Sketcher development - grand plans?

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Sketcher development - grand plans?

Postby julianfoad » Fri May 08, 2015 10:36 am

Hi. Does anyone have a vision for the future of Sketcher?

I've started using FreeCAD, especially Sketcher, for drawing some rooms in my house. It's awesome to be able to do this. So, big thanks to all the developers for creating this.

I'm wondering what we should be aiming for in terms of difficult, big developments towards "higher level" usability. One of the biggest is how best to extend constraint modelling to directly apply to 3D models. I have several ideas for various intermediate-level improvements. One idea is 'macro' constraints. For example, I often want this line to be parallel to that one, the same length, and 80 mm away, like the opposite side of a rectangle. I want to be able to define a 'macro' constraint that groups the (four?) necessary primitive constraints together, so I can apply it and enter the separation distance all in one go, and have it displayed as a single constraint indication, and edit it as a single unit. I can also think of plenty of smaller, incremental improvements to the user interface and so on, which I should discuss in another topic.

I looked around on the Web and couldn't find any mention of plans for Sketcher. So, before I start describing or thinking further about my ideas, I want to ask if anyone is currently working on Sketcher or planning to do so? Or does anyone have an idea what the ultimate constraint-geometry user interface might look like, if we look a few years into the future?

(Searching online for other constraint-based CAD systems, I didn't find anything a whole step more advanced. BRL-CAD, AutoCAD and HeeksCAD all seem to have added constraint geometry relatively recently and at basically the same level as in Sketcher, from what I could find without actually trying to use them.)

I should say, while I would definitely enjoy helping with this development, I don't know if I'll ever find much time to do so, but I think discussing some medium term and longer term plans must surely make it more likely to happen.

- Julian
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Re: Sketcher development - grand plans?

Postby DeepSOIC » Fri May 08, 2015 11:44 am

The plans are, afaik:
* add more geometry primitives: parabola, hyperbola, splines.
* add more constraints (e.g. ratio, arc length)
* measurement constraints and disabling/enabling of constraints. Possibly, constraints on constraint values.
* enhancements of display (e.g., being able to hide constraints to unclutter the screen)
* grouping geometry to form movable/rotatable rigid structures
Remember, I'm just a contributor, so I might have too much of my own opinion in this list. Anyway, I like your idea of constraint grouping.
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Re: Sketcher development - grand plans?

Postby TT-RS » Fri May 08, 2015 2:01 pm

As I wrote here before Sketcher needs some more attention (as it is one of the most important WBs) and some polish.

Sketcher have sometimes problems, sometimes "dramatic" - even with relatively not complicated geometry.
Sketcher sometimes can freeze FreeCAD for seconds or even forever!

Trim functions is the worst, sometimes it does not work, sometimes gives results which are not expected.

Apart from some issues/problems to be corrected it should have:
- offset function - most important I think
- some more constraints
- while dimensioning it would be nice to have edit box with possibility to add parameter name, its value and/or expression. Similary to Siemens NX (formerly Unigraphics).
- maybe some others as well - here look for DEEPsoic entry.

Nice to have:
- "auto mirroring" function (easy to implement) - as in Solidworks.
- auto "view to fit" function in sketcher for larger sketches - also "stealed" from Solidworks (new to SW in 2014 - I think).
- auto dimensioning - adding automatically dimensions to all new lines, curves and other elements
Of course - everything should be optional/ initiated from menu or pop-up menu (of course you may use it or leave off).