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

Michael Prados mprados at gmail.com
Tue Mar 27 02:44:18 UTC 2012

All right, since you asked so nicely!  Not sure I've got an hour of demo
with freecad so far, but I think there is definitely an hour's worth of
discussion of what makes an effective mechanical cad tool and why.  I can
be there a little after 8pm Wednesday.


On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM, miloh <froggytoad at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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