Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

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Kunda1
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby Kunda1 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:47 pm

This workbench would be a game changer.
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zohozer
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby zohozer » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:47 am

I will post more ideeas soon. In two weeks time I will have vacation and more free time to think about the features of this workbench.

Meantime I do found something interesting in this forum:

Scriptable objects

It is very important to get the things right. To do this we can also look how other similar softwares are doing different aspects of the job and come-up with better solutions!
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iogui
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby iogui » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:56 am

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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby iogui » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:24 pm

Today I was searching on youtube for videos of people that was already using FreeCAD for woodworking and I've found an interesting video from a Makers channel that also do lots of woodworking projects and it was interesting to see their approach on choosing free or open source software to project things. Here is the link for this video that I'm talking about:
https://youtu.be/ojxa552elD0

But the thing that really caught my attention in this video (besides the fact that they are indeed using FreeCAD for modelling parts to 3D printing) is when the narrator comments that the problem on using FreeCAD for modeling projects on woodworking is that it is hard to assembly things together. And in my tests I too had come to that same conclusion since the a2plus approach on assembling things isn't good for furniture design because when you make a furniture, you put lots of simple parts together like wood pieces or board pieces (MDF, plywood, and so on) that are in general both too simple and non-reusable so it doesn't make sense to have one file for each of those multitudes of simple parts.
To put parts together in FreeCAD one have to be very specific by setting all it's coordinates manually or by using the "Transform" utility that is not very practical for this. Additionally in order to have a really parametric model by using the "Transform" utility is not possible and to set all the coordinates of a part with parametric info manually is laborious and this level of accuracy on a part coordinate is not really necessary.
From the usability point of view, for woodworkers to really enjoy using FreeCAD, I think we have to solve this problem and in order to do so I think that we should consider this for this furniture workbench. In fact, I think that that's one of the most important things we have to do to enable woodworkers to massively use FreeCAD.
What I'm proposing here is for us to develop in this workbench, some kind of assembly tool that better addresses the woodworker's need than the a2plus proposed solution.
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vocx
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby vocx » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am

iogui wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:24 pm
... you put lots of simple parts together like wood pieces or board pieces (MDF, plywood, and so on) that are in general both too simple and non-reusable so it doesn't make sense to have one file for each of those multitudes of simple parts.
Is this true? For mechanical parts there are usually lots of screws, bolts, nuts, washers, etc. These are relatively small components, but they are very often imported from libraries and reused. In the other threads you have mentioned that your wood pieces are often of regular dimensions, so I think they should be reusable enough.
What I'm proposing here is for us to develop in this workbench, some kind of assembly tool that better addresses the woodworker's need than the a2plus proposed solution.
Please no. There are already many assembly workbenches that creating yet another one will be diluting the effort. As far as I can tell, this is precisely what Assembly3 is supposed to address, namely doing assembly in the same file that holds the individual parts. This is possible in Catia, where the CATProduct holds the entire assembly, composed of CATParts (the individual objects). Accessing and modifying the individual parts is possible from within the assembly file (CATProduct), without needing to open each individual piece (CATPart) to do a modification.
To put parts together in FreeCAD one have to be very specific by setting all it's coordinates manually or by using the "Transform" utility that is not very practical for this. Additionally in order to have a really parametric model by using the "Transform" utility is not possible and to set all the coordinates of a part with parametric info manually is laborious and this level of accuracy on a part coordinate is not really necessary.
Perhaps you have missed them, but as external workbenches there are many workbenches that help you perform assemblying. Some, like A2plus and Assembly3, are true assembly workbenches, because they include a way to constrain features of one object to another.

Other workbenches, like Assembly4, Manipulator, or WorkFeature include tools to manage the positioning of the bodies in space, in order to quickly assemble the objects, without relying on a solver to calculate constraints. Maybe you should check all those options before trying to create yet another assembly solution that may only work well for your particular use case.

I don't know how complex your furniture is, but I don't think it could be much more complex than the examples that you can see in the user's showcase subforum. In there you can see complex assemblies that were produced many years ago, just by aligning the bodies together. It isn't the easiest job, but if you are dedicated enough you can create pretty good assemblies.
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby iogui » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:09 am

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
Is this true?
Yes it is!

