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

miloh froggytoad at gmail.com
Mon Mar 26 11:24:34 PDT 2012


On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 5:29 PM, Michael Prados <mprados at gmail.com> 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
>
>

Mike, I know you said you were busy until late April, but can you come in
and present Freecad and your vision for Freecad for an hour at Replicator
Wednesday this week (03/28/2012)? I'm really interested in the project and
I think I can get some others in the community interested in checking it
out.

We can have a few presentations using the big screen and audio. I'll ask
Matt to come and show off his http://reconstructme.net/ kinect based
scanner, and I'll present some things I made with the  elegant and simple
http://www.openscad.org/

Of course Andrew Rutter will also bring in Type A Machines prototypes and
have them printing samples.

Replicator wednesday isn't just for the 3D printer types, in lieu of any
other regular meetings we are the de facto regularly meeting fab group at
Noisebridge, focusing on all the things to make all the things.  If you
want an introduction to the Noisebridge tools shop, the Makerbots or
Repraps at Noisebridge,or the Nb Laser cutter, come to Replicator Wednesday
the first of the month (04/04/2012 in April) and we'll give everyone an
introduction.


-R. Miloh
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