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CAD software?

Posted by Nik777 
CAD software?
July 16, 2007 11:59PM
Just thought I'd ask:

What is the status of CAD software in RepRap? There are a number of efforts afoot to add CAD abilities to ArtOfIllusion; nad I see a reference to "Kicad" in this forum, so I was just wondering where the RepRap people were at with this?

Re: CAD software?
July 17, 2007 12:12AM
KiCad is a French, open source printed circuit board design system that several of us use in Repap and nothing to wonder about vis a vis 3D design. Indeed, I've tried to use AoI on several occasions to do printed circuit board design. It inevitably gets too complicated, though. sad smiley

RepRappers tend to use whatever 3D modeling system that they already have and are familiar with. Using STL as a common transfer format lets us get away with that, sort of.

I've heard of some people using Blender and I think that Ed at Bath University uses Solid Edge. I've also heard of one or two cases of people having AutoCAD Inventor. At a guess, I'd think that maybe 80% of RepRappers use AoI, though. It works pretty darned well for open source software and unlike most of the 3D CAD systems I've worked with has a very pleasant little learning curve.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2007 12:13AM by Forrest Higgs.
Re: CAD software?
July 17, 2007 01:23AM
My take:

KiCAD is what gets used for electronics and PCB design in RepRap. AoI is (at least in theory) what gets used for physical design, both of RepRap parts and of all the "stuff you want RepRap to print".

In practice, some of the current STL files for RepRap parts were apparently made in a closed proprietary software package (SolidEdge?) and will eventually be re-created in AoI. This is why we don't yet have .aoi files for them in Subversion.

The goal is that RepRap uses portable, free and replicable software, throughout the development chain: Java, the RepRap host software, SDCC, the Reprap firmware, KiCad, AoI. Preferably Linux (or FreeBSD or similar) for the OS.

That is the goal: current reality seems to be that a few pieces of the RepRap software puzzle are not yet 100% free, at least as some in the FOSS community define free. These include Sun Java, a GUI creation tool called Jigloo, and maybe one or two other bits and pieces.

There aren't any "good" full-featured (from the viewpoint of 3D CAD experts, which I am not!) FLOSS 3D CAD programs that I know of. I keep meaning to check out gCAD3D [www.gcad3d.org] -- but again, I'm not really enough of a 3D CAD software power user to "check it out" well anyway! BRL-CAD [brlcad.org] might also be worth a look?

Adding CAD capabilities to AoI would, I suspect, be very much welcomed by many Reprappers; I'm sure those here who are more expert in the CAD realm can supply details of what specific CAD features they need, etc. etc., if that kind of feature "wish list" would be helpful to you for AoI development :-)

Re: CAD software?
July 17, 2007 09:17AM
Thanks for the clarification folks yawning smiley)

I am working on a CAD addition to AOI, as a background task. I'll let you know how it is looking around the end of the year.

The plan is basically to add comprehensive 2D drafting abilities to AOI (in the form of a plugin), and then provide some added features to support deriving 3D shapes from the 2D designs.

This would hopefully allow people to work in plan and elevation, and have 3D objects defined by that.


With RepRap, "Art Of Illusion" becomes "Art Of Reality"
smiling smiley I like that quote!

Re: CAD software?
July 17, 2007 09:19AM
If we're talking CAD the big killer that I've missed with AoI is dimensioning. The grid is pretty good but dimensioning is a lot better. That's just me, mind.
Re: CAD software?
July 17, 2007 02:56PM
I would definitely appreciate dimensioning too. I currently click on each euclidean object I can get to and look at its coordinates and size in the object properties. I then create 2D plan views of the objects in Visio and attach dimensions and ordinates which I then read and type in as Python script for my milling machine. Not quite as tedious as it sounds because all the extruder parts are pretty simple but it would be much quicker if I could miss out the Visio stage.

Just being able to click on a vertex and get its XYZ ordinates would be good.

I find the grid very hard to use because it is not obvious which line each number belongs to. Normally a line with a number on it would be slightly thicker or a darker shade.

Obviously this is not what the AOI was intended to be used for and I probably won't do much more of it as I move from subtractive fabbing to additive.

Re: CAD software?
September 17, 2007 03:57PM
i've been working with 3D Studio Max for a few years now. It both imports and exports *.STL files. I haven't tried exporting anything in STL just yet, but whenever I get a printer going, I'll let you know how easily it does so.
Re: CAD software?
September 19, 2007 02:33PM
... i worked with different 2D, 3D and ecad-systems over the years and on diferent systems (Commodore 64, Atari ST, PC, ...)

Actually i use mostly Corel10 or OpenOffice-Draw for 2D, LightWave7 for 3D and technical animations and Eagle or Target3001 for ecad. For 2,5D and 3D milling (and milling-optimated design) i use IsyCAD 2 / 2,5 and Remote from ISEL.

If someone needs help in construction or converting different 3D formats to/from STL, then i can easily help - send me an email with the data or scetch ...

Ciao, VDX
Re: CAD software?
September 19, 2007 04:40PM
... here i have some images of designing micro-tools and ready ones in STL-epoxy or milled from DELRIN or aluminium ...

Ciao, VDX
open | download - LW7-Snapshot-Greifer2_kl.jpg (270.3 KB)
open | download - STL-Greifer2_kl.jpg (240.2 KB)
open | download - Greifer-Spitzen1_kl.jpg (261.4 KB)
Re: CAD software?
September 19, 2007 07:14PM
wow, those are awesome!
Re: CAD software?
September 20, 2007 01:40AM
ZachHoeken Wrote:
> wow, those are awesome!

... thanks smiling smiley

They are for the 'normal' dimensions - in the other work with a bit more accuracy i handle platinum wires with 0,001 mm diameter and actualy i 'tune' prober-needles with nano-tips, where i have to fix a gold-knob with merely 30 microns diameter and a sharp tip of nearly 20 nanometers winking smiley

I try to advance my 'home-work' to handle this tasks here without expensive and complex equipment and if there would be (or i can build on my own) a nano-reprap in the near future, that would be very fine!

Ciao, VDX
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