I came on the same path : some (little) experience with Solidworks, need something equivalent for a personnal design. Having the methodology for designing parametric 3d parts and assemblies on SW, I thought it would be easy to learn FC. Well, it proved definitely not !
Having read on forums that people had some issues with PartDesign, I tried, using Draft WB, then Part. Useless to make parametric designs. So I tried to use PartDesign, 0.18. Having the discipline to use the spreadsheet, name my sketches, bodies, parts, I ran into a lot of problems. It seems that when I designed in a linear fashion, never erasing or never displacing anything in the model tree, naming nothing, it can be OK. But as soon as Iintroduced some modifications in the tree, things went wrong. I got some advice not to attempt to pass over these bugs, but save regularly my work, and rebuild from scratch (or from just copies of sketches), without modification, once the building procedure was set. Of course this generated, as you say, a lot of frustration.
Hoping some help, in my native language forum, just increased the frustration. I got some nasty remarks, especially from a few mates of this forum, kind of "there is no bad tool but just bad workers" or "go back to Solidworks". Finally, digging into this forum's threads, I found a discussion proving that PartDesign 0.18 was bugged, 0.19 a little better and that experts were waiting the replacement of a layer of software (beetween the 3D kernel and the GUI if I understood correctly), in order to get something really usable.
Since then I downloaded and tried the 0.19 version. It makes things better. Still some problems, but globally usable. I'm trying now to use it for my project. I estimate that, after using FC nearly full time since one month, I need two to three times the time I would spend with Solidworks for the same task.
Apart these problems, which could be solved in a 0.20 or whatsover version and are normal, given the state of development of the overall application and especially the PartDesign workbench, I found that the ergonomy of FC, compared to SW, is difficult to learn. I analyse this as a weakness of the initial guidelines given to the developers. In many case you have to find if the correct GUI sequence, choosing the correct order among clicking a button, choosing in a list, clicking in the 3D view, clicking in the model tree... You feel like if five different developpers programmed such or such part of the workbench, each with his way of doing things. Some operations can be performed with two different sequences, if not more. All this makes it impossible to learn simple rules. Imagine if your simple handheld calculator behaved sometimes like a Casio and sometimes like a HP... this is the feeling that I have with FC.
Add to this that the reference documentation is sometimes unclear, doesnt' cover all the options... You find forums, youtube videos, sometimes of good quality but covering only a part of the subject and often built on a model kind of "follow my sequence for doing this thing". Browsing into all this can be very time consuming.
I understsand that FC is free, it's developped by people on their leisure time, they are not paid for that, and so on. I decided to live with these frustrations in keeping FC for my project. But if it was in a professionnal context, or if the manager of a design company asked me if FC could be a good choice for his engineers, in a context where parametric design is required, I would definitely say "no, not yet, you have to wait some month, if not years".
I don't write this to bash or discourage the developpers and all the people involved in the FC project. But I think that there is now big efforts to deploy in order to push this software into the "usability" and "user friendlyness" direction. I know that is rarely the motivation for people who give their time in such software development projects and that, as using correctly constraints in a geometry sketch, constraints given to software developpers can be frustrating to cope with.
I hope this will help.
Last edited by JiPe38
on Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.