StepUP In kicad for multiple boards

Hi all,
I use kicad 5 and stepup for mechanical parts, all OK.
My question is when in one project is necessary two o more cards. How possible load all cards for align and modify? As moment load only on card at time bud this is very complicated.
Thanks

Did you already read KiCad StepUp WB: few enhancements? Is there something for you there?

What I need is to able to load two cards make with kicad at the same. Even time, since they go one the order and lined up inside the box.

KiCad generally is not meant for more than one board per project so stepup can assume this to be the case as well.

My suggestion therefore would be to have one kicad project per board instead of per order. Then when you are happy with how the boards look like combine them in a third project (using the append feature of pcbnew standalone). Add everything required for making such a panel and order from that project.

An even better option might be to do this in a dedicated program meant for panellization. This would then mean you export gerbers for both your projects and then combine the gerbers as needed in that external tool. (This tool should also allow for defining everything required for panellization.)

Or let the board house take care of panellization. (Yes this might be slightly more expensive but is definitely the more flexible option as it allows you to order different numbers of boards for each of them. For example if one of the boards has a higher likelihood of failure.)

The latter two workflows even allow for different clearance settings for mask and paste layers. (This would be quite hard to achieve in any workflow where you have everything in one kicad file.)

It is also quite likely that the two (or more boards) will need different numbers of iterations in the future (You might have found an improvement for one of the boards. Why then order both of them in that future?) Unless of course you intent to never touch that system again. (Where would be the fun in that?)

I think what you are trying to say is that you want to align both PCBs so they later fit mechanically inside a single enclosure while being interconnected? If that’s the case you can make all of one PCB into a “compound object” (an icon of two blue spheres inside a rectangle in the StepUp WB toolbar) and try to align it as if it where a 3d model of a component.

would you please elaborate it a bit more?
Have you an example project, even reduced to only pcb edge, to upload?

I think what @marco_kicad wants to achieve is for stepup to recognize that the imported thing can be a panel instead of a single pcb. That would then allow the pcbs contained in that panel to be manipulated as separate objects allowing them to be assembled.


I think this can even be achieved with the use of helper objects and boolean functions.

I see it differently. I think @marco_kicad is asking about the workflow when you have multiple PCBs and you want to align them in 3D space.

I prefer to have one PCB act as a ‘master’ so to speak of. This PCB is placed and routed first, so the likelihood that connectors connecting to the second PCB is quite small. Then I make a .step and .wrml file of this PCB. So when proceeding with placement of the second PCB I attach properly aligned .step model of first PCB to the connector on the second PCB. This thread might shed some light on it Designing a multiple levels PCBs in KiCad?

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Hi,
I enclose what I’m trying to do:
two separate boards made with KICAD, CPU and DISPLAY.
I have to place them inside a container …

The only way I have found, to load all of this with FREECAD is:

  1. load the cpu with the Load Kicad Pcb part command
  2. import step file box
  3. import step file DISPLAY

Well, so I can only modify one card at a time in my case the CPU.
I would like to be able to load both boards on FREECAD, in order to make the necessary mechanical adjustments.
but I am not if it can be done.
I hope I explained myself

Like in Cacoffiny?

What you can do ATM is to split your KiCAD pcb in two kicad_pcb files and delete one board in each.
Then import both files in FreeCAD and do the corrections to your pcb edges.
After the pcb edge is fine within your needs, you can merge the sketches ans push the result to the original board. (this may be a bit tricky, but should work well).

An other option is to create a footprint for your daughter board and update it accordingly to your needs. (search for daughter board, or mezzanine or ‘convert a pcb to a footprint’ at the forum).