Workflow questions for 3D printing

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Bayesian
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Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:49 pm

Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby Bayesian » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm

I'm fairly new to FreeCAD, and I am using it to model parts to print on an FDM printer. I have a few questions about how to organize documents and parts.

So far I have used the spreadsheet feature to define parameters. This however makes it a bit awkward because I have to prefix the name with the spreadsheet name, and the workflow seems like it's not what the UI intended. I enter the name of the variable in one column, then the value in the next, right-click on properties, switch a tab and then enter the name again. Is there a better way?

When I have multiple parts in one document, it quickly gets confusing what to hide and show. I figure I could spread the parts to individual documents. Or is there a better way to manage multiple parts?

When I want to export the file to stl, I have to specify the filename and type each time. I figured out how to do this with a python script, but there is no simpler way, right?
kisolre
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby kisolre » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:45 pm

Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm
When I want to export the file to stl, I have to specify the filename and type each time
Extension/file type on export is usually remembered. Which version do you use that does not remember that? Automatic naming is almost impossible. Should it be the current solid name? Or the name of the body? What if you selected multiple solids?
Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm
it a bit awkward because I have to prefix the name with the spreadsheet name, and the workflow seems like it's not what the UI intended
There is prety good autocompletion when entering expressions so if you name you objects thinking about the future usage this will be fast. For example name your spreadsheet "Dimensions". Nothing starts with "D" so entering just that will suggest the spreadsheet name.
Name if the variables could descriptive - "Horizontal distance between car axles" and the alias could be shorted to carHorDist. What automation will cover most cases?
chrisb
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby chrisb » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:45 pm

I remember there are macros to ease the definition of aliases. Have a look at the addons.

And it would make a useful macro to create the stl filename from the label of the selected object.
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HarryGeier
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby HarryGeier » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:05 am

Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm

So far I have used the spreadsheet feature to define parameters. This however makes it a bit awkward because I have to prefix the name with the spreadsheet name, and the workflow seems like it's not what the UI intended. I enter the name of the variable in one column, then the value in the next, right-click on properties, switch a tab and then enter the name again. Is there a better way?
This and other macro´s can help with spreadsheet work.
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HarryGeier
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby HarryGeier » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:12 am

Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm
When I want to export the file to stl, I have to specify the filename and type each time. I figured out how to do this with a python script, but there is no simpler way, right?
I made a script that is linked to an icon. I can select one or more objects , click the button and all are converted to stl meshed. I was too lazy yet to include automatic export, but i guess that can be done too. When i export them with context menu, they are named as the feature/object in the tree.

If you like, i can upload my script later her..it´s fairly simple..
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chrisb
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby chrisb » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:12 am

Thanks for the pointer to Alias Manager
HarryGeier wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:12 am
If you like, i can upload my script later her..it´s fairly simple..
Of course we like to see it.
Bayesian
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby Bayesian » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:37 pm

Thank you for your help!

The version I'm using mostly is Freecad 0.18.3.

To be more precise: I use the File->Export dialog and then I have to select stl and change the name each time.
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Hannu
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby Hannu » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:05 pm

kisolre wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:45 pm
Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm
When I want to export the file to stl, I have to specify the filename and type each time
Extension/file type on export is usually remembered. Which version do you use that does not remember that? Automatic naming is almost impossible. Should it be the current solid name? Or the name of the body? What if you selected multiple solids?
Bayesian wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:59 pm
it a bit awkward because I have to prefix the name with the spreadsheet name, and the workflow seems like it's not what the UI intended
My main use of FC has so far been directly paired with using an FDM printer. So saving STL files frequently...
Never seen the STL file type preselected, the last used folder is remembered while FreeCAD is running; restart and you will need to find that folder again...

Would really appreciate to not have to do the same thing over and over again.

OS: Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS
Word size of OS: 64-bit
Word size of FreeCAD: 64-bit
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Branch: releases/FreeCAD-0-18
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Python version: 2.7.12
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/Hannu
kisolre
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby kisolre » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:39 pm

Hannu wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:05 pm
Never seen the STL file type preselected, the last used folder is remembered while FreeCAD is running;
Not sure if windows or 0.19 but here last exported file type is remembered and default folder after opening a file is its folder.
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OS: Windows 8.1
Word size of OS: 64-bit
Word size of FreeCAD: 64-bit
Version: 0.19.17505 (Git)
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Bayesian
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Re: Workflow questions for 3D printing

Postby Bayesian » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:26 pm

I've looked at SpreadsheetTools and AliasManager and that is certainly a step in the right direction.

I'm using Freecad on Ubuntu, so the OS may be the factor here.

Another question: How do people manage projects with multiple parts? It seems to be easiest to have only one part per Document, otherwise it will get rather complicated to show/hide whatever it is I am working on in the moment. Is it possible to have spreadsheets that are shared among multiple documents?

Is anyone using one of the various Assembly Workbenches?