Saw someone mentioned FreeCAD here the other day, with the ability to output g-code.
I wouldn’t mind trying a 3D package. I’ve downloaded Fusion but to be honest, AutoDesk has been a PITA for me (I do corporate IT support), I’d rather use an open-source package.
Anyone else use FreeCAD? Looking for the insight of a few more users, if possible.
I’ve played around with it a bit during my seemingly endless cad/cam software trials phase.
While it seems like a pretty powerful tool, I just couldn’t get used to the interface and process.
You basically build parts and processes by creating a bunch of connected “elements” in the tree view, and then modify their attributes from there.
I probably didn’t give it enough time, and might revisit it at another time, but it was just too awkward to use to me.
Plus I wasn’t crazy about the toolpaths it was giving me. (although highly probable that was user error)
For 2/2.5D cad/cam I’ve settled on carbide create, and occasionally D2NC.
For 3D cam, it’s DeskProto. Their hobby-user licensing is comparable to meshcam, and I like the additional flexibility/functionality it offers. (don’t bother trialing the free version, it’s way too limited. trial the full-blown multi-axis version)
For 3D cad, well, that’s still up in the air. I like tinkercad and MS 3D builder (neither for serious 3D cad, but fine for a garage hacker like me ) , but haven’t done enough 3D work to settle on anything yet.
If you’re going to try FreeCAD, check out a couple youtube videos first. I definitely helps with getting started.
Some tools you can fire-up and just start clicking around and figure out the basics. FreeCAD isn’t one of them.
For the Nomad, I started with a FreeCAD/MeshCAM combo that worked well for me. Probably the part that will drive you around the CAD bend (presuming you are new to CAD) first is making sure your sketches are fully constrained. Do not like the auto constrain setting in FreeCAD. Other than that I rather like the CAD interaction as it feels rather old school AutoCad. Havent done the FreeCAD CAM part as I exported STL files and brought them into MeshCAM.
Edit: FreeCAD also does Linux, which made me happy, as I could quickly switch from other programming/scripting tasks to CAD work, though I expect that is not a huge consideration for most.
Here is a video which was mentioned on the /r/CNC subreddit:
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