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Support => Related Softwares => Topic started by: Imagining on November 24, 2011, 20:39:51 pm



Title: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Imagining on November 24, 2011, 20:39:51 pm
FreeCAD is an open source 2D and 3D CAD program that many who use Cam Bam might want to explore.

Its interface, in both appearance and function, is almost identical to Cam Bam. 

FreeCad's methodology for modeling is seems similar [conceptually] to the methodology used to generate g-code with Cam Bam.

There are numerous online resources and tutorials for FreeCAD, some well-developed and present on YouTube.


http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=Main_Page

http://sourceforge.net/projects/free-cad/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeCAD


I now use Sketchup, Alibre and Blender [along with ongoing bouts with MAX 3D which are egged on by Yohudi], and following is how I place FreeCAD in this continuum:

FreeCAD is a step up from SketchUp [a surfaces and edges modeler] in that it is a solid modeler [like SolidWorks].

FreeCAD is not as sophisticated as Alibre [another solid modeler], which is to be expected as Alibre has be around longer, though I did find the interface of FreeCAD easier to use than Alibre.  Comprehending FreeCAD's interface has a steep, though short, learning curve; in many respects much like learning Cam Bam's interface.

FreeCAD is way easier both in learning it and in using it than is learning and using Blender, as Blender is a 3D animation program.  [And Blender is WAY easier to learn and use than is MAX 3D.]


Hope this helps many of you making that wondrous leap to 3D machining, especially with curvilinear forms.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Bob La Londe on November 26, 2011, 18:27:44 pm
Have you tried ViaCad?  How do you feel FreeCad compares?  


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Imagining on December 08, 2011, 00:18:40 am
Looking at ViaCAD 2D/3D v8 I'd say that for $100 that is a lot of bang for the buck.  That Gripper feature looks intriguing, as does the Push-Pull drawing ability [which SketchUp and Alibre both have .. its a real astonishing tool].

There are so many exceptional 2D/3D CAD products out there is almost comes down to one's disposition toward the interface and what features in the CAD program match up with what one is designing.

It really is an exciting time to be in the CAD/CAM/CNC realm.

I look at the open source CAD and CAM products as I find them and if they are not blindingly horrid try them for a bit and report on those that look promising.


PS.  Mainly I use SketchUp 6 Pro, Alibre Design v.10, Blender 2.5, and 3dmax/cnc toolkit [though the latter not very well at all].  It may change in the future, but extra time is going to finishing my second CNC router build that is it is taking way longer than I anticipated!


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 23, 2017, 11:15:31 am
Is there anyone using FreeCAD for actual work?
I am reviving a very old thread because for those 6 years the FreeCAD project has been developed further.
I need a solid model CAD program for not so complicated parts design. And because I've not worked with such a program I find it quite difficult to get to grips with the interface, the tools and design approach. (Or maybe it's the age :(  )


P.S. David, maybe this thread belongs to 'Related software' section?


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: EddyCurrent on November 23, 2017, 11:25:30 am
Sketchup was always the easiest I think.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Bob La Londe on November 23, 2017, 15:05:50 pm
I do have a more current version of FreeCAD installed, but I rarely use it.  I did play with it quite a bit, and I had difficulty creating what I wanted.  

I'm a fan of ViaCad, so my opinions will be biased like anyone else.  It comes down to this though.  When I actually sat down and worked with it I was able to create usable files the first day I played with ViaCad.  

On the flip side.  FreeCAD is free. 



Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dh42 on November 23, 2017, 19:52:05 pm
Hello

Quote
P.S. David, maybe this thread belongs to 'Related software' section?

Done ;)

Quote
I find it quite difficult to get to grips with the interface, the tools and design approach.

I have had a try with FreeCad some months ago, and it has power, but same feeling as you about the interface.  >:(

For me, the worst point are the assembly ! constraints are difficult to work with ! (I'm a SolidWorks user)

A good point is that it save "clean" STL that cause no problems with Cambam or slicer for 3D printers ; it's not the case of Sketchup !

