Frustrations with FreeCAD

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Accessdenied
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:11 am

Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby Accessdenied » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:18 am

Hi, guys! Thanks for developing free CAD tool, just started to use it. I have good experience with Solidworks, but as I do not have money to buy it for my new project, I found FreeCad as alternative. However, I have many frustrations with FC at the moment. Basically, I am interested into Part Design module. Where in this forum is appropriate place to post my reflection about things to be implemented and improved to make FC better?
And do you know when 0.19 could be released?

Well, then I will try to post here. I am reading manuals, but seems that so many things could be done much easier. And defining dimensions from the planes or start point is not good way to work by my opinion. By the way here are my first meditation after 2 weeks using FreeCad:

1) when you click on face - it could select this face feature in tree

2) model faces are separated and based on features, but would be good if they could fuse into one face, because in the case of many features there are many different faces on one flat face at the same plane

3) changing feature often affects other features because of some links.. which should not be linked that way. Even if edge is all the same, but changed in dimension, it ruins all other connections to it. Not elastic editing, if model is very complex, then it is impossible to make any changes or delete features.. only way to define everything from XYZ planes, not from the new created faces.

4) many problems with fillets and chamfers.. perhaps need to make them in code like features, in other case any changes in model tree features ruins all chamfers and filets in one moment, solidworks somehow is very elastic in this case and with better matematics

5) sketch can easy lose it's plane if feature is deleted

6) no angles for chamfer , only 45

7) sketching with more complicated geometry often hides white sketch line behind other feature, need to use wireframe look then

8) champers cannot be made from surface to surface, often need to define something like 2,99, not 3.

9) why "create an edge linked to an external geometry" needed, why can't all edges be active to be used for dimensions like in solidworks

10) why there is a need for different dimension buttons, it could be easy if there is only one button for all dimensions.. click on one edge, then other and it gives angle; click on circle line, it makes diameter, it you take dimension outside the circle, but if you stay inside, then it gives radius value and so on

11) stl file saving quality property is needed .stl are used for printing, when model is complicated, then it is good to gave small rendering quality in FC, but need only quality setting during the export to .stl
Last edited by Accessdenied on Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Kunda1
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Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby Kunda1 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:13 pm

Mod Edit: Split off from an offtopic thread, retitled and moved to Help forum
Want to contribute back to FC? Checkout:
#lowhangingfruit | Use the Source, Luke. | How to Help FreeCAD | How to report FC bugs and features
fmluizao
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:16 pm

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby fmluizao » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:48 pm

openBrain
Posts: 3402
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Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby openBrain » Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:50 pm

Kunda1 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:13 pm
Mod Edit: Split off from an offtopic thread, retitled and moved to Help forum
Better in Open Discussion if we want to discuss FC flaws/limitations & way to improve ? ;)
JiPe38
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2020 12:41 pm

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby JiPe38 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm

Hi

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.
chrisb
Posts: 22428
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:14 am

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby chrisb » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:10 pm

Accessdenied wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:18 am
Where in this forum is appropriate place to post my reflection about things to be implemented and improved to make FC better?
To be honest: nowhere. It sounds a bit hard and of course is FreeCAD open for new ideas. But I have seen too many newbies here who didn't want to learn how to use FreeCAD, but rather to have a cheap clone of their favourite CAD system. Often attributes like "must have" or "... completely useless without ..." are used. It's neither of these as many successful projects from both hobbyists and professionals prove.

I would recommend to learn FreeCAD for a month or two with much effort and then come back and discuss your thoughts in the Open discussions forum.
And do you know when 0.19 could be released?
It's not yet known. A mere guess of mine: 2 months +/-1.
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DeepSOIC
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Location: Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby DeepSOIC » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:43 pm

JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
...[over9000letters]...
such a long post, but nothing specific pointed out that can be fixed or changed =(


JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
You feel like if five different developpers programmed such or such part of the workbench, each with his way of doing things. .... 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.
FreeCAD has no strict development plan, stuff is done when it's done, often in a way "better to have something inconvenient than nothing at all". Sorry, you have to live with it, I don't think it's going to change any time soon.
openBrain
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:38 pm

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby openBrain » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:08 pm

DeepSOIC wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:43 pm
JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
...[over9000letters]...
such a long post, but nothing specific pointed out that can be fixed or changed =(
The Latin way ! :lol: Sorry for that. ;)
JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
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".
But also when you complain you were asked to provide example so we can reproduce and hopefully improve, and ... you just did nothing. :?
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.
I know what you're talking about (Topological Naming Issue) and talking about bug is clearly inappropriate. This is just like driving an old car whose car stereo didn't provide AF and say 'yeah, this stereo has a bug' when you're roaming and have to re-tune manually. This is absolutely not bug, this is just a comfort feature that isn't implemented.
I need two to three times the time I would spend with Solidworks for the same task.
[...]
I found that the ergonomy of FC, compared to SW, is difficult to learn.
I self-taught both FC & SDWKS, and both softwares seem equal to me on this point.
Probably professional SDWKS users tend to forgot that :
  • They get a full bunch of training when they started using the software
  • They were not counting their spent time when they modeled their first parts with a very poor yield (because it's professional, time is paid anyway)
Add to this that the reference documentation is sometimes unclear, doesnt' cover all the options...
If all complaining people may spend 2 hours improving the docs, we would have a state-of-the-art one for sure. ;)
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.
Looking forward your contribution. :D
drmacro
Posts: 461
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:35 pm

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby drmacro » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:17 pm

JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
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.
I'm sorry, but I do not agree with this. Both 0.18 and 0.19 (both appimage and daily builds) work fine for me. And I assure you I don't do trivial models and I have the CAD credentials to make the assessment. Like any other software it is evolving, but, from the quote I show below "...many successful projects from both hobbyists and professionals prove."

and I agree with:
chrisb wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:10 pm
But I have seen too many newbies here who didn't want to learn how to use FreeCAD, but rather to have a cheap clone of their favourite CAD system. Often attributes like "must have" or "... completely useless without ..." are used. It's neither of these as many successful projects from both hobbyists and professionals prove.

I would recommend to learn FreeCAD for a month or two with much effort and then come back and discuss your thoughts in the Open discussions forum.
vocx
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:18 pm

Re: Frustrations with FreeCAD

Postby vocx » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:35 pm

JiPe38 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:34 pm
I came on the same path : some (little) experience with Solidworks, ...
This is the problem. Many new users of FreeCAD do not have CAD experience in general. They expect this to be easy, but a CAD system is a complex environment, it's not easy. You have to invest time to learn it. Many hours, weeks, and months go into developing those skills.

I had about 5 years experience with Sketchup and then Catia, and when I moved to FreeCAD, I was able to create something in two months. Not bad.
Last edited by vocx on Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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