It may not seem like much but it is my very first design using FreeCAD: a part that was missing from an old tripod, preventing from locking the height of the centre shaft.

It is very simple but it works and it is my first time making something actually useful from scratch.

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@kicou I haven’t used FreeCad in years. It was still quite unstable at that time. Is it a viable alternative to AutoDesk or Solidworks products?

@BaAtchison I couldn't tell: I have never used CAD software before and I am making my very first steps with FreeCAD.

Maybe more experienced users like @normandc will be able to tell you. He used to be a contributor to the project and recently got back to using it.

#FreeCAD has improved immensely in the past 4 to 5 years, more so if the last version you tried was 0.16.

But it has a long way to go to be a drop in replacement. It may never get there. For personal projects though, and maybe even simple professional projects, it certainly can do the job. Provided you're willing to scale back your expectations. It can be slow with complex projects, particularly the technical drawing module.


@BaAtchison @kicou
If you design objects with complex b-spline surfaces and tons of fillets, forget it. That's due to the Open Cascade (OCC) kernel's obsolete fillet algorithms. FreeCAD devs have no control over it. The OCC company know they need to rebuild them from scratch, but they don't have the resources.

I use #FreeCAD for my 3D printing projects even though since March my employer's workstation with Solid Edge 2020 (soon 2021) is at my place...

@normandc @kicou

Thank you very much for the update. Sounds like it is still a hobbyist’ program (which is fine). I have always lived Linux, but Linux is not the greatest is for professional engineers. I had always hoped that FreeCad may solve this. Maybe some day it will. I look forward to that day.

Well, it's already pretty powerful on the engineering side. It's got a pretty fair FEM module, actively developed.

We may see a giant leap with the 0.20 version, but that's in the future as 0.19 isn't officially released yet.

@normandc @kicou

Ill check it out next time I make a linux machine. For now Mac is where I live. #unix-like

Seriously, Thank you for the conversation. All the best to you!

Cool! It's odd that your Part Design Body seems to be nameless. And the Part Design toolbar isn't visible? Did you move it to another screen?

@normandc not sure why the name seems to be blank in the screenshot but is is actually "Body" (I didn't bother giving it a name, it already took me enough time to figure out the concept of creating a shape in sketch mode and then creating a 3D shape out of it).

And yes, I have played with the UI and toolbars, so I probably screwed up a few things. I should probably revert back to the stock layout until I am more familiar with the tools :)

I have absolutely no background in CAD, machining, mechanical engineering or building trades, so I am really starting from nothing here.

The handy-person in the family is my wife: besides UNIX systems she is trained to operate metal lathes and mills and has 4 gigantic toolboxes in the garage, so when she saw my first 3d prints, she grabbed a digital caliper and a de-burring tool, handed them to me and told me: "You'll need that". And I did.

I've read the occasional post in which you mention your wife's skills: she seems impressive! 👍

There's no harm in customizing your #FreeCAD UI. Simple trick to revert back to default config is to delete or rename the ~/.FreeCAD folder. Beware that add-ons and macros you install reside there. You can delete the system.cfg and user.cfg files instead. There may be a third one in ~/.config/FreeCAD.

> I didn't bother giving it a name, it already took me enough time to figure out the concept of creating a shape in sketch mode and then creating a 3D shape out of it

One quick tutorial to get you going on the Part Design workbench can be found here. It was originally written in French by a forum member and I translated it into English. It's since been translated to a few other languages.

@normandc thanks, this will be useful: I initially wanted to explore and figure it out by myself because I thought my part was very simple, but it took me an inordinate amount of time.

I drew a circle, created a cylinder, hollowed it out, tried to find a way to cut a section of it —until I realised I could have just started with an arc.

Sounds silly but I learned a lot in the process and I now start to see the world (and objects) around me in a different light.

Haha, next you'll look at all every day objects around you and wonder, "hmmm how would I model that"

I think all people who learn 3D CAD go through that phase 😄

#FreeCAD is not the easiest CAD system to learn. There are many reasons. It's foremost intent is to be parametric (most created shapes should be editable through parameters). Then the very loose development model created kind of a chaotic ensemble of tools that seemingly do the same thing, but in a subtly different manner. Many people get confused as to why there are Part and Part Design workbenches.

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Instance perso. Principalement en français. Personal instance, mainly in French. Linux, OSS, Santé Mentale, 3615 MaVie.