[Fab] free-cad - the one true free mechanical CAD package that will save the world!

poppy poppy at foostache.com
Thu Mar 22 17:59:56 PDT 2012

I'm interested; unfortunately their Mac build is 10.7 only right now. I 
filed a bug about it, but I'm not interested in spending the time to get 
a monster of a build system running just to try out the program. You say 
it's worth it?


I've been learning Art of Illusion instead, in the meantime. (I tried 
learning blender several times over the years, but it's just a mess to 
me compared to other apps. #nopatience) Wings is also somewhat 
interesting to me, but the UI seems mostly impenetrable so far.

+ p

On 2012-03-22 17:29, Michael Prados wrote:
> My background is in mechanical engineering, so I'm only being slightly
> hyperbolic in the subject heading.
> http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=Main_Page
> I have spent some time with Blender, Bricscad, and Openscad, and they
> are each useful for many tasks.  But I am convinced that the fundamental
> architecture and philosophy of these projects means that they will never
> displace mainstream mechanical CAD programs, even with focused attention
> and support.  That is fine, because they are intended for different
> purposes.
> Free-cad, on the other hand, has strategically tied together several
> free software projects to create a package with the potential to win the
> hearts and minds of people doing mechanical design, given enough support
> from the community.  I have been watching it for a couple of years, as
> it surpassed several other nascent projects to become the prototype of
> something that could transform how we interact with physical objects.
> It isn't there yet, but its developers seem capable and determined, and
> I think it is time they got some love.  Last Sunday, Stallman cited CAD
> as one of the three most important areas for free software development.
> I find this fact very encouraging, since he, unlike me, has no reason to
> be especially passionate about how objects are designed.
> I want to see if there is interest at Noisebridge in aggregating a
> special interest group devoted to free and open source mechanical CAD
> software.  My intention would be to focus on free-cad, but if another
> serious contender should arise, I'd be interested in learning about this
> too.
> The goal that inspires me is a future where free-cad is a strong
> alternative to Solidworks, Pro/Engineer, and Inventor, to at least the
> same extent that Gimp is an alternative to Photoshop, and ideally to the
> extent that gcc is preferrable to many proprietary compilers.  Some of
> the things that I think a special interest group at Noisebridge could
> focus on are:
> * learning to use the package as it is
> * creating new tutorials
> * evangelizing to people doing mechanical design, who generally don't
> know much about free software
> * studying the architecture and workflow of the program, and how it
> compares to proprietary alternatives
> * reaching out to the core developers, and providing feedback
> * writing code, at any of three levels - bolt on extensions, patches,
> and contributing to the core
> * exploring how free-cad might be better tied in to rendering, 2d cad,
> 3d printing, CAM, 3d object scanning, open source robotics, openscad,
> and online 3d repositories like thingiverse and google 3d warehouse
> Unfortunately, I'm sort of committed until late April, but I wanted to
> get the idea out there while it is on my mind.  Am I the only one
> interested in this topic, or am I in good company? Are there people
> interested in meeting to talk about this?
> -Mike
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