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Quick and Dirty Wings3D Part Creation for KiCAD 3D Viewer

This quick and dirty Wings3D creation micro-tutorial covers creating a 3D part in Wings3D and exporting that part to KiCAD.

Since the most common object is a cube (and the easiest), that is what this tutorial covers.

  • Right click on the screen in Wings3D.
  • Left click on the box at the end of the line where it shows Cube

Wings3D create package.png

  • Clicking the box brings up the dimensions of the cube screen.
  • I've entered the number for a 16 mm x 16 mm x 5.5 mm Leadless Chip Carrier (a GPS part in this case).
  • If you use different units than mm, you will need to use a different scale factor later but since most data sheets list mm as the default unit this probably won't be an issue.

Wings3D package size.png

  • That should have created an object but the axis are probably not what you wanted since it looks more like a tombstone than a part. Don't worry, be happy. All will be OK.
  • One problem is that the object will be centered around the Z azis which will push the part down into the board. To solve this:
  • Click the mouse wheel. This will put the part into rotation mode.
  • Rotate the part until the z axis is coming out of the screen.
  • Right click on the part.
  • Select Move.
  • Select Z.
  • Manually move the part until it is flush on the XY plane axis. The part should be in the direction of the Z since that marks the positive Z direction.

Setting the color of the object

  • Use Wings menu (Windows > Outliner) to open Outliner.
  • Rightclick and select Material...
  • Type name of new material (or object part, such as body, pins etc.).
  • Edit material (there are color components like Diffuse, Ambient etc.; next to each of them is scroll bar and small rectangular color picker window; click into the box to select base color)
  • Select surfaces or items you want colored (selection is highlighted in red).
  • Select material in outliner (selection is highlighted in blue)
  • Drag highlighted material from Outliner onto one of the highlighted object surfaces.
  • Choose if color is to be applied to only selected surfaces or entire items.

Save the Part

  • To save the object, left click on File, Export, then left click on the box  at the end of the VRML 2.0 line.

VRML Export selection.png

  • This brings up the export options. The scale factor between inches and cm is 0.393701, put that value into the Export scale field.

Wings3D to KiCAD scale factor.png

  • Save the file into the KiCAD modules folder.

The next steps are from KiCAD Pcbnew

  • Right click on the part you want to assign the new 3D shape to.
  • Select the Footprint if it's not the default, then select Edit.

KiCAD Edit Footprint.png 

  • The Module Editor screen will appear. Select 3D Settings.
  • Select Add 3D Shape and select the file that was saved above.

KiCAD 3D Settings.png

  • In KiCAD, select View, 3D Display. The object will be shown in the KiCAD 3D viewer program.