++
David


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: EddyCurrent on November 23, 2017, 19:56:20 pm
I suggested Sketchup because it's free the same as FreeCAD, it could be that STL support in it has improved or there are other suitable save formats.
My choice was Rhino3D.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dh42 on November 23, 2017, 20:06:40 pm
Quote
it could be that STL support in it has improved or there are other suitable save formats.

Yep, or maybe it's the user that do not use the soft correctly ; If objects are not correctly constructed the resulting STL is bad, and it's also true with softs like 3DS Max  ;D

++
David


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 23, 2017, 20:35:15 pm
Now if only Andy makes CB able to produce .STL from the .STEP it opens quite successfully ...
... I'm only dreaming :) Dreams are free.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dh42 on November 23, 2017, 20:52:21 pm
Andy say me in a mail that STL export is planed  (+ SVG import/export) and STEP import is still in progress (job remain to do for Bspline surfaces import)


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Garyhlucas on November 23, 2017, 23:40:40 pm
Rhino is not cheap about $700 and since I stopped working in it every day 16 years ago I never upgraded past Ver 3


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 23, 2017, 23:51:05 pm
I use the bleeding edge version Freecad .17  (If you want to learn Freecad this is the one to get familiar with).
There is a difference between .17 and earlier versions in the way a part is defined (large enough that you need to migrate files created with older versions).

Now that I have CB and Camotics simulating well (including having the tools from different libraries pass through) I decided that it was time to integrate Freecad into the workflow.

The idea is to first create a 3D model in freecad, from there you export the .dxf to CB and then apply your mops then simulate with Camotics
On occasion I've exported a .dxf to freecad and made a model from that (for files that don't have a 3d model already).

To do this you have to setup your preferences for importing\exporting ".dxfs" in Freecad.
To get this to work I had to explode everything in CB and turn those items into polylines. (Pesky ARC's)

After importing the .dxf into into Freecad you turn the geometry into a sketch (well this is done for you) you just have to set the constraints in the sketch. once it's fully constrained you can use it to make a model.

Freecad can then Make a 2d drawing of your model and place it on a drawing sheet for you to dimension or annotate.

The BIG thing about Freecad is that it's "Parametric" which means that if you need to change your model, it's as simple as changing a constraints value and the 3d model changes to refelct the new value (no manual re-drawing of the object). This is very good if you are prototyping and need to make a lot of changes.

People can get themselves into a lot of trouble by not starting a part properly or by inadvertently setting a circular constraint which can at times hard to find.

Like CB there are a lot of "plugin's\Marco's" that make life simple and easy.

Now that I've got over the  "Hump" of the learning curve, I'm enjoying the modeling process a lot.

Dave


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Garyhlucas on November 23, 2017, 23:55:16 pm
Rhino is not cheap about $700 and since I stopped working in it every day 16 years ago I never upgraded past Ver 3. However here is the thing I still have it on my computer and still use it when a Step or Iges file chokes SolidEdge or SolidWorks! I can model stuff in Rhino that SolidWorks still can’t do, or simply requires a huge amount of effort.  Even though my copy is so old I can still get a substantial discount on the latest version.  When you have the current version you also get to use all the next version betas right up to the release date. They only do major releases about every 5 years, yet you get to use the very stable beta released yesterday!  This makes it a very good value and the publisher is an all around great company.  When I retire and no longer have the latest 3d modelers at my job I will likely buy the latest copy of Rhino. I also have many gigabytes of 3d part models that will be relevant 50 years from now too.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 24, 2017, 08:42:30 am
I use the bleeding edge version Freecad .17  (If you want to learn Freecad this is the one to get familiar with).
There is a difference between .17 and earlier versions in the way a part is defined (large enough that you need to migrate files created with older versions).
.....................
Dave
Yes, I have linked apt to FreeCAD daily and have the same version.
My big current problem is I can't make it import a .DXF file properly. I've read some threads about it in their forum but still if it imports anything at all, the geometry is scattered all over the place.
The best way is to draw the sketch in FreeCAD but in this particular case I have a complex shape traced from a scanned image in CorelDraw and exported to .DXF. I even opened it in CB, converted all to poly end exported back but no success.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 24, 2017, 11:36:09 am
Here are some shots of  exporting a selection of geometry from CB which then I imported into Freecad.
Once in Freecad  you have a couple of choices of how to turn the 2d geometry into 3d geometry.

