Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

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JMG
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Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby JMG » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:24 am

Hello.

i am (finally) developing a sheet metal workbench :) . The idea is to go open source after earning some economic feedback from the community (a crowdfunding event). Up to the date I have published two "updates" (brief explanations of the current state of the tool, with photos and/or videos), here you can see them:

Update 1: http://linuxforanengineer.blogspot.com. ... ate-1.html

Update 2: http://linuxforanengineer.blogspot.com. ... ate-2.html

The point of sharing it here, apart from give it to know, is to ask for opinions:

A-What do you think about the workbench (something that is completely wrong, improvements, ideas... )?

B-What is your opinion about going open source after founding? (Should it go before or while developing? Is not a good idea at all? )

My goal is to provide FreeCAD from a stable-usable open source tool for a price similar to a year license of comercial CAD.


Javier
FreeCAD scripts, animations, experiments and more: http://linuxforanengineer.blogspot.com.es/
Open source CNC hot wire cutter project (NiCr): https://github.com/JMG1/NiCr
Exploded Assembly Workbench: https://github.com/JMG1/ExplodedAssembly
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r-frank
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby r-frank » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:42 pm

Hello Javier.

Working on FreeCAD and enhnacing it for money was already done by Ian Rees.

Perhaps you should elaborate more on your intention not doing something for
FreeCAD for free (until you did now).

If you look at Ian's project, at least my personal summary is:
- FreeCAD community is small at the moment
- you will need to do lots of advertisment (I think without my mentioning on Google+ FreeCAD-community nothing big would have happened)
- with community-spending you will maybe end up with 400-500 $.
- let's face it: without aleph donating 6000 $ Ian's project would have ended soon ...

That should give you some starting thoughts ... ;)

Roland
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triplus
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby triplus » Fri Jun 05, 2015 3:50 pm

What you could try is to make crowdfunding campaign? I am not sure how would it turn out but AFAIK nobody tried it in this way?

I wasn’t involved in such campaigns up to this moment but it does sound like something that it is done today on a regular basis? Presentation video, goals and a bit of a story on one of the popular crowdfunding portals and to test the waters? I am guessing if nobody tries this we can't know for sure how successful it could be.
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rockn
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby rockn » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:48 pm

Hi JMG,
Great Work !
JMG wrote:A-What do you think about the workbench (something that is completely wrong, improvements, ideas... )?
I don't personally have a use of this workbench. But I see some people asking for this kind of functionalities in FreeCAD so I think it's a good idea !
JMG wrote:B-What is your opinion about going open source after founding? (Should it go before or while developing? Is not a good idea at all? )
Personally (again) I prefer when the code is opened at the beginning. I think it's interesting for "power" user to see the development process and start testing the WB. Also I think you can get more help while developping if the code is open.

For example Yorik, DanielFalck and some other people have made a sort of crowdfunding for the Path module. You can already test it and more important the roadmap and wiki are already write : https://github.com/yorikvanhavre/FreeCA ... ath-module
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PrzemoF
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby PrzemoF » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:11 pm

Looks really nice! I'd say you should try to contact a few companies that are working with metal sheets. If they are interested (I mean they would see benefit/savings/improvements in the process) than you could get a stable source of development funding and they would get someone making a custom made tool that would fit their real life needs.

I don't really like closed development --> open source later, but I understand that your motivation for writing code might be different than mine. Same reasons as rockn mentioned: early testing, bug hunts (*), suggestions from power users or other developers.

(*) see what's happening with FEM wb, some bugs are impossible to catch by one developer A recent example: a bug showing only on linux with specific locale.
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sgrogan
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby sgrogan » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:55 pm

JMG wrote:What is your opinion about going open source after founding? (Should it go before or while developing? Is not a good idea at all? )
r-frank wrote:- FreeCAD community is small at the moment
- you will need to do lots of advertisment (I think without my mentioning on Google+ FreeCAD-community nothing big would have happened)
PrzemoF wrote:I don't really like closed development --> open source later, but I understand that your motivation for writing code might be different than mine. Same reasons as rockn mentioned: early testing, bug hunts (*), suggestions from power users or other developers.
I would examine the open source license options to control distribution that you are comfortable with.
SheetMetal is a requested feature in FreeCAD. Potentially your own Dev team.
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m.no
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby m.no » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:07 pm

I would pay and I think, with proper adversating, more ppl would, too.

