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#1 2014-08-08 01:53:55

Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 23

FreeCAD for a CATIA designer

For years, I was lucky enough to have my computer installed with CATIA and to be able to work with it on a daily basis. No matter what I was in my mind, I was able to design it. CATIA is incredible but unless you have a lot of money, no one would ever want to purchase it. Not only that, you certainly do not want to spend that much money to have a deprecated version after a couple of years. Same thing for SolidWorks, Solid Edge, NX & co!
To be honest, since nearly 10 years, I have been moving to Open Source software for the same reason; when you spend money in closed source, it is not long before your software or operating system become deprecated. This been said, if you are in my situation, you have to be realistic and be ready to pay the price; Open Source CAD is not their yet!
I've been looking for an alternative for years but right now, one of them get my attention: FreeCAD

Why FreeCAD? because:

  • FreeCAD is Open source

  • FreeCAD has features and a workflow similar to CATIA: sketch to 3D modeling

  • FreeCAD community is small but seems to be growing. See FreeCAD Google trends

  • FreeCAD has a robotic workbench that seems very interesting in the context of this forum

I have tried FreeCAD 0.13 one year ago. To be honest it was really unstable.

For this tutorial, I first try version 0.14 on Ubuntu 14.04 which was very stable. However I later decided to switch to the best so far version of the software, updated daily. Here is a nice documentation to know how to do it. It can be summarized with the following command lines:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:freecad-maintainers/freecad-daily

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install freecad freecad-doc

I will try to document my findings in this forum in what seems to be the most natural workflow for a CATIA guy and hopefully will convince you and me that FreeCAD is the way to go to design your next robotic project.

FreeCAD Tutorial 1 - Basic Concepts
FreeCAD Tutorial 2 - First Part Design
FreeCAD Tutorial 3 - The sketcher

Last edited by Odysseus (2014-08-08 20:30:42)


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