How should I learn FreeCAD

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gooddealonly
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How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by gooddealonly »

I started to learn and use FreeCAD a few months ago. I started by watching a few Youtube tutorials. I have dual monitors on my computer. I would watch the video on one screen and follow to do the same on the second screen on FreeCAD. Often I did even know enough to follow the instructor's moves. I would repeat or slow down the play speed. I would then try to do the entire tutorial myself and created the final object. I would start making small changes to the object. I would export the object to an STL file and print the object on my 3D printer. The 3D-printed object would sit on my bookshelf to show what I have learned. My problem with watching tutorial videos is that I often do not know enough to follow them! I then switch to the learn-as-I-need method. I started designing simple objects with Sketch & Part-Design using what little I know on FreeCAD. I would use different approaches to resolve whatever issue I met and search on the FreeCAD manual and Youtube for the solution. Of course, many times I didn't even know how to ask the question or the correct term to use. I found I restain what I've learned better.

How do you guys learn FreeCAD? What is the best way to learn FreeCAD?

Thanks.
NewJoker
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by NewJoker »

The learning process is similar for all CAD software:
1. YouTube tutorials
2. Documentation
3. User forum
4. Practicing a lot

Not necessarily in this order - forum and documentation will be useful during the whole learning process, especially when practicing with your own examples.

Don't bother with books like some people do. For CAD they are not so useful, especially in the case of FreeCAD (there are just a few and outdated since FreeCAD evolves really fast).

When it comes to YouTube tutorials, do you mean those involving FreeCAD or some commercial software ? The latter are of course a bigger challenge. Just be careful with those showing the use of FreeCAD - they can be outdated (pay attention to the version number).

SolidWorks ModelMania challenges can be a good way to practice tricky models - in a recent thread on this forum, there's even a link to GitHub repository with almost all these examples recreated in FreeCAD: https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=67091

Finally, keep in mind that your own examples are the best way to learn. Increase their difficulty, try to model more and more complex parts and assemblies. Look for items around you like a safety hammer in a bus. You will face many challenges - definitely more than in the case of commercial software. Make use of Workarounds and ask here whenever in doubt.
chrisb
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by chrisb »

I don't really recommend youtube videos, there are far too many out there leading to bad habits. There is no corrective instance assuring a minimum of quality.
I rather recommend the Tutorials in the wiki. If you get stuck, you can expect competent help here in the forum, and furthermore you help to improve these tutorials with your feedback.

Another excellent source is the forum itself, which I recommend to follow for some time. Try to find solutions for the problems being discussed and watch and compare the solutions of the experts, in order to find your way of modeling.

I have of course my own preferencesand my models may look different from those of other forum regulars, but there is also a broad consensus on how things are sensible to be done.
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thomas-neemann
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by thomas-neemann »

gooddealonly wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:57 pm ...
my opinion: if you want to get really good at it, you have to be willing to invest a lot of time. I would say > 90% practice and the rest read on the internet and youtube
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Shalmeneser
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by Shalmeneser »

* Open the files in the forum : compare the different solutions, try to understand the spirit and the tools.
* https://studycadcam.blogspot.com/ has a lot of printed examples.
freedman
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by freedman »

My suggestion:
Find an instrument case, something that has a flat front and rear panel. You could go to a second-hand store and find something that's small enough to sit on your desk, tear it apart so you can measure it with calipers and a ruler. Start by making a hand drawing with key measurements and model the flat panels, these will be simple pads with cutouts for A.C. hook-ups and buttons. This will lead you to modeling the connectors and displays, switches, ect. Many of the connectors are already out there in STL's or model them yourself.

Then start on the case, this could be metal or plastic with a rounded profile, you might get to use sweep or loft to get the form. There are typically features that can be challenging on a rounded case with a bezel.

Post your questions here with your info, file and ask specific questions. Ask for help on a single issue and maybe ask the question in a way so the help forum doesn't finish the model for you, they can be too helpful sometimes. :P
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onekk
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Re: How should I learn FreeCAD

Post by onekk »

FC is complex, and persons are different, so probably my methods could not be used from anyone else.

But, first you must know some things about FC:

https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Feature_edi ... ble_models

Document Objects
https://wiki.freecadweb.org/App_DocumentObject

TopoShapes
https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Part_TopoShape

Mesh
https://wiki.freecadweb.org/Mesh


Some more advanced but related topics, they are relative to python code, but some explaining text in the links are invaluables as they are explaining relations between the three "levels of object in FC"

https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic. ... 89#p500989

https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic. ... 11#p463511

For a more low level approach that is relative to the "core of FC" his "modelling engine" OCCT you could read this:

https://dev.opencascade.org/doc/occt-7. ... algos.html

And generally all the documentation for OCCT, will gave some idea of the concept that are probably the most difficult to guess, like outside and inside or left or right that seems usually plain and easy concepts, but for a "modelling engine" that is reasoning in terms of point, edges, wires, faces, shell and solids, these "plain and easy" concepts are to be converted in mathematical expressions to make some "number crunching".

Hope this will be useful.

Carlo D.
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