Parts Repository

Have some feature requests, feedback, cool stuff to share, or want to know where FreeCAD is going? This is the place.
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andykirby
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Parts Repository

Postby andykirby » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:28 am

Guys

First and most importantly freecad is great and I am impressed with the work that has been put into it.

I have been watching freecad for a lot of years whilst taking part in the Reprap project and been rooting for freecad to suceed.

So far I use Openscad but have past experience of other commercial 3D CAD packages. This is ok for code monkeys like myself but OpenSCAD leaves the more hands on 3D visualisers and mechanicaly oriented quite cold. People who are used to programming using variables etc can find OpenSCAD's variable free scripting a challenge.

So we have been on the lookout for an open source more visualy oriented contender for quite some time. I am starting to use 0.14 from the ppa and the useability and features have come a long way. Enough perhaps that I can safely start and recomend FreeCAD as an answer to the perennial question of "What do I create my parts and projects with".

Within the local Hardware Hacking group I facilitate there is a real need for such a package and it is perhpas time for us to start running tutorial sessions and bringing in new users. Hanging our hat on FreeCAD is very much an option.

It is almost there for me personnaly but lacks an essential basic or four for the above target audience:-

The Assembly module (Yup I have skimmed the relevant forum section and it looks like the first cut is imminent) is an essential. Building 3D printers and other Robots and complex machines, the ability to assemble parts and check them for clearences etc is almost indispensible. OpenSCAD can not do this as yet. Being able to offer up a projects parts and check them quickly for fit, function and clearence is very impotant to us as it takes a while to print objects. Printing parts that dont fit, function and clear, results in wasted feedstock and time, both are very precious commodities to a resource strapped hardware hacker. Looking forward to this in Freecad big time.

Being able to assemble is excellent and massively important, so also is being able to do exploded assemblys/pictures/diagrams. This is at it's most important when writing documentation and manuals to help other group members and OSHW folk reproduce your builds for themselves.

Bill of Materials (BOM) generation is irrelevant when producing single parts only, but becomes more so when buidling up complex machinery where a single part type may be used multiple times. Having to work through a build and count them is time consuming and error prone. Being able to generate a parts list that show how many times a part has been used though from a project would be pretty cool.

Is there an open source repository or library of common components that users can draw from and contriute to. ie one part per file. Something that covers the common parts and fixings that take up a disproportionate amount of building up projects, Things like the M8 Nut, M5x20 Machine screw, M10x30 Bolt etc etc etc... The sorts of very common things that everyone has to model a whole bunch of the first time they need to use it.


All the above are something of a wish list, not a criticism of their absence.

I would like to run some tutorials within the local hardware hacking group and encourage members to model standard parts to be contributed towards a parts repository/library. Both for their own benefit and as a contribution towards the forwards progress of freecad. Are there any plans or thoughts on facilitating this under the freecad umbrella ??

Again though I have to itterate, Freecad is excellent and thank you, to the developers who have made it so and are intending to make it more so.

Andy Kirby
triplus
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Joined: Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:45 pm

Re: Parts Repository

Postby triplus » Fri Aug 02, 2013 3:57 pm

Yes there actually is something that we might call "parts repository" currently in the making:

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4205&start=0
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NormandC
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby NormandC » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:00 pm

Welcome here Andy.
andykirby wrote:So far I use Openscad but have past experience of other commercial 3D CAD packages. This is ok for code monkeys like myself but OpenSCAD leaves the more hands on 3D visualisers and mechanicaly oriented quite cold.
Ain't that the truth!!! :D

To be blunt I've been literally appalled at the entrenched popularity of OpenSCAD in the RepRap community. It makes it impossibly hard for people like me to review/analyze printer designs with the intent of getting inspiration for my own use. I have an AO-100 (MendelMax 1.0/1.5 variant formerly sold by Lulzbot) that I want to modify. I've been looking at the i3 and Mendel90 designs.