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
For mechanical parts there are usually lots of screws, bolts, nuts, washers, etc. These are relatively small components, but they are very often imported from libraries and reused. In the other threads you have mentioned that your wood pieces are often of regular dimensions, so I think they should be reusable enough.
Most of the parts used in mechanical projects are standardized parts that are often used in different projects like some bolts that are used in one type of engine but also can be used in another kind of mechanical construction too. So it makes sense to have a library of this kind of standardized parts.

The vast majority of parts that a woodworker uses in a planned furniture project are specifically designed for that specific project. A cabinet built to fit in one specific space in your kitchen will be different than a cabinet built to fit in a space in my kitchen. In addition those constituting parts are so simple to model that it is easier to model a new one than to search for one that you've done before. In general they're just board peaces (a cuboid usually with a fixed thickness) an you just define it's width and length. Sometimes they can be a little more complex when you need some kind of groove or hole in it but even so they will be unique to this specific project. And each time you build a project you will have a lot of different small parts like that assembled to shape your model. A project of the furniture of a kitchen can easily have 300 or more different parts like that.
Is not that you don't use standardized parts like screws in a furniture project but in general they just doesn't matter. At least in the project they doesn't matter because they're something you will take care in the execution only. The project of a furniture serve some purposes:
- The woodworker will be able to have a visual representation to see if it will work as expected and if that's the case to change something before cutting a part in the wrong way. It avoids waste of time and material.
- The woodworker will be able to extract from the model the amount of material to be bought (how many boards to buy, how many hinges, etc.) and the cutting plan (how to cut the boards with minimum waste).
- To show to the customer how the ended job will look like. (You can display a rendered image with a better appearance than the haw 3D model)
So the project doesn't have to be perfect. But it have to serve those purposes.

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
There are already many assembly workbenches that creating yet another one will be diluting the effort. As far as I can tell, this is precisely what Assembly3 is supposed to address, namely doing assembly in the same file that holds the individual parts. This is possible in Catia, where the CATProduct holds the entire assembly, composed of CATParts (the individual objects). Accessing and modifying the individual parts is possible from within the assembly file (CATProduct), without needing to open each individual piece (CATPart) to do a modification.
This furniture workbench should not be another assembly workbench but it should offer tools to address the woodworker's needs and it seems that one of the biggest problems for one to design a furniture by using FreeCAD is indeed the difficulty to assemble things on it and as it seems it is really complex and time consuming without a proper tool. Honestly I didn't even have given Assembly3 a try mainly because (as I've understood it right) it only works in a fork. It is not simply a workbench and so I can't install it in my already installed FreeCAD.

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
Perhaps you have missed them, but as external workbenches there are many workbenches that help you perform assemblying.
Maybe but I would really like to have my parts constrained in a way that if I change something in one part, my model doesn't break.

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
Some, like A2plus and Assembly3, are true assembly workbenches, because they include a way to constrain features of one object to another.
That's nice but I've already discarded those because they just don't work with parts that aren't imported from another file. (that's really bad!)

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
Other workbenches, like Assembly4, Manipulator, or WorkFeature include tools to manage the positioning of the bodies in space, in order to quickly assemble the objects, without relying on a solver to calculate constraints. Maybe you should check all those options before trying to create yet another assembly solution that may only work well for your particular use case.
Yes! If that's a possibility, I think we should maybe give it a try. I've been trying extensively to use FreeCAD for modeling furniture and it has been a hard work. It is annoying to not be able to find ways to easy my tasks to achieve this in FreeCAD.

vocx wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am
I don't know how complex your furniture is, but I don't think it could be much more complex than the examples that you can see in the user's showcase subforum. In there you can see complex assemblies that were produced many years ago, just by aligning the bodies together. It isn't the easiest job, but if you are dedicated enough you can create pretty good assemblies.
I've been searching for furniture specific use cases in FreeCAD and I was able to find some indeed. But very simple ones. I'm building a model from all the planned furniture for my mom's kitchen and I've been able to achieve this with the tools FreeCAD already provides (with parametric dimensions and positions). But I will not lie. It has been a really tough task. So I believe it is possible. But I think it should be easier.
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby vocx » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:25 am

iogui wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:09 am
Yes! If that's a possibility, I think we should maybe give it a try. I've been trying extensively to use FreeCAD for modeling furniture and it has been a hard work. It is annoying to not be able to find ways to easy my tasks to achieve this in FreeCAD.
...

