FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is 100% Open Source and extremely modular, allowing for very advanced extension and customization. FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade, a powerful geometry kernel, features an Open Inventor-compliant 3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library, and a broad Python API. The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms. Learn more here...
Do you wonder how to design & create useful objects of your own, but think OpenSCAD has a too steep learning curve and SketchUp lacks Freedom?
N. B.: These days FreeCAD can actually dabble with OpenSCAD. Good on it! Why limit one self, right?
FreeCAD can definitely be a good starting point! Although FreeCAD is in development but it is quite useful even at this point. That being said, there are a few bugs and remember saving your work! As always; learning new things may seem daunting, but remember those dreams of yours and keep RepRap's philosophy close at heart!
There are several helpful resources just clicks away:
· Getting started
· FreeCAD's Forum
· IRC: #freecad. (chat)
It is also useful for amongst other things:
· Export/import of different formats; such as IGES & STEP -> .stl. Such as the Free cellphone Neo Freerunner case files.
· Experimental module for Export/import of CSG (read OpenSCAD) since v.0.13, (announcement-thread). (See also old their respective export & import-threads.)
Designs made with FreeCAD
· FreeCAD's own Tutorial pages.
- FreeCAD TurboTute - Pockets & Pads.
Gives you an idea just how easy it can be to build a object in FreeCAD.
- Series of FreeCAD tutorials by Bram de Vries
Designing a bicycle
· FreeCADs Python scripting tutorial.
Working with STL files
This can be by selecting those object(s) you want to export and then "File -> Export" or by pressing "CTRL+e". Choose "Mesh formats" and finally "filename.stl".
If your slicer complains about your newly exported .stl's, there is an workbench called "Mesh design" which can help you solve these hiatus. Activating the workbench in question, one can find a "Analyze" submenu, after choosing your .stl object(s) and hopefully by using the "Evaluate & Repair" can fixe those issues and get your slicer to happily accept the object.