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Offline Dave_PT

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KiCad first user issues
« on: January 24, 2017, 09:52:46 PM »
Hello.

I'm starting to use KiCad (I just use freeware ... and DipTrace was being too small for me) but I'm having some difficulties with very simple things.
At work I use Cadence and KiCad seemed the most similar freeware option for me to use in my projects.

This post will serve to put some doubts that I will have and stay all compact in the same place.

For now the problem is to add 3D STEPs to a component (from 3dcontentcentral).
I have already installed 3D Wings, I export to *.WRL, but the component does not align.

How should I do?

Thank you.


PS: I'm using version 4.0.5.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 10:03:19 PM by Dave_PT »
 

Offline stryker

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 11:17:19 PM »
Hi

In the 3D settings tab inside the PCB footprint editor you have full control of offset, scale and rotation for your model.  This is the way you can tweak the way your 3D model is presented so it aligns with the pads/holes.  You can confirm what it will look like inside the editor using the footprint viewer.

Cheers, Geoff
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 11:23:06 PM »
OK.

But I can only do one thing at a time. I move a little to the left, save the settings and I'll see the 3D. And so on?
I can not do interactively? Modify coordinates and view at the same time?

 

Offline stryker

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 01:10:10 AM »
You can't do it interactively that's true.  But if you find you need to adjust it more than slightly to get it aligned, it's probably easier/better to correct the model.  Are you creating your footprint centred about the origin?
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 01:37:23 AM »
I download STEP files from 3dcontentcentral, so not all follow the same "format".

The 3D Wings seems to be a bit "poor" to manipulate 3D's ...
 

Online EdoNork

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 05:06:55 AM »
Try FreeCAD.
 
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Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 05:12:07 AM »
OK thank you.

I'll try.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 08:58:08 AM »
For now the problem is to add 3D STEPs to a component (from 3dcontentcentral).
I have already installed 3D Wings, I export to *.WRL, but the component does not align.

How should I do?

You should check out Kicad Step Up, which is a macro plug-in for FreeCAD.
 
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Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2017, 10:38:44 AM »
I have some problems with the x64 installation of FreeCAD.
I'll try tomorrow with more time.

I have more doubts.
How do I draw an outline board shape with (for example) 50mmx60mm?
I already tried to reset the local coordinates (space), I already tried using Ctrl + M, but I can not enter coordinates to draw.

I have the same problem to put the mechanical holes ....
Now I have the mechanical holes with approximate coordinates that should be ....

The best I could do was to lower the grid and approximate the dimensions I using the arrow keys ....

Is this how it works?
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 10:42:28 AM by Dave_PT »
 

Offline awallin

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2017, 04:50:30 PM »
How do I draw an outline board shape with (for example) 50mmx60mm?
I already tried to reset the local coordinates (space), I already tried using Ctrl + M, but I can not enter coordinates to draw.
I have the same problem to put the mechanical holes ....
Now I have the mechanical holes with approximate coordinates that should be ....

For holes and other footprints hit "E" for edit and you can enter coordinates in a dialog.
For edge-cuts I'm not sure if you can edit them - just have to draw them right on the first try, use e.g. 10mm x 10mm grid for that?
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2017, 08:36:57 PM »
I see this edit window.
The coordinates are there, but they are global!
Can I change the global origin of the coordinates? I only find the reset of the local coordinate origin....




[EDIT]
For holes and other footprints hit "E" for edit and you can enter coordinates in a dialog.
For edge-cuts I'm not sure if you can edit them - just have to draw them right on the first try, use e.g. 10mm x 10mm grid for that?
I can edit the coordinates of edge-cut lines.
But everything is referred to the global coordinate origin.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 09:07:13 PM by Dave_PT »
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2017, 03:13:53 AM »
Can I change the global origin of the coordinates? I only find the reset of the local coordinate origin....

There is no way to change the global origin.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2017, 03:17:06 AM »
For holes and other footprints hit "E" for edit and you can enter coordinates in a dialog.
For edge-cuts I'm not sure if you can edit them - just have to draw them right on the first try, use e.g. 10mm x 10mm grid for that?

Lines on the Edge.Cuts layer can be edited just like any other line. Double-click on the line, or select it and hit the "E" key.
 
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Offline Bassman59

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2017, 03:21:08 AM »
I have the same problem to put the mechanical holes ....
Now I have the mechanical holes with approximate coordinates that should be ....

The best I could do was to lower the grid and approximate the dimensions I using the arrow keys ....

Is this how it works?

For any object in the design, such as a mounting hole, all you need to do is to select it and hit the "E" key. An object-specific dialog pops up. You should see X and Y location items in that dialog. For lines, you'll see start and end X and Y locations. Type in the exact location.

Be careful with mounting holes, especially a plated-through hole, as you may select the pad when you actually need to select the whole part.
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2017, 04:12:29 AM »
For any object in the design, such as a mounting hole, all you need to do is to select it and hit the "E" key. An object-specific dialog pops up. You should see X and Y location items in that dialog. For lines, you'll see start and end X and Y locations. Type in the exact location.

These coordinates are always relative to the global origin.
My question is if I can not input coordinates relative to the local coordinate origin (space key).

