it's my first post on this forums. It's also my first "project" in Freecad that was finished and used in practice. Housing contains two pieces, modelled as two bodies in Part Designer. Front with flexible "keys" to push switches on PCB, and back with "eyes" to mount on wall. Both parts are screwed together with four small screws that keep PCB between. It was printed on Prusa MK3S printer and required only threading by hand. I made two completes. Will post a photo as soon as I connect everything together.
Thermostat itself looks lie this:
Now I live in Antarctic Station. In windy days I have some free time and decided to finally learn to use FC. In past 6 years I tried to do it, but each time I ended by moving back to modelling in Inventor.
Some parts of work done on my laptop with FreeCAD 0.18 AppImage (thaaaanks for appimage version) running on Linux Mint 19.3. Some other on colleague's PC with Win 10 and FreeCAD 0.18, just to find differences, if any. Both FC instances work the same way, without crashes. Only one issue - something hen I opened the project file back on Linux, after making key labels on Windows machine I had to delete last fer pads with their sketches and remake them.
But finally I have two shiny enclosures made from orange and red plastic.
Am I doing everything wrong? Didn't find any method or even a tip in user's documentation or in tutorials. What was most difficult for me:
1. Sketcher tool:
- rectangle with rounded corners had to be drawn manually, constraining fewteen things by hand, instead of just picking start and end corners.
- Copying "keys" shapes. They are made by cutting narrow pockets in front wall. First one (SET) Was drawn with polyline (upper half), then copied with mirror to make this symmetrical shape. I had to reconstrain everything in copied part of drawing. Second one (Minus) was done by "Create symmetric geometry" from first one. But why? Why? Why there only the lines were copied, without constrains (only few, probably randomly chosen, constrains left)? It's not a bug/lack, it's a feature, I said to myself I reconstrained everything one more time. With third key (Plus) I was close to to abandon the idea of making this housing on computer ("Maaaan, it takes 10x time that it's worth. Just get some plastic box laying around, cut it a bit with file and you are ready"). I found no way to just rotate copied fragment of drawing. There were two options. One was to redraw all the shape "vertically", second was to "create symmetric geometry" reflected by line of 45* angle. Both are bad and stupid, but I haven't found any reasonable alternative for them. So finally the middle key was redrawn. If I had to make 7 keys in different places and by different angles, I would turn off the computer.
-Dimensions. Every dimension had to be typed manually. Ok, I can constrain few lines with "equal" lenght then define lenght for only one of them, but I can't give them a dimension by just derive the value/size of eg. radius of existing circle.
-If I typed some equation in "dimension" textbox, only the resulting value was saved to drawing. No way to make some rectangular hole just "2.5 times bigger than other existing dimension in project, eg than wall's height".
-didn't find a way/tool to clone some closed shape in different size
2. Fillets and chamfers:
-no option to chamfer/filet an internal corner, to make something similar to "corner weld".
-no option to make 1mm chamfer on egde of 1mm thick wall. Had to make 0.99mm. No option to chamfer through two pads.
I've designed this housing on paper and only modelled in FC. All my previous FC attempts always ended in moving back to Inventor(TM) because of lack of time for hand operations (or for learning curve). Althrough I kept my fingers crossed for FC since I saw it first time in 2013. For Inventor user, FC looks like a big, fuel efficient, sophisticated excavator which can automatically search for coal, but requires some measurements and hand shovelling before each small movement of backhoe
Great respect fot all you FC team for developing such a big tool as a hobby project. And for all you users for designing your complicated projects and sharing solutions for many things.