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Author Topic: FreeCAD - unique open source CAD program for 2D and 3D modeling  (Read 5832 times)
Imagining
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« 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.
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Bob La Londe
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 18:27:44 pm »

Have you tried ViaCad?  How do you feel FreeCad compares?  
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Imagining
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« Reply #2 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!
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Dragonfly
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« Reply #3 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 Sad  )


P.S. David, maybe this thread belongs to 'Related software' section?
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EddyCurrent
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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 11:25:30 am »

Sketchup was always the easiest I think.
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« Reply #5 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. 

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dh42
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 19:52:05 pm »

Hello

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

Done Wink

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.  Angry

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
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EddyCurrent
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« Reply #7 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.
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dh42
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« Reply #8 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  Grin

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David
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Dragonfly
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« Reply #9 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 Smiley Dreams are free.
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dh42
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« Reply #10 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)
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Garyhlucas
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« Reply #11 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
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dave benson
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« Reply #12 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
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Garyhlucas
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« Reply #13 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.
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Gary H. Lucas

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Dragonfly
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« Reply #14 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.
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