kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Show off your FreeCAD projects here!
jfowkes
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:43 pm

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby jfowkes » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:32 pm

Where is the correct place to get support for kicad StepUp? One of my boards will not import and I'm not sure why.
User avatar
easyw-fc
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:34 am

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby easyw-fc » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:40 am

jfowkes wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:32 pm
Where is the correct place to get support for kicad StepUp? One of my boards will not import and I'm not sure why.
Hi,
normally I'm more active on Kicad Info forum...
anyway if you could share your board (even the only pcb edge could help) and/or post your report view errors I could have a look at...
(you can also pm me here if you prefer not to share data)
User avatar
easyw-fc
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:34 am

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby easyw-fc » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:52 pm

A new update:
StepUp and The Sketcher for Footprint Design.

I have implemented a new release of StepUp which is adding the ability to design directly a KiCad footprint in FreeCAD Sketcher. (it will be available soon).

The nice thing is that Pads, Drills, Silk screen and other main technical layers are available to be designed in FC Sketcher and then Pushed to KiCad footprint.
The KiCad footprint designer is not very featured for design of complex shapes and so, having the ability to do it through the great FC Sketcher is a big plus!
Thanks again to @abdullah for the recent improvements in the Sketcher (hiding selectively the constraints).

I'm adding also a support for Rounded Rectangular Pads and Poly-line Pads...
Poly-line Pads allows the user to i.e. import a DXF in FC or create it as a Skecth and then Push it to KiCad as a filled poly-line...
RF antennas are an useful example of user's case :D

RF-antennas-FreeCAD-to-KiCad.jpg
RF-antennas-FreeCAD-to-KiCad.jpg (165.66 KiB) Viewed 1687 times
cflin
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 10:21 pm

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby cflin » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:19 pm

Impressive!

Now, KiCAD has its own global adjustments about solder masks, etc. Can you define a solder mask while working in FreeCAD? How would/could interact with KiCAD's adjustments?
User avatar
easyw-fc
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:34 am

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby easyw-fc » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:40 pm

cflin wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:19 pm
Impressive!

Now, KiCAD has its own global adjustments about solder masks, etc. Can you define a solder mask while working in FreeCAD? How would/could interact with KiCAD's adjustments?
In StepUp it is possible to define:
- Silks, Fab, CrtYd, Edge outline, assigning also thickness to these technical layers
- TH, NPTH, SMD, Round Rect pads and Drills assigning size and type
- Poly line Pads using the sketcher to easily define the outline as i.e. importing a DXF and converting it to footprint module.

Solder Masks and other refinements can be done directly under the KiCad footprint editor, after having exported the model from FC.

The StepUp Footprint generator is aimed to cover some specific user cases, where the user needs to build and check in a power environment (FreeCAd Sketcher) complex footprints (i.e. KiCad Librarians would ask for a tool like that since a lot of time).

A very useful example is, IMO, the ability to create RF antennas directly from a DXF outline, instead of the need to recreate it manually inside the KiCad footprint editor (ATM DXF in KiCad cannot be converted into a filled pad as it is required for antennas) or convert it to svg and then to kicad fp.

An other user case is the ability to have a footprint for the board outline (not allowed inside the KiCad native fp editor), letting the user to modify the Edge as per the update in the project requirements.

Moreover in FC it is much easier to check dimensions and create mechanical constrains, features missing inside KiCad.

With these tools KiCAD EDA and FreeCAD MCAD are even closer than before :D

Maurice
M4x
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:23 am
Location: Norderstedt / Germany

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby M4x » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:23 pm

I've just found about this tool and I'm absolutely thrilled!

This is going to save me a lot of time in the future. Especially the possibility to create footprints is great.

I've designed my first 3d model for a footprint yesterday and used this macro to export it for kicad (I was successful without it but it took me a while to figure out why my model was too big - with kicad StepUp it's much easier). Although I'm using it to import the whole board into FreeCAD, modifying the edges and checking the fitting.

In my current project, I'm using a standard 0805 footprint from the LED library. The associated 3d model is a wrl file. There is no corresponding step file. I think it's not a good idea to convert a wrl file into a step file. Is there another way than remodelling it from scratch?

Thanks for this awesome tool! :-)
User avatar
easyw-fc
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:34 am

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby easyw-fc » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:58 pm

M4x wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:23 pm
I've just found about this tool and I'm absolutely thrilled!

This is going to save me a lot of time in the future. Especially the possibility to create footprints is great.

I've designed my first 3d model for a footprint yesterday and used this macro to export it for kicad (I was successful without it but it took me a while to figure out why my model was too big - with kicad StepUp it's much easier). Although I'm using it to import the whole board into FreeCAD, modifying the edges and checking the fitting.

In my current project, I'm using a standard 0805 footprint from the LED library. The associated 3d model is a wrl file. There is no corresponding step file. I think it's not a good idea to convert a wrl file into a step file. Is there another way than remodelling it from scratch?

Thanks for this awesome tool! :-)
you can use this generator
https://github.com/easyw/kicad-3d-model ... or/LED_SMD
to generate a LED_0805 both in STEP and WRL

Maurice
M4x
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:23 am
Location: Norderstedt / Germany

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby M4x » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:14 am

Hey Maurice,

thank you very much for your fast reply. I'll check it out after work.
HoWil
Posts: 838
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:31 pm
Location: Austria

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby HoWil » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 pm

Hi Maurice,
Is the import/exchange of pads limited to be used only with Footprint generator?
Is it planed to also import wire-lines and pads into FC? Until now I use FreeCAD-PCB for getting a PCB including vias, pads and wires into FC.
BR,
HoWil
User avatar
easyw-fc
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:34 am

Re: kicad StepUp: ECAD MCAD bidirectional collaboration

Postby easyw-fc » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:10 pm

HoWil wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:53 pm
Hi Maurice,
Is the import/exchange of pads limited to be used only with Footprint generator?
Is it planed to also import wire-lines and pads into FC? Until now I use FreeCAD-PCB for getting a PCB including vias, pads and wires into FC.
BR,
HoWil
Hi HoWil,
I limited the Pads and Tracks only to footprint, because normally for a mechanical use, those are not required...
Moreover the file size and the loading time of the board would increase a lot adding those items...

But if you need Pads and Tracks for i.e. thermal analysis (in fact that would be also my target if I can improve my knowledge in FEM ;) ),
luckily @realthunder made a tool that could be very useful
https://github.com/realthunder/fcad_pcb
realthunder wrote: ping
This is a great repo for creating a board with tracks and pads as solids in FC from a kicad_pcb file...
here a thread with a small howto
https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic. ... 92#p165954
I tested the repo and it worked fine... in some case (i.e. complex pads or fill zones) you may find a stop, but this could be an occasion to fine tune the tools :D

If you need instead tracks and pads only for aesthetic purposes, you can add a wrl texture over the pcb and get a realistic rendering, without the complexity of the reconstruction of tracks and pads as solids.
https://forum.kicad.info/t/export-pcb-d ... tc/7490/11
Image

Maurice