AFAIK base versions of ZW3D, Alibre and Solid Edge don't have sheet metal modules. I know lot of companies that builds machines and for 95-99% they are satisfied with base version of software but there is always that 1% case, where you need some metal bracket or cover/shield. And yes, options with integrated sheet metal are sometimes noticeably more expensive.

Back to the base topic, as mentioned by PrzemoF, I think you should hit directly some sheet metal companies (laser cutting/waterjet/bending). If you lucky, even single company will fund that. I don't think in that buisness money itself would be a problem, but convincing someone that have money and already working software, that he could do anything in other way (free software), when everthing already works - could be a problem if you don't know anyone directly.
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JMG
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby JMG » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:11 pm

Thanks for all your responses and thoughts.

r-frank:
The point of developing before starting the campaign was to have something to show as a proof of what could be expected (something ready to release), and to convince myself that I was able to do it. I strongly agree with the advertisement, but I don't know any other site to expose it apart from the google+ community, this forum and my blog. As you say, community is small at the moment.

triplus:
something that it is done today on a regular basis?
I thought about it because of that, seems to be everywhere.
I am guessing if nobody tries this we can't know for sure how successful it could be.
;)

rockn:
Great Work !
Thanks!!
I don't personally have a use of this workbench. But I see some people asking for this kind of functionalities in FreeCAD so I think it's a good idea !
At the few workshops where I have been, there was a workload of machining and sheet metal parts in a proportion 70/30, but I'm not sure if this is a common ratio.
Personally (again) I prefer when the code is opened at the beginning. I think it's interesting for "power" user to see the development process and start testing the WB. Also I think you can get more help while developing if the code is open.
I agree with you, but, again, I had to convince myself that I could do it. Apart, the idea was that it could sell better if it was finished (because to me is easier to pay for a product than for a set of ideas, but I'm realizing that this mentality is not aligned with the crowdfunding characteristics).
I'm going to examine the path module history.

PrzemoF:

Thanks!
I have told it to some workshops I know near me, but the problem is that they already have solid works or inventor, and, at least in Spain, licenses are not a problem if there is a torrent link available.

sgrogan:

Nice summary. I will check the licenses.
Potentially your own Dev team
;)

m.no:
Proper advertising, thats hard to do. What do you have in mind?
I didn't thought about laser cutting workshops, but I think that the problem will be, as you say, switching from something that works to something new-I-don't-know-how-to-use, also think about what I said to PrzemoF about licenses in Spain (where I can contact directly with companies).


In conclusion:
- I am going to try to achieve basic functionality on the workbench (complete unfold)
- Think about how can I earn something form what I have and continue the development in a open source way as the path module.
- Talk with some companies about the project
- Maybe start the crowdfunding campaing to "test the waters"

I will post here any news, thanks again for your responses.

Javier.
FreeCAD scripts, animations, experiments and more: http://linuxforanengineer.blogspot.com.es/
Open source CNC hot wire cutter project (NiCr): https://github.com/JMG1/NiCr
Exploded Assembly Workbench: https://github.com/JMG1/ExplodedAssembly
m.no
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Re: Sheet metal workbench and Open Source idea

Postby m.no » Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:48 pm

By "proper" i mean talk directly with companies or people that will use it. When i started working as mechanical eng. i was amazed that some companies are still using autocad as their main cad (small shops that are making the same things for 20 years). And sometimes they are buying SolidWorks or Inventor, not because they really need it, but because reseller can convice the owner. Moving away from the topic, i think whole FreeCAD with working part design, assembly and drawings after little cleaning (arch workbench could be unnecessary confusing etc.) could be "sold" at price of support and training services. AFAIK sth like RHEL buissnes model. From own experience, there are lazy/busy people that will pay you for training in e.g. NX or CATIA even when all knowledge is available on youtube :).

About crowdfunding: as mentioned earlier - i don't think that much of industry follow these things (lazy/busy). Makers will notice, but makers are building RepRaps for $2k, and industry builds machines for $200k :).