To draw dimensions horizontally

KiCad 4.0.7
While drawing line pressing Ctrl helps to draw it at angle 0, 45,90.
Is there a way to get the same help why drawing dimensions?

you can use the user grid. Just set the y grid spacing to something very large and you should be able to work from that. (of course you need to set the origin to where you want your dimension to start.)

As you can not limit the dimension to one direction the start and end point needs to be at the same y level for a horizontal dimension. For this reason it might be necessary to manually draw a vertical line from one of the points you want to measure such that you have a reference at the correct y level.

And there is kicad stepup for everything a bit more complex.

I always set the origin to the top left corner of my boards and use 0.5mm grid for the outline and mounting hole placement. I use 0.25mm grid for connector placement. Smaller grids (0.05mm) i only use for parts that are uncritical in their absolute position. (Only if necessary. I still try to keep everything on the 0.25mm grid.)

This rules help a lot when you need something to be at some particular position. Especially if you have two boards that are stacked on top of each other. Or if you need to communicate with a mechanical engineer.

Now I am looking around in PcbNev. I found (after sending my question) two fast grids, and user grid (at first didn’t understood what this setting is about). Using user grid for dimesion lines I see as the last chance if anything else helps).

At first I thought that you say: For complex tasks there are the practical workarounds known among KiCad people - that is how I understood stepup.
At second - I think you are speaking about the tool made by (probably) you as the addition to FreeCAD.
I see longer way in front of mine than I expected. You probably faster can point me for something I should read to unerstand what stepup is then I’ll found it myself.

My first KiCad PCB is 14.3x86.9mm (has to be such). As it is symmetrical I placed it to have center in round dimension (10mm grid) so the corners end in 0.05 grid. I wonted to have 0,0 in center - and (after asking) I know - not possible.
While drawing dimensions I had to zoom in to see 0.05 grid and, as I wonted it some distance form PCB i ended with PCB out of screen (to see it I had to manipulate to have a cursor not at screen center). When I get to the second end of my dimension and zoomed in the only way helping to get it horizontally was the X,Y coordinates.
I like the solution with drawing line first, but the best would be if Ctrl just work like with line.

Under Protel I worked in mils (typical grid 5mils and for mm dimensioned elements 1 mils), and moving to KiCad I am also moving from mils to mm. About tracks width, vias I still think in mils and it is another complication source.
I have set no Design Rules yet. As a kind of standard (don’t know from where) KiCad suggests vias 0,6/0,4mm. I suppose 0,1mm collar is not acceptable by my PCB manufacturer. As I remember they accept 4 mils tracks and separation, but collars have to be I think 10mils. Have to check.
As till now I was doing everything in mils and communicated with mechanics in mm I expect no such problems if I 'll be working in mm :slight_smile:

Yes i should have been clearer. KiCad Stepup is an extension to the mechanical CAD tool FreeCad. It allows communication between it an KiCad.

It is written by @maui a very active member here on the forum.

Simply search for it in this forum. One example post i could find is Kicad StepUp: a new UPDATE

1 Like

From that description I understand StepUp is useless until I don’t know FreeCad.

  1. Get control of KiCad (4.0.7 and then V5),
  2. Get control of FreeCad,
    And than begin to be interested in StepUp :slight_smile:

Till now I have never used any 3D tool other than my imagination.

Using the full screen cursor can be quite useful when it comes to drawing horizontal or vertical dimensions and even tracks. But another useful method is to position the cursor where you want to start the dimension and then before starting to draw the dimension press the space bar. Then as you draw the dimension you can see the relative distance for each axis in the status bar. For horizontal or vertical dimension the corresponding axis will be zero and for 45 degrees you will want the same relative distance for each axis.


Good solution. My first tries with Space was with no tool active so I noticed that I can’t set my 0,0 in grid and in some way removed the Space from my memory.

If you don’t want to approach a 3D CAD, for complex board edge you can simply design the edge in i.e. LibreCAD and save it as DXF.
Then import the DXF in pcbnew

1 Like

I wont. Since I was a child I like learning. The only problem is how to find a time to learn everything I’d like to :frowning:

I know that, but didn’t checked yet.

This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.