Discussion: Strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

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jruiz
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Discussion: Strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby jruiz » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:37 pm

Good Morning.
I was wondering if a more or less agreed strategy could be established here to present FreeCAD to people, as a first approach to the CAD / CAM / CAE world.
As you can understand, the population I am thinking of consists of people without prior knowledge of 3D design or the management of any other CAD programs.
I was wondering if these could be the first steps in this task (opinions are very welcome):
  1. Introduce the graphical interface.
    1. After installing Freecad, induce the interested person to do a scan through the graphical interface.
    2. Talk a little about the workbenches and show some of them.
    3. Use the Part (or Part Design) workbench just to create, say, a cube, and invite the student to notice the effects that are caused by moving the cursor over the display window, also indicate Repeat these movements but now combine them with the Ctrl, Shift, and Alt keys.
    4. Indicate how to change the navigation style and repeat the movements and combinations specified in item 3.
  2. From here, I am not sure if it is best to continue with
    Part workbench or with the Part design workbench. I am particularly inclined to the Part Design workbench. (Help!)
  3. Use the chosen workbench to create other objects, this in order to create a certain visual impact. Also modify the associated parameters and visualize the effect this causes. Indicate how to toggle objects visible/invisible.
  4. I am convinced that the parameters used in the project must be specified in a spreadsheet and invoked through respective aliases previously imposed. But I'm not sure of the right time to introduce the use of the spreadsheet. (Help!)
  5. However the sequence is chosen, first present some rudiments of the Part and Part Design workbenches. Then detail them and encourage the interested person to permanently explore the interface.
Last edited by jruiz on Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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vocx
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby vocx » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:53 pm

jruiz wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:37 pm
I was wonswring if a more or less agreed strategy could be established here to present FreeCAD to people, as a first approach to the CAD / CAM / CAE world.
...
Yes, it sounds good. I personally wouldn't introduce the Spreadsheet Workbench immediately. That's a bit of an advanced topic. I would first explain all tools of the PartDesign Workbench, what is an additive pipe, a loft, a hole, a subtractive primitive, etc.
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jruiz
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby jruiz » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:22 pm

vocx wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:53 pm
jruiz wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:37 pm
I was wonswring if a more or less agreed strategy could be established here to present FreeCAD to people, as a first approach to the CAD / CAM / CAE world.
...
Yes, it sounds good. I personally wouldn't introduce the Spreadsheet Workbench immediately. That's a bit of an advanced topic. I would first explain all tools of the PartDesign Workbench, what is an additive pipe, a loft, a hole, a subtractive primitive, etc.
Thank you very much for your comment.
Now I am thinking on a three level introduction to FreeCAD. Call it:
  1. Basic: for knowing the interface an modeling simple objects.
  2. Intermediate: Here more sophisticated models (using for example boolean operations, and assembling) could be presented moreover introducing the use of spreadsheet workbench for storing and retrieving the parameters involved in the project.
  3. Advanced: Some applications as 3d printing and/or CNC machining could be outlined.
IMHO, After such an introduction, the interested person would gain some independence.
BTW, I believe any evangelization to FreeCAD, should mention this forum.
It would be very good to read what people here think about
I have uploaded some FreeCAD video tutorials to www.youtube.com/yosoyvenezolano
chrisb
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby chrisb » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:51 pm

I would second vocx's advice to postpone the introduction of Spreadsheets.

Besides that the very first introduction depends on the background of your newbies. Do they have a more technical background? Then you may well start with PartDesign. Or are they just average persons like my mother in law or the salesman from next door? In that case I would as a short introduction start with Part workbench and its CSG approach. It is very natural to have these primitive geometric solids and combine them; Union is like Lego building. Everyone can do it.

However, I would not stay there for too long. Next I would introduce sketches and how to build solids with them. Now it is time to switch to PartDesign.

You should not demonstrate the modeling process with rather abstract things. Prepare something which you would like to model, and if you want to be very convincing, ask your audience what they would like to model. Be prepared that they have no idea though.
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jruiz
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby jruiz » Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:37 pm

chrisb wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:51 pm
I would second vocx's advice to postpone the introduction of Spreadsheets.