In this instance I clicked on the sketch and applied the constraints and once the sketch was solved I padded it
into the Front Bearing Plate  for my new turrets.

I've also included a shot of my pref's for the importing of .dxf's.
What I do is change these to suit the format of the .dxf file (.eg R12 R13 2006 ect.)
sometimes I have to turn "Import as blocks" off.

 


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 24, 2017, 12:00:20 pm
Thanks Dave,
I seem to be on the right path, just have to refine the details. Will try it based on your example.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 24, 2017, 19:35:09 pm
Dave, I arrived at the last but one picture but the extrusion I make does not form the internal holes an cavities. As if only the outer contour is the forming shape. Struggling with it but no idea where the cause is. I suspect the shapes should be somehow connected into a single one (like CB region) but can't find a way to do it.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 24, 2017, 21:51:04 pm
If you go to the Draft workbench there are tools to unite faces or convert the geometry to a sketch object.

You'll find that when making a model with geometry from an external source that you have to tweek it a bit,
and you would usually use a couple of different workbenches to achieve this.

(Although I didn't have to do this for the CB generated fileabove ) as I made a sketch object before padding it.

For instance the move tool on the Draft workbench is a lot easier to use than some of the tools in the Part or Part Design workbenches to do the same task.

If your file is not a state secret then post it, and I will get it to the point at which i showed for the drawing above
and explain what I had to do to get it to work.

Dave
Edit :just finished cutting the above and except for a complete power failure half way through job, "car into pole further up the street") it went well but slowly, because of the Troc mops for cleaning up the disk brake rotor, not complaining though they work well if you have the area in your part to generate them.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Bubba on November 25, 2017, 02:13:34 am
I follow this thread with great interest because this FreeCad program looks really impressive by just browsing thru. The interface, layout, mouse commands very similar to early versions of Catia. Program I was using frequently while working for a living ;). The thing that I cannot get past is lousy handling of the inch scale. In sketcher you draw 2" circle and in the bottom right corner displays metric values, I just don't have much faith in this program till the unit system is handled better. For you guys using metric system it should be nice software to learn and use.
I guess I'm with Bob, back to my ViaCAD I go ;)


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 25, 2017, 03:28:28 am
Hi Bubba

This is the prefs screen from my newly minted "FreeCAD_0.17.12619_x86_dev_win" binary.
so things might have changed, I'll have a look later to see if it's ok.
I know they have been discussing this for a long time and were going to use a translation method between the interface and the Python code under the hood. which will always be SI units
Dave


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 25, 2017, 13:48:26 pm
Not a secret at all, Dave. It's a flange for air intake manifold of a car engine. The task is to make a transitional flange one face of which fits the head intake ports and the other - the shape of the manifold ports. Because the manifold is from the same manufacturer (Toyota) but from a different version of the engine. I have drawn the geometry of both and have it in .DXF format. Doing this I had to manually trace some of the shapes from a scanned image of the surfaces of both the original and the new manifold flanges. Drawing them in FreeCAD will be a difficult task for me as it needs determining the length, radius and center of each arc in the contour. That's why I am trying to use the geometry I have ready.
I am a complete newbie in 3D CAD and I guess I have to start with learning and comprehending the terminology used, like 'sketch', 'draft', 'wire', etc.  Which I am doing now by reading the manual. But it will take time and for the moment I don't even need a complete model for machining, just a model to verify is it possible to do the air channel transition over a 30 mm thick flange.
I have opened the .DXF files in CamBam, converted all to poly and re-exported back. And FreeCAD reads them correctly. But I have no success in trying to make an extruded shape out of it.
I am attaching the .DXF for the cylinder head intake ports.

