So here goes a resume of what we've been doing at Libre Graphics Meeting.
The event was really excellent, I was really surprised that FreeCAD was really well known already among all those people from the graphical world, many begin to look at 3D printing too, and many were very curious to know more about it. We had a very nice time, the event is quite small (about a hundred people I think) so you get to know everybody, and can have deep and interesting discussions, which don't happen that easily in bigger events. I really recommend you all to go to a next edition when it's close to your city.
We watched a couple of talks ( See reports on http://libregraphicsmeeting.org/2016/
), did a couple of workshops, but what we did most is sit in the lobby, open the computers, and talk about FreeCAD with everybody around
We also had a couple of ales of course, which couldn't be otherwise when you hang around with a beer specialist like rockn
My talk went well too, although as rockn says it, 20 minutes is definitely too short for FreeCAD
The slides are at http://yorik.uncreated.net/archive/talk ... GM2016.pdf
and it has been recorded, the video should be available on the LGM site later on.
Below is a list of some of the ideas we discussed, I think some need a bit of further thinking, but most of them could develop into something nice:
Saving a 3D file as a bitmap image
: This is a project by Phil Langley who was there and with who we had a LOT of talk. ( https://github.com/phiLangley/openPHD/t ... aphics2015
). Basically his idea is to save a 3D mesh into a bitmap file. This allows for a number of interesting possibilities like very high compression levels, possibility to send a model via twitter, and other things like that, but, most important for us, a wide range of image-based comparisons between two files, and therefore very powerful diffing possibilities. Check his presentation in the link above. Bernd and Phil played a bit with that already, this needs much more work of course, but it's a really interesting idea we definitely need to play with
: We have several tube-related connection tools in the Part WB, but nothing to create the tube itself? It seems we absolutely need one!
DXF / SVG patterns
: We had some chats with inkscape people (not very happy that I said that inkscape couldn't handle very big files in my talk!
) At the end we did a bit of debugging, and it looks like the main culprit are texts. But inkscape people seem to be working on improving rendering speed, and seem definitely keen on making inkscape able to work well with technical drawing. In latest versions there is now a nice dimensionning tool. We decided I need to work more on the SVG pattern generation module I started in the drawing WB, and implement all the basic DXF builtin patterns (there are not many, about 30 I think).
IFC attributes representation
: With bernd and rockn we talked a lot about that. IFC has a very complex system to store properties into objects, with predefined property sets, possibility to create custom sets, etc. These properties are really what makes an IFC model a true, complex BIM structure. We need to think of a good data structure to handle these in FreeCAD.
: This raised another question, IFC has a couple of instruments that don't touch the geometry of an object, but can affect it anyway. This is the case of wall layers, the geometry of the wall is still stored as one, big, full wall, but layers can be defined (ex: 1cm plaster + 14cm brick + 6cm insulation) that could actually affect the geometry (we would need to "slice" our wall into different components). The question then becomes, should we store the sliced wall (the freecad way, the geometry is right) or store the full wall, and, like IFC, only store information about the different layers. To be discussed further in the appropriate thread: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=15080
Clipping plane (restore old manipulator)
: Now the clipping plane is controlled by a task dialog, but before that, there was a handy graphical manipulator to do that. As far as I have looked, it should be possible to have both (the manipulator can be moved and rotated instead of the clipping plane itself)
Renaming FreeCAD to ExpensiveCAD
: Dennis Debel did a really awesome talk about hiding 3D-printable guns inside other 3D-printed objects or even images (as an artistic demonstration of how crazy the world is of course) and then gave this excellent suggestion
arguing that when people see "free" in the name they immediately throw it away
Use section planes in FEM
: This would be a handy way to get edges where you need in a FEM shell.
Solver for cutting panels
: If we work further on the Arch Panel object, wikihouse-like stuff, and closing the gap between Arch and Path, we will really need a solver that can arrange different shapes to be cut on a piece of material, to minimize losses. To be investigated...
Make SVG flattened output respect the current view
: When using the Export -> Flattened SVG option, it should respect the current view instead of only exporting the top view.
Make active groups and pages
: The new Part Design Next, of which rockn did a brilliant demo there, has many cool new things to be used elsewhere, among them the ability to mark some objects as "active" (which appear so in the tree view. This mechanism could be used for many other things, for example Drawing pages or groups.
Reorganize and discuss keyboard shortcuts
: The state of keyboard shortcuts is bad: Many duplicates, some one-key and others two-keys, some wrongly documented, etc. We need a plan. We thought maybe using a first letter of each workbench could be a good idea (D,M for Draft Move, F,A for Fem Analysis, etc). This would prevent any duplicates, each workbench being responsible about what happens inside its first letter, etc... To be discussed further.
Support different FEM solvers
: There are many more solvers available and coming
Look at tinkerCAD
: TinkerCAD has a really nice user interface. We should have a better look at it and maybe grab some ideas we could use.
Hope you'll find this interesting, bernd and rockn if I forgot something important, which is likely, please add!