Looks like we're ready to go. I want to thanks Anool Mahidaria for taking time out of his trip to be with us today to chat about KiCad and FreeCAD.
Anool, can you give us a little background on yourself and how you came to be presenting at the first ever KiCon this weekend?
I'm based in Mumbai India, and first used KiCad in 2010. Since then I've grown to love it , and have used it for all of our Open HW prrojects at Wyolum.
I can't remember the first time I used FreeCAD, but it was ver 0.12 (we're almost at ver 0.18 now). And find it pretty useful.
Both, KiCad and FreeCAd have steep learning curves and quirks
But that goes for almost all technical SW, no matter which.
@Anool Mahidharia is touring the US at the moment landed in NYC, and is currently in Pittsburg, headed here to DC next.
So, KiCon2019 is a great beginning for us to teach, and learn, from one another
Oh and I think he has some KiCon thing in there too
I did a KiCad bootcamp at NYCResistor earlier this month
So why FreeCAD? Why not Fusion360 OpenSCAD?
And doing KiCad and FreeCAD workshops at MakerFX makerspace in Orlando later in May
FreeCAD 'cause is it open source, is multi platform (fusion doesn' work on Linux) and non-binary (plain text) file formats
OpenSCAD is kinda difficult for me 'cause I don't come from a programming background and cannot generate CAD programatically
freeCAD fits the bill perfectly.
I lot of people have trouble getting started. How did you get over the hump? #aksingforafriend
And, I've seen it has been in constant and intensive development, just like KiCad
I kinda learned the FreeCAD ropes on my own, stumbling along the way. But it helps to have some background in how drawings are made, and solids are sculpted to make things easy
I must admit, for me as a Inventor and SolidWorks user it was a nightmare to get going
hmm, FCStd is plaintext?!
could have been worse, could be Blender
But now, there's a ton of tutorials out there so it isn't so intimidating getting your feet wet unlike earlier
Yes, Morgan, FCStd is plain text
oh, I somehow missed that
@Jan ;)So is the KiCAD libraries stuff when you use Altium at work
or anything else, really
Can you recomend a begining tut on FreeCAD?
also in regard to tutorials, there are several new youtubers putting out content for FreeCAD 0.17 & 0.18+, mathcodeprint is one I like
that was one problem I found trying to learn FreeCAD, the content was dated
Unlike KiCAD (which is a EDA designed to help you build PCBs), FreeCAD is a general CAD program, so there's mant different ways of starting off depending on what you want to do
Devoted to 3d Printing, Embedded Electronics, Education and Related. ( And anything else I love ).
Like, your learning path in FreeCAD will be different if you're an architect, compared to if you're building electronics enclosures. But thankfully, most of the basic's are similar.
speaking of enclosures... does it have a sheet metal tool?
Yes! Sheet Metal WB is great!
at least the very basic stuff?
Yes, indeed. There's a sheet metal workbench
Mid-may I'll be opening a cool project I'm designing with it
because that's a thing I miss when I have no access to the stupid expensive company CAD systems :)
FreeCAD's workbench approach is great. Helps the community to contribute by building features for specific tasks easily
Anool, do you not find it a double edge sword though? I've had two WBs 'competing' to accomplish their tasks, destroying my model in the process
For example, Maurice (easyw) has built a fantastic set of tools - the KiCad StepUp Tools workbench - that allows a seamelss integration between KiCad and FreeCAD
could very well be the fault of my process, but annoying none the less
Morgan, likely, I haven't come across such an issue.
the chats' scrolling is broken again for me, anyone else?
Jan, it's always broken
Also, remember, FreeCAD, just like KiCad, is open source and community driven. So, the nice thing to do is help with development instead of just complaining. Usually, the Dev's are eager to help and solve issues. Just providing feedback on bugs helps a lot with Dev.
FreeCAD Manipulator WorkBench. Contribute to easyw/Manipulator development by creating an account on GitHub.
The scroll bar is there for me - very small, but there when you mouse over to the right edge of the chat window.
Thankfully, KiCad moved away from the terrible use of Wings3D for creating VRML models and moving to STEP models, as well as a better VRML support.
with FreeCAD can you edit and save drawings in AutoCad dwg format?
You can export in DXF
yeah, the god awful DWG format is most annoying. no portability between CAD systems. even less so than DXF...
But FC can also export DWG (2D)
they are make sure to make you life dificult and keep you hooked to their product. But I love free..
@Dan Maloney it's just that it always snaps back to the latest post even if you scrolled up to catch up with a earlier discussion...
The other neat thing is the support for parametric design
Can you capture some screenshots of the FreeCAD work you do in KiCAD?
yay parametric design!
yeah, I'd be interested too. like a PCB in a sheet metal case with an USB cutout derived from the boards connector or something
@wyojustin I use the explored DXF for board outlines imported into KiCAD
Here's an enclosure I built this month for a Raspberry Pi based touch scree, Photo Booth
in fact, that's what my talk this weekend is about
looks good. what would the feature tree of such a part look like?
Any electonic components imported into KiCAD?
Looks like it's face down? Am I looking at it right?
easyw/kicadStepUp will import a board an components back into FreeCAD
A large number of models available for KiCad are now being generated in FreeCAD
did I read right that I can import STP files for kicad models now?
I desperately wanted to like FreeCad, but when I start to iterate over a model and make changes, the whole thing falls apart unlike anything I've seen in OnShape or Fusion360. From what I see in the message boards, this it somewhat common, and there is talk about using Datum planes and a lot of other non-intutive stuff. Is there any chance that this situation will improve in the near future>
Jan, yes. KiCad now supports either STEP or WRL
wohoooo, didn't know. the conversion steps were awful work to do
trying right now
I've seen big improvements over each version of FreeCAD, so I assume things will keep getting better. With the right kind of user feedback, issues can be sorted out too
World debut here on HaD!
Looks even better in real life
@wyojustin using the 3D printed version of the design I posted aboveThat's
It's the PhotoBooth, doing double duty as a PC for HackChat !
@Dan Maloney , indeed, the HackChat scrolls to the latest message even when trying to scroll up to view old messages.
(even is there are no new message)
In Maurice's latest version of the KiCad StepUp tools, you can import / export a .kicad_pcb both ways. So, you import a PCB in FC, move some parts around so they fit an enclosure, for example. And hen you can export and push changes back to the KiCad side.
Yeah, that's a problem. We're looking at fixing that scrollbar issue...
whoa, didn't know StepUp could export like that now
Helps with precise placement of mounting holes, switches etc. The only thing to take care of is the tracks get broken because the parts get moved. But that should not be a problem if you make the component placement phase before drawing tracks
Morgan, check this video
thanks for that, gonna check it out soonish
It also supports importing Tracks and Silk Layer in FC from KiCad
huh, I thought that was the case but the other day I couldn't get it to work
So, there's a very tight integration between KiCad and FreeCAD
why can't I JUST add a damn 3D file to an footprint without soooo much hassle
Morgan, likely. I couldn't manage to import the Silk layer (DXF) from KiCad in to FC, but importing tracks worked.
cool, will probably pick your brain about that this weekend
Jan, it isn't really as much a hassle as it sounds.
wow! that syncronized export is super cool
Yeah. I love it.
I did it earlier, even created some myself
damn, knowing that would have change my talk a bit....
seems to have changed or something?
What do you mean, Jan ?
It improved a lot from 4 to 5 as I heard.
Yeah, KiCad v5 has had a lot of improvements
The EEschema part stil