P.S. Import settings appear to have quite different effects on the resultant FreeCAD objects. If I select to convert shapes to sketches, for example, I get a set of sketches and shapes, if conversion to draft objects is selected - a set of polylines is created. And I am at a loss how to proceed with them further. I have dedicated my time today to reading, vewing tutorials and trying to apply what I've learned. I definitely need to get some 3D CAD skills not only for this particular task.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Bubba on November 25, 2017, 14:09:53 pm
This is the prefs screen from my newly minted "FreeCAD_0.17.12619_x86_dev_win" binary.
so things might have changed, I'll have a look later to see if it's ok.
**************************

Hi Dave,

I have installed the new FreeCAD .17 . That why I have expressed what I see in it, compared to previous .16 version..


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: EddyCurrent on November 25, 2017, 14:12:42 pm
Rhino stl attached. (just in case all else fails)
CamBam can also extrude it using the extrude solids plugin but it also fills in the holes which is not desired.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 25, 2017, 14:37:46 pm
Rhino stl attached. (just in case all else fails)
CamBam can also extrude it using the extrude solids plugin but it also fills in the holes which is not desired.
Thanks Eddy,
But a single .STL is not enough because the final part is a rather complex design. And they cannot be 'welded' together. That's why I need to work in 3D CAD.
In CamBam, if you convert the geometry into a Region, 'Extrude Solids' does the holes too.
Here is a .cb file I made with CB for Linux. As you can see there a two base extrusions 15 mm thick with an offset to each other which gives the basic idea of the complex flange. But for the port holes transition I need the 'Lofting' function.
I didn't provide the two shapes in my previous post because I need to get to grips with making more simple 3D parts in FreeCAD.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: EddyCurrent on November 25, 2017, 15:30:02 pm
Good idea about using Region in CamBam  :D
Regarding 'welding' together, I often draw 3D objects as separate parts then use a "Boolean Union" to make them into one object.
As you say, the only way forward is to get to grips with FreeCAD.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 26, 2017, 02:52:43 am
Here you go:
I've supplied the Freecad file as an example.
Here is the link for this guy on youtube how I've found to a good tutor.
paul randall
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnxMaGMCrWAQgwF61ISRpGw (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnxMaGMCrWAQgwF61ISRpGw)
This guy is very talented as well.
cad1919

this is just from my notes as I went along
{
The file is large for how much geometry that's in it ?

in freecad there's multiple copies of the geometry (try import settings)

to get a fully constrained sketch use the draft workbench convert to sketch tool

There were 3 copies of the geometry I did whittle the "shapes" down and extrude them but this took half an hour to get right and was very fiddly.

just use the sketch method.  30 seconds to do whole job!
1.... Import the geometry
2..... Delete Multiple  copy's of the geometry
3.....On the Draft workbench, use the upgrade to sketch tool.
4.....Extrude that sketch and you get what you want.

Dave

edit: Opps here's the freecad file in next post


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 26, 2017, 03:01:25 am
Freecad File:


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 26, 2017, 11:35:42 am
Thank you very much, Dave, for your time. Much obliged.
Quote
The file is large for how much geometry that's in it ?
Which file? The .DXF I supplied is ~65 KB. If you used the CB file I attached in my reply to Eddy yes it has multiple layers with overlapping geometry and extruded objects in it.

