, I create a Part, Select/Double-click the Part label and Import the Step files.

Each one can be positioned via the ‘Placement’ tab in Data panel

To make Standaoff’s, Boxes, Risers, etc, etc, add a Body to the Part and do the work in the Body.

Can have multiple bodies in a Part, Multiple Parts in a File and can drag&drop bodies, Steps and Compounds into Parts

Kicad exports the Step into a Folder that gets Imported into FreeCAD as a Folder. Simply Drag&Drop that folder into the Part label (then, it belongs to the Part and no longer a separate Part…) as shown in vid below.

There’s a good bit of homework and curiosity testing to do…

So, to answer the first problem, in fact, I tried to generate a .step file that already include a .step file in the kicad project, the tool does not like that! It does not seem possible, so to solve this problem, I deleted the 3D imprint that generated the error:
Original 3D view:


With that, I am able to get a file format in version .Step that loads in FreeCad:

So, I’m not sure to understand the explanations, under Freecad I create a new project seems Unnamed :

I open the first .step file, with Part -> Import CAD (no Add Part ?!!?) Then same form the second .step file and at the end both are are angered, it’s pretty, but that’s not what I’m looking for.

For FreeCAD help, it’s best to use their Forum and tutorials.

Just like Kicad’s having integrated App’s (PCBnew, Eeschema, BitMap…etc) and Plugin’s, FreeCAD also has intgrated App’s and plugin/macro’s.

In FreeCAD, the App’s are called Workbench’s and Macro’s.

Coder’s of these try to imitate real App’s and have come a long way since day one. But, like most Open-Source App’s, what things get named/called depends on the Coder’s…

Example: SolidWorks uses the words “Extrusion” and “Cut”, FreeCAD uses the words “Pad” and “Pocket”. But, they do the same thing.
It’s like Starbuck’s: They have what they call a “Pour-Over” but, other’s call it “Drip” coffee. They are the same thing - a paper-cone with grounds and hot water poured over it.
(Next time at Starbuck’s ask for a “Pour-Over” - it’s not on the posted Menu but, they all do it. And, it’s the best drink they have IMHO)

You are using the “Part” workbench. I use the “Part-Design” workbench and the Toolbars/Tools and Menu items are different.

“Part” is like those minimal 3D App’s included in 3D-Print software (based on Primitives).
“Part-Design” is like real CAD programs such as SolidWorks, Inventor, Pro-E (based on Parametric’s and Primitive concepts)… Get it? Learn to use Both (and Draft workbench, too).

“Unamed” changes to the Filename when you Save the project.

Kicad will export Step’s of PCB’s that contain Footrpints made with Step models. No problem.

The Vid below shows PCB with a 6050MPU (step) and an Arduino Nano (also a step). They were made in FreeCAD, used in Kicad’s Footpints, Then, Exported from Kicad as Step. Then, Imported into FreeCAD…

Btw if you want to mention a specific user, type an ‘@’ sign and a list of thread contributors pops up.
So @vidalv should get your attention.:slightly_smiling_face:

Ok thank you @john_pateman, I do not know all the protocol, what else I do not know, I started using the internet from 90’ with the BBS … some evolutions since … I thought everyone could understand.

@vidalv john simply suggested this method because the forum sw collects the mention only when it is correctly formed. In that case it will send an e-mail to the mentioned user automatically and will add a flag on the user avatar.

Didn’t want to belabor my input but, with some extra time, I thought I’d
wet your appetite - below is result of previously described with addition of a Body containing a ‘Post/Riser’ (the Pad extrusion).

Then, exported from FreeCAD as a Step (done the normal export way, without using StepUp plugin). Then, created a new Footprint and used the Step file…
I could have used StepUp and doing it that way would eliminate the need to scale the model when making the footprint). I like doing it both ways… (sometimes StepUp doesn’t like something and/or does something funky…)

Note: Scale factor = 0.4 (though, some purist’s will point out it should be 0.3xxx. But, that’s less than the difference of One-Human-Hair’s thickness and, for a Graphic, I don’t care about it…)

Thanks @BlackCoffee! Seems you’re familiar with the subject! For my side, I progressed step by step. In Kicad I created my 2 PCBs in .step format. In Freecad (I have version 0.18) I create a new document, I insert a part, then I import my PCBs via “Part-> Import CAD” and I end up with the 2 PCBs in the project:

My problem is that the 2 PCBs stick side by side, how do we separate them?
In your animation, we see a menu with “Import” then a selection of objects, as the top of the image is truncated I don’t see which button corresponds to this choice? Can you shed some light on this part? Thank you.

I found the answer to this myself in the past, but that was for VRML, the sub board is missing a definition block, that prevents it being assigned directly as a footprint 3D model, I used this a fair bit in the past to work out how to fit a 5 PCB project in the same case without having to play around in CAD, as all I needed was a quick visual comparison. I will note back then there was occasional weirdness where the parts would be exported with mm coordinates, but be read as inches, however I believe that is now resolved (another thread in the past where I caused a stir about 3D model unit definitions)

Hope my old thread helps,

First thing to do is get rid of V18 !!! It’s loaded with bugs and incomplete code. I don’t know why they still post it as stable - it never was and, if you look into it enough on their forum, you’ll learn that.

Though V19 is still a pre-release, it’s been the version to use for more than one year.

As I previously said, your using Part, not Part-Design. They are different and coder’s codes don’t always play well together. It might be your problem but, perhaps not.

Beyond that and, perhaps some language/communication (usage of words) may be confusing me or you but, there’s seems little more I can say beyond what I’ve already posted. EXCEPT, If you load a footprint in Kicad, you can Edit it’s position in the footrpint editor’s 3D tab - perhaps that’s all you need to do.

If referring to FreeCAD’s import, just the usual file selection panel opens. But, again, the menus are different between Part and Part-Design.

If referring to moving the PCB’s in FreeCAD, use the panel containing Placement/Postion…

Thank you @BlackCoffee for your patience! So, Freecad 19? The only version available is V0.18.
I use part (not part design) because the import CAD is available.
Update : I found on under “FreeCAD releases page” one file as 7zip, (FreeCAD_0.19.24219_Win-LPv12.1.6_vc14.x-x86-64.7z) there are not installer when unpack that start Freecad :
Now I’ve to install the kicadStepUpMod inside the Mod directory.
I will test with this configuration.

Link to v19 pre

Import from Part-Design imports CAD/other - it just doesn’t say it exactly. … do some homework and testing…