My board should have an origin (0,0) and all components would have a coordinate relative to that point.
If I can not do this, my board will have an origin at (86.6,105.4), for example. It does not make much sense for me to consider this point as the origin of my board and relative to which I will place all the components.
For example, the mechanical hole in (10,60) is introduced with the coordinates x=96.6 (86.6+10) and y=165.4 (105.4+60)  :-//
 

Offline stryker

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2017, 04:22:06 PM »
Quote
My board should have an origin (0,0) and all components would have a coordinate relative to that point.
The workspace has an origin 0,0 but it is not locked into any relation to your board.  You can place your board anywhere.  Additionally, you'll see that you can place your cursor into negative territory.  The upper left corner in mine is -26,0 (rounded to the next cool number)
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2017, 08:26:24 PM »
Hello.

Yesterday I already started to work harder in KiCad and I have already been able to do some placements with rigor.

It's a little trickie ... but it works.

For now I find the connections trace-pin a bit strange and the traces are not keeping the angles of 45ยบ.

 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2017, 07:38:30 AM »
It's not easy at all.

I have already been able to design the PCB, I have already made use of the stepup to add missing 3D models, but I have not been able to generate the STEP of the whole board.

I have to convert the kicad VRML models to STEP, so stepup can use them in freecad.
The question is: how do I convert VRML to STEP?

All this task is driving me crazy.
Why all this complication if even the simplest software directly imports the STEP files and generates the board without a headache!

Can someone help me with this please?

EDIT:
I imported some STEP files from this link and in this moment, I am able to see the board in freecad only with these components.

https://github.com/easyw/kicad-3d-mcad-models
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 07:40:36 AM by Dave_PT »
 

Offline technotronix

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2017, 09:30:50 PM »
Have you tried Free CAD?
 

Offline Dave_PT

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2017, 10:19:57 PM »
Yes I used the stepup (FREECAD plugin) to add some 3D steps.

I've already been able to create the incomplete 3D of my board to check my mechanical issues.

But I will not use KiCad anymore ... it was a waste of time ...


Thank you for your help  :-+  :-+
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2017, 10:52:37 PM »
Why all this complication if even the simplest software directly imports the STEP files and generates the board without a headache!

Which other simple software allows import/export of STEP models? One reason I liked KiCad in the first place is the 3D viewer, which Eagle lacked at the time, even though I don't have need for MCAD it's useful for a quick eyeball check.

The primary purpose for PCB design software is designing PCBs, I regard the 3D / MCAD stuff as an "extra", although I guess the bar has been raised by expensive EDA packages that provide seamless integration with MCAD, parts databases, MRP etc.

Some of the KiCad developers are pretty hot on MCAD and are actively working on it, so the MCAD side of KiCad is steadily improving. As with most Open Source projects, time and resources are constrained.

There is an idea that Open Source software is generally free, as in beer. In practice, the $ cost might be zero, but you usually have to spend a little of your own time to get the best out of it. If your time is very valuable, then spending $5000 on a commercial package would be a better option.
Bob
 

Offline stryker

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2017, 11:02:54 PM »
But I will not use KiCad anymore ... it was a waste of time ...
Respectfully have to disagree with you there.  This isn't the primary role of KiCad as mentioned above.  If the sole purpose of your task was to create a 3D model of your board I'm sure there are better tools for that job.
 

Offline timb

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2017, 04:22:14 AM »
You can't do it interactively that's true.  But if you find you need to adjust it more than slightly to get it aligned, it's probably easier/better to correct the model.  Are you creating your footprint centred about the origin?

Wow, that's really terrible. Keep in mind he's coming from DipTrace which does allow interactive editing of 3D offset, rotation and scale. (Which is how all commercial PCB packages with 3D support work...)

The point of this is to not have to correct *every* model you download in 3D software (like FreeCAD), but instead can make quick and easy tweaks in your EDA software to get it lined up. (Some manufacturers set the absolute edges of their models as the origin, some use the center.)
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; e.g., Cheez Whiz, Hot Dogs and RF.
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2017, 04:30:03 AM »
You can't do it interactively that's true.  But if you find you need to adjust it more than slightly to get it aligned, it's probably easier/better to correct the model.  Are you creating your footprint centred about the origin?

Wow, that's really terrible. Keep in mind he's coming from DipTrace which does allow interactive editing of 3D offset, rotation and scale. (Which is how all commercial PCB packages with 3D support work...)

The point of this is to not have to correct *every* model you download in 3D software (like FreeCAD), but instead can make quick and easy tweaks in your EDA software to get it lined up. (Some manufacturers set the absolute edges of their models as the origin, some use the center.)

The Kicad Step-Up thing does exactly that -- it lets you interactively position the 3D model on the footprint. It works. Should this function be part of Kicad? Sure.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: KiCad first user issues
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2017, 04:50:26 AM »
The Kicad Step-Up thing does exactly that -- it lets you interactively position the 3D model on the footprint. It works. Should this function be part of Kicad? Sure.

As I mentioned, some skilled KiCad devs such as Cirilo Bernardo are working on this, so this sort of feature will be in future versions of KiCad. You can test a preview/test version via the nightly builds.

I appreciate KiCad is not suitable for everyone right now. I would say give it some time, and perhaps take a look at future versions. It's definitely getting better.
Bob
 


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