Fortunately a couple of guys here have programmed an OpenSCAD module which allows import of .scad files directly into FreeCAD and generate a CSG tree. CSG is too primitive for my taste as I am used to sketch-based parametric modeling, but it's better than nothing. The OpenSCAD import tool is not infallible since it does not support some functions like hull and Minkowsky transforms, but I've been able to import many parts. The rest I have to rebuild out of STL files.

I've written an introductory post on the Lulzbot forum: http://forum.lulzbot.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=243
andykirby wrote:Enough perhaps that I can safely start and recomend FreeCAD as an answer to the perennial question of "What do I create my parts and projects with".
In my opinion it's already been the case for a good while! :) I would say since v0.12.5284 was released in January 2012.
andykirby wrote:The Assembly module (Yup I have skimmed the relevant forum section and it looks like the first cut is imminent) is an essential. Building 3D printers and other Robots and complex machines, the ability to assemble parts and check them for clearences etc is almost indispensible.
You say you used commercial CAD packages, are you familiar with AutoCAD? This ubiquitous CAD software does not include an assembly module yet it's been used to create assemblies for I would say at least 20 years.

Even if the 3D constraint-based Assembly module is not in FreeCAD yet, it's already possible to build assemblies. Have a look at the "Show your FreeCAD project" topic in my signature, many people have done incredible work.

Sure, checking for clearances is a little harder but doable. To analyze part intersection, I guess a boolean intersect between the two partscould be used.

I'm currently modeling the Prusa3-vanilla in FreeCAD. I still have a boatload of fasteners to add! I wanted to add the Prusa hotend but there is no details available for it, I may put in a regular j-head instead. Once I'm done with the assembly I plan on sharing it on Github.

Image

I've been given write access to the FreeCAD-library on Github, I'll be sure to upload the useful files like the stepper motors, bearings and other stuff I had to model.

Documenting designs, BOM creation is where FreeCAD is lacking. FreeCAD is a small project, there are less than 10 regular developers and there has been not much activity in the past few months. It seems "real life" has been getting in the way. ;)

Hope you stick around!

Cheers,

Norm
andykirby
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby andykirby » Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:36 am

"To be blunt I've been literally appalled at the entrenched popularity of OpenSCAD in the RepRap community."

This is perhaps understandable. designing and building a whole machine is not a trivial undertaking. People are more focused on the designing than the tools. Being able to draw down on a pool of ready made components can not be underestimated for it's consolidating power. OpenSCAD was useable earler on in the 3D Printing timeline and many of the parts to be drawn down were writen in OpenSCAD. This together with the availability of an ever growing pool of source material via Thingiverse has helped it no end. Accesibility is the key.

OpenSCAD's limitations are teeth grinding. I guess why I have been lurking around FreeCAD for quite some time.

"You say you used commercial CAD packages, are you familiar with AutoCAD?"

My experience is with Pro Desktop, Pro Engineer and Solid Edge/Works etc. They do have assmebly contrasints and do exploded as a tick box.

"In my opinion it's already been the case for a good while! :) I would say since v0.12.5284 was released in January 2012."

More so if you are either already CAD skilled or highly motivated to stick with a package through some of its early development ups and downs.

I am a qualified D&T Teacher and have taught 3D CAD to UK secondary level kids. So do understand fully the need for repeatability and stability when teaching CAD to new folks of wildly different skill levels. In looking to set up tutorials I am basicaly looking at using the same skills and comparing how the experience would come across to the learner. Where packages do random/odd things, non intuitive things or the things that are not obvious, that throws up issues for group teaching, as some of the group will fall into the holes and the pace of the tutorial be wrecked. It is a challenge to keep a group on task and progressing at a similar rate without loosing the less skilled or boring the more skilled. The success or failure of a tutorial session can be judged by how many of the learner group were lost en route. The contribution an application makes to this process can not be emphasised enough. Pro Desktop in particular had some very random failings that impeded it's progress.

"Sure, checking for clearances is a little harder but doable."

