3D Model Placement in Footprint Library

Created: March 25, 2021 | Updated: September 1, 2021

How to place a 3D Model precisely in your footprint in a PCB library

Starting in Version: 18.0
Up to Version: Current

Solution Details

Place 3D Body and assign Step Model

In the .PcbLib with the footprint in view, Place a 3D Body and select a 3D Step Model to embed in the 3D Body. Supported models types are STEP, Parasolid, and Solidworks Part file):

Place ► 3D Body ► Select file ►Open




Place the 3D Body into the Footprint with a Left Click and then Right Click to exit placement of additional 3D Body.

Enable the visibility of 3D Body Reference Point / Custom Snap Points in the View Configuration Panel using the Panels button in the lower-left corner of Altium Designer or

View ► Panels ► View Configuration from the file menu.

Expand the System Colors section in the Layer & Colors tab of the View Configuration Panel





Orient 3D Model in 3D View for Alignment

Enter 3D View of the Footprint 

View ► 3D Layout Mode


Use the 3 key on your keyboard



Orient the view in 3D so that the Face of the 3D Model that needs to be in contact with the Boards Surface is in view.

This is done using Shift + Right Click + Move Mouse to orient the view.






Align the bottom surface of Step Model with the Top Surface of the PCB
Tools ► 3D Body Placement ► Align Face With Board 



Pick a 3D Body as indicated in the Status Bar down at the bottom of the Altium Designer. If you do not see the Status Bar use View ► Status Bar so that it is in view






Choose Face of the 3D Step Model that needs to be in contact with the surface of the PCB as indicated in the Status Bar






Creating a Snap Point in the Center of Pin for precise Pin to Hole alignment.

Use 0 on the Numeric Keypad to view the bottom of the model and then use Shift + Right Click + Move Mouse to orient the model so that you have a clear view of both sides of a single pin.


Tools ► 3D Body Placement ► Add Snap Points From Vertices




Select the Step Model as indicated in the Status Bar


Press the Spacebar to enter Midpoint Mode

Refer to the Status Bar for instructions:

 ‘Pick vertex 1 of 2. The snap point will be placed at their midpoint’

Select a Vertice on one side of a pin and observe the Status Bar for instructions:

 ‘Pick vertex 2 of 2. The snap point will be placed at their midpoint’ 

Select a Vertice on the opposite side of a pin and Right Click after to exit Snap Point creation.

creation. Observe the Snap Point that has been created in the center of the Pin.








Precise alignment of Pin to Hole using Snap Point in 2D

View ► 2D Layout Mode 


Use the 2 key on Numeric Keypad to enter 2D Mode

Select the 3D Body by the Snap Point newly created in 3D Mode which can be seen in 2D Mode and move the 3D Body into position by snapping to the appropriate pin.





Use the 3 key on Numeric Keypad to enter 3D Layout Mode to find your model with pins precisely aligned with holes of the footprint




See Also

Techniques for Orienting a Generic Model -


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