Ok I think I have a way to do this in the body.
I have two parts of the method that are less elegant than I would like. Hoping someone can improve upon this method.
The goal was to put the part number p 4.2 on a conical section of a part with some cutaways in annoying position.. (I could have created/moved the cutaways to less annoying position, but I want the challenge with the text)
After making the part I made a shape string for the first letter P.
I drag and dropped this shape string into my body on the tree. Made the body origin visible. Then Clicked on the little button in Data property of my shape string, in the map map mode field. To set the attachment.
I attached to body z axis. Hoping this would help me out later. It didn't help later, so any axis or plane is probably ok.
Before closing the dialogue I used the attachment offset fields to get my P where I wanted it. I was hoping to use transform tool here, but it din't work. ( I closed map mode dialogue to try transform, then went back to map mode when transform failed)
Setting body transparency to 80% in the view property’s helped me see what I was doing. Then I scrolled with mouse wheel to place my p in the right spot. Almost as easy as transform tool
Close attachment dialogue
Copy shape string 3 times with ctrl + c and then ctrl+v 3 times.
Change shape string text in 001 from p to 4. 002 to . and 003 to 4
Here I was hoping I could just rotate shape strings around the body z axis. This would place each letter very nicely with easy to control spacing. But I could not get it to work. If someone can show me how to do this it would make text placement very fast. Maybe I need to use a datum line?
As I was unable to rotate around z axis, I placed each character by altering its xyz attachment. I found the map mode dialogue the easiest way to do this. Some adjustment of rotation was also required each time. This took a while, but with practice could be faster and more precise.
I also found this much easier after I made a sketch of a circle and used that as a line to follow with my text.
All up placing 3 more letters took me about 30-40 min. Not too bad. Could be a lot better.
Pad shape strings.
My placement was not perfect. So pads where uneven height from part surface. I fixed this by making pads too big. Then trimming down with groove. This hid the worst of the bad placement.
at this point you may want to adjust shape string placements a small amount just to get it looking more square etc.
The attached file shows my result. Its not bad but some room for improvement. I found this method much easier than any other way so far. and it's staying in PDN and dealing with the body system more. Probably the way things need to go....
I would like to learn how to rotate around z axis. Like Mario's rotate around point macro. So when first letter is placed. Only one rotation axis needs to change to space the letters out around the curve.
I would also like to make the letters all one thing at some point in the process, ideally before pad or cut is used.. or attach them to a thing.
So if I want to move them later, I can move them all at once and not have to place individually. I think I could do this with another body. Then boolean the 2 bodys to get a result. Wondering is there a container that can go in a body and allow things to be moved in a group? With Transform tool?
If the thing they attach to is a sketch or construction line or something. Placement could be even easier. Ideally I would attach the shape strings to sketch002 in the example file attached.
Note: As my text is small compared to my radius. I probably could have put 2 or more characters per shape string. And it would probably still work out.
Now who wants to show me how to helix text all the way around a ball?
I want to 3dprint a FREECAD IS THE BEST
golf ball. Where instead of dimples it has text pocketed in.