Sure assembly can be done by positioning parts in the 3 dimensions. It is a doable if time consuming work around. Assembly through constraints though is quick, intuitive and very easy, so boosting productivity and promoting accesibility. On checking clearences and alignment, I guess there is no adequate substitute for building something for real. However being able to assemble on constraints and then visualy check for obvious failings by the walk/fly through is incredibly useful and reduces the number of iterations needed on the final parts. For example constraining two parts on a common axis allows them to be slid together and apart whilst being examined. ie an Axle and Bearing, Dowel and Hole etc etc.

The printer work looks great, I hve a stretched Sells Huxley running Teacup (Same build space as a Mendel but smaller). The hardware hacking group has a Mendel Prusa Sanguinololu and a Mendel90. I have just opted for a Mendel90 for my second machine as I wanted better reliability/repetability with my parts and less time spent messing with the actual printer. I am certainly very happy with the Mendel90.

"Documenting designs, BOM creation is where FreeCAD is lacking. FreeCAD is a small project, there are less than 10 regular developers and there has been not much activity in the past few months. It seems "real life" has been getting in the way. ;)"

This is very much apreciated and great work is being done. Looking forward to sticking around a while.

Will look into the parts repository, many thanks.

Cheers

Andy Kirby
jreinhardt
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:08 pm

Re: Parts Repository

Postby jreinhardt » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:29 pm

Hey,

I have been working on something that might turn into a standard parts repository at some point. I opened a thread about it here:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4549

Greetings
BOLTS, standard parts library for FreeCAD Thread, Help with Translation
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cblt2l
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby cblt2l » Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:52 pm

I've been wondering if mediagoblin would make a good platform for the 'parts repository' and 'show your project here'. It supports various types of media (pictures, video, audio, etc), supports conversations (comments) and even has 3d model support. :o http://mediagoblin.org/
Downside is that you need a web server to run it from.

normandc: I like where your going with the Prussa model! I've been wanting to do the same with my Mendelmax, but haven't had the time. Eventually I would even like to write a macro for generating the aluminum extrusions.
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NormandC
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby NormandC » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:12 am

cblt2l wrote:and even has 3d model support.
Yeah, I had a look at MediaGoblin too. But it only supports Blender files. It's not compatible with FreeCAD files. Actually I'm guessing for a web app to be able to open FreeCAD files, it probably would need to have embedded FreeCAD.
cblt2l wrote:normandc: I like where your going with the Prussa model!
Yeah that was fun, but I haven't completed it since... Sometimes I lose motivation. :oops:
cblt2l wrote:Eventually I would even like to write a macro for generating the aluminum extrusions.
Why? Once an extrusion model is made, you copy it and change its length easily.
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quick61
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby quick61 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:36 am

normandc wrote:
cblt2l wrote:Eventually I would even like to write a macro for generating the aluminum extrusions.
Why? Once an extrusion model is made, you copy it and change its length easily.
Sense were on the subject of extrusions, what normandc said is just what I did several days ago. Extracted from a .dxf file, I did the four sizes of the OpenBuilds Vslot extrusions. I just developed planar surfaces from the .dxf and through a few sketches came up with the finished product, All one needs do is extrude, shell or solid to the desired length. Anyone want's them, let me know and I'll post them.

Mark

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NormandC
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby NormandC » Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:41 am

Mark, please do, and I'll upload them to the FreeCAD-library repository, I've already modeled the 20x20 Misumi t-slot extrusion that I'll add as well.
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quick61
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Re: Parts Repository

Postby quick61 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:01 am

normandc wrote:Mark, please do, and I'll upload them to the FreeCAD-library repository, I've already modeled the 20x20 Misumi t-slot extrusion that I'll add as well.
Shiny, that was a fast reply.. Each zip file has the planar surfaces with all the attributes and a second file noted with "_s" at the end, which is the "simple" object. I did it that way sense these are manufactured parts and they aren't going to change in their footprint. I figure that a little less bloat in the workflow can't be a bad thing? :?

NOTE: Last file in next post
Attachments
20x60_Vrail.fcstd.zip
(326.77 KiB) Downloaded 247 times
20x40_Vrail.fcstd.zip
(219.66 KiB) Downloaded 254 times
20x20_Vrail.fcstd.zip
(130.94 KiB) Downloaded 459 times
Last edited by quick61 on Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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