Quote
in freecad there's multiple copies of the geometry (try import settings)
Yes, as it appears, but I thought it is something normal. And didn't dare delete the unneeded geometry which made a mess in the properties tree. All because I don't know what's normal and what not working with FreeCAD. :(   Your example enlightened me much on this matter.
But importing external geometry seems somewhat like magic - depends very much on importer settings and the version of AutoCAD the .DXF is saved to. If I open the same file in LibreCAD and simply save it as R12 version, it differs in the way the importer interprets it.
Looking at your example I set the import preferences to create sketches. Opened the same .DXF file and had one fully defined sketch alongside copies of the comprising geometry. Deleted the latter leaving only the sketch. In the Draft workbench upgraded it and it resulted in 'Wire'. Switched to Part workbench and applied 'Compound'. Then extruded the compound and voila.  :)
(This is based on what I read from the help and watch on YouTube yesterday but I must admit I am still not confident in what I am doing. But I have a result anyway.)
Thanks again.
Ivan


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 26, 2017, 20:14:46 pm
I did some progress today.  ;)
Apart from everything else one of the faces has a 10 degrees angle relative to the other.
Didn't make the mounting holes. Will do them the traditional way. The most significant part for 3D work are the air channels which have to be milled from both sides.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on November 26, 2017, 23:32:17 pm
Ivan
That looks good, did you loft the geometry or position solids and union them.
on a side note I come from a motorsport family (speedway motorcycles and Modified mini sprintcars) so this is an interesting project for me.

Normally the inner profiling (Flowing) is done with 5 Axis machines now. we did it years ago with templates and an air grinders.

If you need t flip the stock, perhaps leave some stock on each end, and have some dowel pins to keep register while you flip it over.

I suspect with using  3D milling techniques  that you might have to do some finishing with a hand grinder.

I follow your progress with interest.

One other thing, when you turned the geometry into a wire, if you then press the button twice it will (sometimes) upgrade the wire into a filled face, with which you can use some other tools with.

Dave


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: Dragonfly on November 27, 2017, 08:26:52 am
Yes, I discovered that upgrading does different things depending on the type of object. Also, if it is a wire or sketch there's no need to convert to compound for extrusion. Many things still to learn and comprehend but your examples allowed me to get more familiar with the project tree and that I can organize and clean it.
After the single extrusions for the body were ready and one of them tilted and repositioned into the other I did a union of them to form a single solid. Then made lofts from the shapes of the two port windows and applied boolean subtraction for the air channels.
There are guys here doing car tunning and it is for them. They are a family of race drivers, the father was a prominent Bulgarian racer back in the young years. Until now I've done some simple flanges or just made drawings for gaskets. This is the first time I am trying to do such a complex part. I want to make a dummy out of foamed PVC to check how it  fits. Perhaps they will order the final aluminum part at a workshop with a suitable milling machine.


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: ubit on December 12, 2017, 11:42:20 am
Hi,

i am using FreeCAD (latest dev version) a lot. The 3d Modeller in the Part Design Workbench is really great. Most of the time i am using it for my 3D printer.

I have created some small tutorials for building parametric 3d parts with FreeCAD 0.17. They are in german language (maybe you can paste the text to google translate to use them in other languages) and can be downloaded here:

http://ubit-rc.de/downloads/PartDesignTut1.pdf
http://ubit-rc.de/downloads/PartDesignTut2.pdf

I do the parametrization using the spreadsheet function of FreeCAD. It has still some bugs - but it is very usable after you get comfortable with it. This way of building parts has nearly nothing to do with drawing - it really is about construction and thinking about what is needed (what constraints to add). Not really easy - but very powerful.

Maybe the tutorials can help someone - even if the latest versions of FreeCAD have changed the part workbench again a little *g*

My main problems with FreeCAD for my CNC Router is generating 2D drawings with text that can be exported as DXF and read into CAM software. DXF Import does not work well for me too.

Ciao, Udo


Title: Re: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling
Post by: dave benson on December 12, 2017, 21:08:52 pm
Hi Udo

I downloaded the tut's, and used Google to translate to read the files.
They were well written (style wise) as even after the translation, they read very well in English.

I believe that you can get a BOM 'Bill of materials' using the spreadsheet as well.

I'm importing and exporting .dxf's between  Freecad  and CB pretty easily now, although I have been exporting
sketches rather than "2D drawing objects" from the Draft workbench.

If you have an example file that you want to use, and is causing problems, then post it and I will have a look at it, and if I can successfully (Import\Export) it, I'll post the method I used to get it to work.

Dave