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Starting to Learn FreeCAD: Any Tips Are Welcome

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  • RMinMN
    replied
    Originally posted by CountZero View Post
    Something to be aware of if you want to change your model without problems is this: https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Topological_naming_problem

    Now, I started using freecad a long time ago and I think mapping sketches to faces was the only option so I continue to do so most of the time and I havn't had any issues with this. But my models are usually not very complex.

    As far as constraints, no problems deleting offending constraints. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is avoid "auto" constraints(i.e. if you start a lie from another line or a point the start point of the new line will be constrained to this point(or line..) sometimes you want more flexibility.

    Also it is usually best to define constraints as geometric constraints and use as few fixed lengths and such as possible, this has been what I have changed most about my workflow since starting out. Not that it dosen't work, but it is often easier if you want to make changes later.
    I have learned to start lines away from another line as sometimes I miss the auto attachment. Instead I use the "tangent" command to move the endpoint to the line I want it attached to.

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  • CountZero
    replied
    Something to be aware of if you want to change your model without problems is this: https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Topological_naming_problem

    Now, I started using freecad a long time ago and I think mapping sketches to faces was the only option so I continue to do so most of the time and I havn't had any issues with this. But my models are usually not very complex.

    As far as constraints, no problems deleting offending constraints. Sometimes the smartest thing to do is avoid "auto" constraints(i.e. if you start a lie from another line or a point the start point of the new line will be constrained to this point(or line..) sometimes you want more flexibility.

    Also it is usually best to define constraints as geometric constraints and use as few fixed lengths and such as possible, this has been what I have changed most about my workflow since starting out. Not that it dosen't work, but it is often easier if you want to make changes later.

    Leave a comment:


  • gellfex
    replied
    Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
    I am curious. You say you had to start over? Fusion 360 also had constraints but you could change or eliminate them if they were a problem. And I found that it helped a lot to think the design through before starting, at least as much as possible.

    I guess I would want to avoid such problems. Why could you not just change those constraints in FreeCAD?
    It was 8 years ago so I don't remember the details, but I couldn't. The job was to copy an existing part, make some changes, and get them made. I did my design in Sketchup, which cannot export an STL, so I had to redraw it in FC. It was not a terribly complicated part, no compound curves, but a painful slog even using tutorials.

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  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    I am curious. You say you had to start over? Fusion 360 also had constraints but you could change or eliminate them if they were a problem. And I found that it helped a lot to think the design through before starting, at least as much as possible.

    I guess I would want to avoid such problems. Why could you not just change those constraints in FreeCAD?



    Originally posted by gellfex View Post

    This is the part I found so difficult. I had to draw something for CAM that was already designed but couldn't be converted, and it took me forever because some constraint errors make you basically start over! I haven't gone back.

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  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    I have worked with 2D CAD for decades, mostly FastCAD which I own. Over the past couple of years I got involved with Fusion 360 at a beginner level. Made a few models and some 3D prints with it. But then they changed their rules for free use. Grrrrrrrrr! I have also tinkered with some other programs, notably two or three for producing PCBs.

    What I am doing at present is attempting to replace the role that I had thought Fusion 360 would serve for me. I do not want to be trapped into a dead end where I have to pay a large amount for something that will be mostly for hobby use. This seems to be what the Fusion 360 people are trying to do and I do not like or respect such tactics. I want a parametric program because that seems to provide a great amount of flexibility in making changes at a later time. It also would allow multiple items to be made from the same model and I have a project where that is important. This was one of the things I really liked about Fusion 360.

    On a separate track, I am also looking into another program for doing PCBs. I haven't decided yet, but am looking at KICAD.

    So, I am far from my first go at CAD, but I was not that deep into 3D.



    Originally posted by BCRider View Post
    Paul, is this your first go at any sort of CAD or just that you're switching over to FreeCAD?
    Last edited by Paul Alciatore; 01-27-2022, 10:02 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • gellfex
    replied
    Originally posted by ed_h View Post
    FreeCAD has a heavy emphasis on constraints when doing sketches. Keeping the sketch fully constrained as it's built helps a lot. (Unless there is a specific reason to leave something unconstrained.)

    Ed
    This is the part I found so difficult. I had to draw something for CAM that was already designed but couldn't be converted, and it took me forever because some constraint errors make you basically start over! I haven't gone back.

    Leave a comment:


  • Paul Alciatore
    replied
    Yea, I saw a warning about that. Apparently there were some big changes around V 0.17. Thanks for the heads-up.



    Originally posted by Jon Heron View Post
    Make sure whatever video's or documents your watching/reading match the version of FC you are using, I got muddled up at the start by not paying attention to that.
    Good luck!
    Jon

    Leave a comment:


  • dalee100
    replied
    Hi,

    FreeCad does have a somewhat steep learning curve. I recommend MangoJelly, Adventures in Creation, and AllVisuals4U.

    MangoJelly and Adventures in Creation are a couple of Aussie youtubers. MangoJelly has some superb beginner videos that will literally take you from clueless to some advanced concepts in FreeCAD. His presentations are well paced and easy to follow. And he is creating new content right now. Adventures in Creation does have some good beginner stuff, but he often offers more intermediate stuff and is a bit spotty in new content. Perhaps the best part is they both use the latest stable release of FreeCAD, which is 0.19.2 I think. Lessons from both tend to 20 to 30 minutes in length.

    AllVisuals4U is a silent captioned 5 to 10 minutes videos and often based on the "beta" FreeCAD LinkStage3 release and can be more advanced. I believe the guy doing the AllVisuals4U is a FreeCAD developer.

    Be wary that a lot of tutorials floating around on youtube or written are based on depreciated releases. The three I listed are using the latest stable releases.

    Leave a comment:


  • ed_h
    replied
    FreeCAD has a heavy emphasis on constraints when doing sketches. Keeping the sketch fully constrained as it's built helps a lot. (Unless there is a specific reason to leave something unconstrained.)

    Ed

    Leave a comment:


  • Baz
    replied
    There has been a nice simple intro from a UK equivalent of an HSMer on the Model Engineer forum. Starts with an intro half way through another thread on 05 June 2019 Poster 'SilliyOld Duffer. (SOD).
    Then an example in its own thread
    Text and pictures are much easier to follow than youtube that moves too fast.
    Although I had used it a bit I hadn't for about a year so went back to this intro to get me going again.

    Leave a comment:


  • homestead
    replied
    Paul,
    I have used FreeCAD version.18 and find that using Workbench PART--not PART DESIGN-- is simpler and quite enough using just primitive shapes supplied. Suggest you get familiar with workbench Sketcher--really neat to revolve a sketch in PART. Most of my efforts were to send 3D files via EXPORT in .stl format for Cura slicer to make ready for a 3D printer. Good set of software for additive printing.
    Homestead

    Leave a comment:


  • small.planes
    replied
    There’s a series of articles in hackspace mag by Jo Concrete Dog. I think the first is in issue 25. His list of articles is here https://concretedog.blogspot.com/201...of-my.html?m=1
    free pdf here: https://hackspace.raspberrypi.com/issues/25

    Dave

    Leave a comment:


  • BCRider
    replied
    Paul, is this your first go at any sort of CAD or just that you're switching over to FreeCAD?

    Leave a comment:


  • JackD
    replied
    I have learned quite a bit from these on Youtube, he has several and he is very educational!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uEwHB7LciA

    Good Luck
    Jack

    Leave a comment:


  • Jon Heron
    replied
    Make sure whatever video's or documents your watching/reading match the version of FC you are using, I got muddled up at the start by not paying attention to that.
    Good luck!
    Jon

    Leave a comment:

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