I wouldn’t call what I’m about to describe as a bug but it’s something that might want to be addressed in a future release . . . assuming it’s not an issue with me.
I’m designing some very long narrow PBCs to be used in place of a cable, due to their length they have to be made in parts. So I designed the PCBs in KiCAD (5.1.8), Schematic and PCB, and export the PCBs as STEP files.
When opening them individually in Solidworks (2019) they open fine, if I open one and then the other they look identical . . . . this means I cannot build the two parts into a Solidworks assembly.
The cause of the issue is that the STEP files have a component in the STEP file with the same name, COMPOUND.step When I open the second STEP file it uses the COMPOUND.step from the first PCB resulting in two identical PCBs.
I fixed this by editing one of the STEP files in a txt editor and changed the text from COMPOUND.step to COMPOUND1.step
Could the generic COMPOUND.step be replaced with something specific to the project/PCB name ?
I tried my STEP parts in FreeCAD, it managed to open both parts fine, I couldn’t figure out how to make them into an assembly. I didn’t expect anything else to be honest . . . I suspect the issue may be with how SolidWorks is treating the STEP files, I just wondered if the ‘COMPOUND’ field name could be changed ?
OF course it might also be how I have Solidworks configured, I’ll investigate some more.
I think there was a similar discussion regarding SolidWorks and @maui’s FreeCad Plugin. And if I remember correctly the issue was solved. So maui might know something more on the topic, which might help you to solve the issue or at least open an issue on the KiCad Gitlab site, so that developers are aware of this and can fix it.
@RaptorUK you might want to search the discusion history on this forum if there was something similar already discussed
#1. edit one of the STEP files to change PRODUCT(‘COMPOUND’,‘COMPOUND’ to PRODUCT(‘COMPOUNDx’,‘COMPOUND’ #2 open each of the STEP assemblies in Solidworks and save them out as Solidworks parts, then build my assembly from these parts
both these option add a little time to my work flow but that is easily manageable for the project in question.
It just seems to me that the way the STEP file is written could be changed to make it more compatible with other applications, in my case, Solidworks.
I don’t think I’ll be adding FreeCAD into my workflow. At one point I was hoping that I could maybe use it and StepUp to combine STEP files and VRML files to get a STEP file with track and pad detail but I couldn’t find out if StepUP would definitely do this for me. StepUp seemed quite convoluted to setup and I don’t have the free time to try right now.
Are you able to confirm if StepUp will combine the STEP and VRML from KiCAD into a STEP with pad and track info ?
First order of business… I came to FreeCAD after 20 yrs of using SolidWorks and Pro-E. I discovered that the ‘Part Design’ workbench is similar enough that it took only verrry short time to become an ‘expert’. Some tools/features in SW are located in the ‘Part’ and ‘Draft’ workbenches. It can be confusing but, mostly because the ‘Syntax’ of what things are called. Example: You know what ‘Extrude’ means but, in FC, it’s called ‘Padding’.
(A similar stupidity exists in programming: Old school (me) uses the word ‘Initialize’ but Mr. Job’s wanted his own word and coined the term ‘Instantiate’ . )
Back to the point…
Below shows loaded Step file of Board and Traces in SolidWorks. I added a Hex hole and colored some traces to show usability of the Step file for tweaking. I DID NOT use StepUp for any of this but you can make it easier by opening the DXF of traces (in FreeCAD) and using the Tool in Stepup called “2D Object (or DXF) To Surface” then extrude it…
PCB and Traces without using StepUp. Simply Exported Step file from FreeCAD