Electronics > PCB/EDA/CAD

Anyone had any luck with FreeCAD tutorials?

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LoveLaika:
So, KiCAD uses 3D models, and I thought it would be cool to build my own parts and import them. That way, I can build better footprints (especially when 3D models are not available for my parts). Thus, I was turned on to FreeCAD....., and the tool just makes me want to bash my head against a wall, twice for good measure.  |O |O

Honestly, the tutorials don't seem all that helpful. I try to follow the steps to perform an action, but the results don't match up with what the tutorial says should happen. (In this case, it's with constraints; they say to give it a value, but I can't edit constraints; it's all blocked out) It's quite a tedious and frustrating conundrum. As someone who's lost and just trying to properly learn FreeCAD from the ground up, what kind of tutorials do you follow for FreeCAD?

nali:
Here are some of the YT channels I bookmarked when getting to grips with FreeCAD

Learn FreeCAD (one of the founders, now sadly desceased)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_9HwDkwxllq5lFGkYBIH9g

Martham Engineering
https://www.youtube.com/user/MarthamEngineering

Joko Engineering
https://www.youtube.com/c/JokoEngineeringhelp
Introductoin to Sketcher:


Hint: One of the things kept catching me out was Navigation Styles, which determines which mouse actions do what e.g. click / shift-click etc. I think the default is "OpenInventor" which needs a key+click to do something whereas "CAD" seemed the more natural to me allowing just click / double click. I've no idea which is more common in the mech CAD world as I'm a complete newbie in that arena.

Bassman59:

--- Quote from: LoveLaika on January 13, 2022, 08:01:46 pm ---So, KiCAD uses 3D models, and I thought it would be cool to build my own parts and import them. That way, I can build better footprints (especially when 3D models are not available for my parts). Thus, I was turned on to FreeCAD....., and the tool just makes me want to bash my head against a wall, twice for good measure.  |O |O

Honestly, the tutorials don't seem all that helpful. I try to follow the steps to perform an action, but the results don't match up with what the tutorial says should happen. (In this case, it's with constraints; they say to give it a value, but I can't edit constraints; it's all blocked out) It's quite a tedious and frustrating conundrum. As someone who's lost and just trying to properly learn FreeCAD from the ground up, what kind of tutorials do you follow for FreeCAD?

--- End quote ---

FreeCAD is remarkably user hostile.

I use it only with the KicadStepUp thing to ensure that 3D models are mated with Kicad footprints properly. This feature is fully integrated with FreeCAD though you might have to download it through the program's plug-in feature. All I do is with the StepUp import the footprint and then the 3D model, and with the controls in the little StepUp panel I rotate and move the model until it lines up with the footprint. Remember to make sure that the STEP model is actually selected in the list of items in the design before doing so. Then when you're done, export the 3D model to wherever you keep your parts models, and then back in Kicad edit the footprint to point to the model.

FreeCAD is pretty terrible on an iMac 5k display. The square to rotate the display is so small that you can never get the mouse to hit it, and there's no way to adjust its size.

Honestly, skip FreeCAD and use Fusion360.

nali:
Yeah it's not great - Like you I mainly use it for StepUp but I've started to do a bit of mech work with it. The hardest part for me was getting to grips with the Sketcher and learning the terminology after that it's well, OK.

Doesn't Fusion store files online rather than locally? Not sure I'd like that. Also free-for-hobby-use licensing is OK - that is until Autodesk decide to change their licensing model and decide it's not worth their while. I got bitten by that many years ago with Eagle PCB (long before they bought it)... Cadsoft had a student/hobby version which I bought in good faith - proper package with disks manuals etc. They then issued an online update of the software and the updated version suddenly no longer supported my licence. It's at that point I thought fuck 'em and switched to KiCAD.

JohanH:
DO NOT watch OLD FreeCAD tutorials on youtube. You will get some concepts totally wrong. FreeCAD has changed a lot in the latest versions and got rid of some of the stupidity, but it is still possible to do it in the old way.

I did it the wrong way and watched some older tutorial. Now I can't create stable models.  |O

Instead, read the documentation and watch the tutorials linked from FreeCAD's own web page and pay attention to which version you are using. I highly recommend using latest version available. FreeCAD is not horrible and there is a chance it will get a lot better in upcoming versions. But they have a challenge with documentation.

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