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Re: STEP and v6 roadmap


On 2019-11-30 18:48, Tim Hawkins wrote:

> Have a look at "assimp",  http://www.assimp.org/  it does STEP too, and a whole bunch of 3d model formats both in and out, so it be used to extend the range of formats that 3d models can be accepted in or exported.

Hi Tim- 

Thanks for the link.  I wasn't aware of that project before. 

However, I would not be in favor of extending the range of 3d models
accepted.  There are a couple reasons here and I'll try to give them

1) Our focus is on accepting common formats generated by part
manufacturers.  Right now, that is STEP.  Some auto-generating sites
like TE.com will also generate other 3d formats but virtually everyone
provides STEP.  

As we increase the number of formats, we increase the support time for
corner cases that don't quite work right.  By focusing on STEP (and to a
lesser extent VRML), we can spend that extra time improving other
aspects of KiCad.  I would also be in favor of dropping IGES support but
I wouldn't push for it. 

2) Internally, we use OpenCascade for our STEP import/export.  I don't
really see us re-writing that code unless it becomes untenable.  It's a
significant investment in multiple areas. 

Related to this, none of the lead devs is terribly integrated in the
modeling code at the moment.  I suspect that a few of us could muddle
through some fixes but the two areas using 3d models are two of the
least coupled areas in the KiCad codebase.  They follow different coding
conventions, different naming styles and re-implement many areas of the
common code.  One of my goals during v6 is to bring these both into
better alignment with the overall codebase to improve their
maintainability, test coverage and approachability to new devs.   

On a side note, I do plan on implementing the standard .stpz, or
compressed STEP[1], format during v6.  But this will be in the context
of OpenCascade. 


[1] https://www.cax-if.org/documents/rec_prac_file_compression_v11.pdf 

KiCad Services Corporation 

 		Seth Hillbrand


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