Sunday, 11 July 2021

FreeCAD tips and gotchas

I've been using FreeCAD more often recently and I know enough to create the sorts of models I usually want. From time to time I find something in FreeCAD that is either useful or confusing.


Don't Mix Part Workbench with Part Design

FreeCAD 0.19

I was surprised that the shapes in the Part workbench do not fit in to the same structure as the Part Design workbench. This means that if you try to mix the two, the result does not fit in to the Part Design tree structure. That ends up making further edits very awkward.

It is possible to use them together with the aid of shapebinder but that is a concept I also find very confusing.


As the primitives from Part workbench can also be created in the Part Design workbench, there is no need to make life complicated by trying to mix the two.

Boolean Fuse on Moved Parts Clone

FreeCAD 0.19

I spent ages trying to fuse two parts where one clone had to have its position transformed to be in the right relation to the other.

The gotcha is that the Part Transform function is ignored when doing a Boolean on a clone. It is necessary to manually adjust the position of the clone component item, not the whole part.


Once I knew where to edit, the fuse was fairly easy. That said, you do have to know how the Add Part button works for the Boolean method, its a toggle. Once on you can just click any other object and the bool happens.

Can't Export STL if Boolean is Last

FreeCAD 0.19

If the last action, in Part Design, is to use a boolean, the STL or OBJ file exported will be empty.


I just did a superfluous operation after the boolean and the model exported perfectly!


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