Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Post here for help on using FreeCAD's graphical user interface (GUI).
Forum rules
and Helpful information
IMPORTANT: Please click here and read this first, before asking for help

Also, be nice to others! Read the FreeCAD code of conduct!
ibex
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:13 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby ibex » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:00 am

I am a day 1 user of FreeCAD who is converting over from Sketchup as I can't find a really satisfactory method of producing the files for CNC projects from SketchUp. So before I go down the path of learning FreeCAD in detail I'd like to confirm that it will produce the key output that I'm looking for.

The CNC lab that I plan on using for my design wants the output to be produced in .dxf or .dwg file (which I think FreeCAD can do) and it wants the cutting information split out and grouped into appropriately named layers. eg POCKET 4mm deep, holes 4mm dia, holes 6mm dia, chamfer 45deg 5mm deep

My questions are:
1. Can anyone confirm that I can produce a .dxf file and are there any special tricks needed?
2. Can I group individual features (cutting requirements) into discrete named layers, and
3. What is the FreeCAD equivalent of layers?

I plan on producing some test files for the CNC lab before I redo my design in FreeCAD.

Thanks in anticipation for the help anyone can give me.
User avatar
Roy_043
Posts: 2042
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:28 pm

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby Roy_043 » Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:22 am

You may need to experiment with the DXF export preferences, but what you want is possible.

Please install V0.19.

In the preferences https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Import_Expo ... rences#DXF:
Check the "Use legacy python exporter" checkbox.
Check the "Use layers" checkbox (also has an effect on exports).

Info about layers: Draft_Layer.

FreeCAD is not the ideal tool if you only want to create DXF files. In that case you should perhaps look at LibreCAD.
drmacro
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:35 pm

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby drmacro » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am

Would it not be expedient to use the FreeCAD Path workbench to create cnc files directly?
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Spock: "...His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking."

My beginners, written treatise: Learning FreeCAD
ibex
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:13 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby ibex » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:15 pm

Roy_043 wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 10:22 am
Info about layers: Draft_Layer.


FreeCAD is not the ideal tool if you only want to create DXF files. In that case you should perhaps look at LibreCAD.
Thanks I'll read up on layers.

If it can do what I want to generate the DXF files for CNC then I plan to replace SketchUp with FreeCAD for all of my furniture modelling.

I'll also have a look at LibreCAD.
ibex
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2020 7:13 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby ibex » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:18 pm

drmacro wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am
Would it not be expedient to use the FreeCAD Path workbench to create cnc files directly?
I don't know anything about the path workbench so I'll have a look at that. I suspect that the CNC lab probably want more control over that final step but I will talk to them about it.
drmacro
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:35 pm

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby drmacro » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:37 pm

ibex wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:18 pm
drmacro wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am
Would it not be expedient to use the FreeCAD Path workbench to create cnc files directly?
I don't know anything about the path workbench so I'll have a look at that. I suspect that the CNC lab probably want more control over that final step but I will talk to them about it.
They should be able to take a gcode file and tweak it to their satisfaction.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Spock: "...His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking."

My beginners, written treatise: Learning FreeCAD
GeneFC
Posts: 1654
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:36 pm
Location: Punta Gorda, FL

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby GeneFC » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:46 pm

If the shop wants a dxf or dwg file, then they want the model, not a g-code file.

If they can use a g-code file the Path WB should work. If they need a model file the Path WB is irrelevant.

Gene
drmacro
Posts: 1961
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:35 pm

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby drmacro » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:02 pm

GeneFC wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:46 pm
If the shop wants a dxf or dwg file, then they want the model, not a g-code file.

If they can use a g-code file the Path WB should work. If they need a model file the Path WB is irrelevant.

Gene
Well...yeah mr. obvious. ;)

Many shops don't even consider gcode because the CAD guys typically can't gcode. So they don't ask. And, they won't want speeds and feeds etc. from you. They would want to add that based on their tooling and capabilities.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Spock: "...His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking."

My beginners, written treatise: Learning FreeCAD
TomB19
Posts: 161
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 4:58 am

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby TomB19 » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:41 pm

ibex wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:18 pm
I don't know anything about the path workbench so I'll have a look at that. I suspect that the CNC lab probably want more control over that final step but I will talk to them about it.
I love FreeCAD but I haven't made that step yet, either. To be honest, I haven't played with path at all.

CAM is something that, once you have a solution that works, you don't mess with it.

At some point, I will look at switching entirely to FreeCAD but it's not something you do on a whim.
GeneFC
Posts: 1654
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2016 3:36 pm
Location: Punta Gorda, FL

Re: Confirmation of capabilities of FreeCAD

Postby GeneFC » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:41 am

drmacro wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:02 pm
Many shops don't even consider gcode because the CAD guys typically can't gcode. So they don't ask. And, they won't want speeds and feeds etc. from you. They would want to add that based on their tooling and capabilities.
The chances that an arbitrary shop could accept arbitrary FreeCAD Path WB g-code from a user with zero g-code experience are vanishingly small. :lol:

Gene