It has been a really tough task. So I believe it is possible. But I think it should be easier.
Assembling is the hardest thing to do in CAD, as you need to position different bodies in arbitrary space. How do you arrange all the independent coordinates of the bodies into a main coordinate system of the assembly? How do you keep the realationships? It is not trivial, otherwise it would have been done already!

Assembling is the single biggest feature requested by users, especially those working on mechanical design. But many FreeCAD users don't really need it as their own use of FreeCAD goes along other lines: simple body modelling, 3D printing, FEM analysis, architectural design, etc.
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby iogui » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:49 am

vocx wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:25 am
iogui wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:09 am
Yes! If that's a possibility, I think we should maybe give it a try. I've been trying extensively to use FreeCAD for modeling furniture and it has been a hard work. It is annoying to not be able to find ways to easy my tasks to achieve this in FreeCAD.
...

It has been a really tough task. So I believe it is possible. But I think it should be easier.
Assembling is the hardest thing to do in CAD, as you need to position different bodies in arbitrary space. How do you arrange all the independent coordinates of the bodies into a main coordinate system of the assembly? How do you keep the realationships? It is not trivial, otherwise it would have been done already!

Assembling is the single biggest feature requested by users, especially those working on mechanical design. But many FreeCAD users don't really need it as their own use of FreeCAD goes along other lines: simple body modelling, 3D printing, FEM analysis, architectural design, etc.
Sketchup has, from a user perspective, an easy and very intuitive way a woodworker can assembly his furniture model. The problem with their approach is just that it is not parametric. As this is one of the most used software for modeling furniture. I often compare with it when thinking in how a furniture workbench should be in order to call woodworkers attention. But I'm trying to think in how to do this in a "FreeCAD" own way.
I believe that here in Brazil, the two most used software for this purpose (modeling furniture) are sketchup and promob (a Brazialian software).
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vocx
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby vocx » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:09 am

iogui wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:49 am
Sketchup has, from a user perspective, an easy and very intuitive way a woodworker can assembly his furniture model.
That's a very subjective opinion. It may not be as intuitive for other people with a different background from your own.
The problem with their approach is just that it is not parametric. As this is one of the most used software for modeling furniture. I often compare with it when thinking in how a furniture workbench should be in order to call woodworkers attention. But I'm trying to think in how to do this in a "FreeCAD" own way.
That's nice, but it doesn't really have to be that way. FreeCAD is a general purpose CAD modeler, and therefore it has to be sufficiently general so as to serve a wide base of users. I bet there are more users in the world that would like an alternative to commercial CAD modellers like SolidWorks and Catia, for complex engineering assembly, than there are users that would like a tool only for woodworking.

There is nothing that says that we should copy another software, not with free software. In particular, FreeCAD can explore different approaches because we have freedom. LibreOffice doesn't have to be a clone of Microsoft Office; it can take some ideas from them, but it can also innovate a be markedly different.
I believe that here in Brazil, the two most used software for this purpose (modeling furniture) are sketchup and promob (a Brazialian software).
You can't derive anything from a small sample size. Whatever the Chinese use, is the most used software in the world. Should we copy that instead?
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Re: Cabinet furniture design tools workbench

Postby iogui » Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:40 am

vocx wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:09 am
That's nice, but it doesn't really have to be that way. FreeCAD is a general purpose CAD modeler, and therefore it has to be sufficiently general so as to serve a wide base of users. I bet there are more users in the world that would like an alternative to commercial CAD modellers like SolidWorks and Catia, for complex engineering assembly, than there are users that would like a tool only for woodworking.
Yes but as I've mentioned I was thinking in the perspective of this furniture workbench. Those users interested in complex engineering assembly will probably not be interested in this furniture workbench. They are not my target.

vocx wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 4:09 am
You can't derive anything from a small sample size. Whatever the Chinese use, is the most used software in the world. Should we copy that instead?
I'm not thinking in copying I'm thinking in references as a user experience. E.g. how is the user experience of a woodworker assembling with software x, y or w versus a woodworker assembling in FreeCAD? From a woodworker point of view, why to choose FreeCAD?
Again, I'm thinking in how to make this furniture workbench address the woodworker's needs. That's what a furniture workbench should do, isn't it?
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