Besides that the very first introduction depends on the background of your newbies. Do they have a more technical background? Then you may well start with PartDesign. Or are they just average persons like my mother in law or the salesman from next door? In that case I would as a short introduction start with Part workbench and its CSG approach. It is very natural to have these primitive geometric solids and combine them; Union is like Lego building. Everyone can do it.

However, I would not stay there for too long. Next I would introduce sketches and how to build solids with them. Now it is time to switch to PartDesign.

You should not demonstrate the modeling process with rather abstract things. Prepare something which you would like to model, and if you want to be very convincing, ask your audience what they would like to model. Be prepared that they have no idea though.
Thanks for your advice.
The target people are universitary professionals (or students) with some math skills and certain curiosity for the "3d world" :) but with no knowledge on CAD software.
I have uploaded some FreeCAD video tutorials to www.youtube.com/yosoyvenezolano
adrianinsaval
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby adrianinsaval » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:41 pm

I'll give you my take: show them how to model stuff before introducing spreadsheets, use as example stuff they would recognize, or even something you physically have so they can look at it and try to model.

Then come up with an example of a part that would need different configurations and dependant dimensions, then show them what a pain it is to modify it manually, next show them the beauty of using spreadsheets and expressions. Also explain the importance of using descriptive names for parameters and sometimes features so that someone else (or themselves in the future) would be able to understand it.
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jruiz
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby jruiz » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:57 am

adrianinsaval wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:41 pm
... something you physically have so they can look at it and try to model.
I think this is a excellent idea, I guess It would cause the nice impact of contrasting (parts of) the virtual and tangible world
adrianinsaval wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:41 pm
Then come up with an example of a part that would need different configurations and dependant dimensions, then show them what a pain it is to modify it manually, next show them the beauty of using spreadsheets and expressions. Also explain the importance of using descriptive names for parameters and sometimes features so that someone else (or themselves in the future) would be able to understand it.
Another great idea for introducing the power of using spreadsheet...
Thanks a lot.
I have uploaded some FreeCAD video tutorials to www.youtube.com/yosoyvenezolano
chrisb
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby chrisb » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:39 pm

I am not a big fan of Spreadsheets, especially not for beginners. 3D modeling is inherently difficult. So newbies have to struggle with the modeling itself, and maintaining a spreadsheet in parallel is disruptive.
A measure will occur during the modeling process somewhere for the first time, let's say in a sketch. Without a spreadsheet you dimension it and you can continue.
With a spreadsheet you either have to postpone the dimensioning - which often is not desirable, because the dimension is floating to whatever value -, or you give it some fake dimension which you have to note somewhere or you switch to the spreadsheet, give the cell a value, edit the properties, define an alias, return to the sketch and set the value. Of course its possible, but it's a break in the modeling. And it's not fun.
vocx
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Re: Discussion: An strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby vocx » Fri Feb 28, 2020 11:23 pm

chrisb wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:39 pm
I am not a big fan of Spreadsheets, especially not for beginners. 3D modeling is inherently difficult. So newbies have to struggle with the modeling itself, and maintaining a spreadsheet in parallel is disruptive.
...
I agree with this.

Spreadsheets make total sense for power users that really need to have strict requirements and references to precise measurements. It's in the same vein as using macros or scripts to automate the generation of shapes. At the beginning that is not necessary. To start, a new user needs to know how to build something; how to make a sketch, how to pad it, and how to transform it. He or she needs to see how to make something come to life in 3D, that's how you get somebody interested in 3D modelling. The rest are just details and best practices.
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ppemawm
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Re: Discussion: Strategy for introducing FreeCAD as a first CAD/CAE/CAM software.

Postby ppemawm » Sat Feb 29, 2020 1:08 am

chrisb wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:39 pm
I am not a big fan of Spreadsheets, especially not for beginners.
A reasonable alternative for beginners is to use the Assembly4 > Model > Variables table. I am of the opinion the sooner you learn to use variables and expressions, the better.

It would be nice to have the Variables table available to all of the workbenches, especially part design and sketcher.
"It is a poor workman who blames his tools..." ;)