Hey everyone, I am trying to investigate making a module for freecad that does a few things associated with a new digital fabrication tool I am involved with developing.
I have been investigating Fusion 360 but would greatly prefer to put the development time and effort into using open source software. The thing I I have never been able to actually use Freecad for modelling, due to lack of sophistication and bugs. I could never even get the path workbench working. That's why I spent so much time with fusion, and investigating it's api to do what I need to do.
I need to : Import, analyze and divide the model into sections that only contain surfaces that can be reached by a selection of end mills. They just have to be thin enough, but no thinner than necessary for the tool to reach. I have a lot of ideas on how to do this by creating the relevant point arrays and vectors and things, but it needs work. There are some details I am skipping here.
Then the model surfaces and solids needs to be sliced with various planes.
Then, probably the hardest part, I need to essentially implement a system that does fully automatic 3d tool path generation to produce the relevant surfaces, with rest milling. There are too many layers to program manually. Rest milling is a process where basically you do as much as you can with the largest tool in your set, then move to the smaller tool, and so on, until you have used all the tools. It uses the larger tools to remove material wherever they can reach. This is simpler than it sounds, I believe. The industry has not done it more because they have different priorities than because it is so hard. There are a lot of details that need to be dealt with , though.
I fear the documentation and state of development re features and bugs may not be enough in FreeCAD. For fusion, it is pretty good as far as I have been able to tell. For freecad I have already run aground; for fusion, I can go read up on the API right now and proceed with understanding and doing things, but freecad seems to have no such well written introductions. It also remains a mystery to me why the path workbench seems so non functional, given the amount of work that seems to have gone into it; I can't have the same thing happen with my project.
Is FreeCAD ready for this or should I submit to autodesk?