3D CAD Parts

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  • This is the creation of a 3D CAD Part Library for every single part of a product
  • Creating and making 3D CAD Part files available allows the OSPD to scale by allowing parallelization of tasks early on.
  • 3D CAD Design workflow is facililated by having source files of individual parts that make up more complicated assemblies.


Before a complete CAD model is complete in an open source product development process - or before the design is finalized - there are parts of the design that are known or established early in the development process. These constitute the 3D CAD Library. The 3D CAD Library for a given development project can be started in parallel with other early phase steps of a project, and can be used to draw from during the completion of the complete 3D CAD Design model. This is consistent with OSE's modular breakdown approach: where any machine can be broken down into parts. In the FreeCAD workflow, it is effective to build a design by importing individual parts. Thus, we pay attention to making sure that these parts are available - and that these parts are technically correct. Technical correctness can come from attention to details when drawing a part from scratch - or from readily-downloadable commercial sources. For example, McMaster-Carr has freely downloadable STEP files for all of its products.

The parts established early for a given project's 3D CAD Library can be set by virtue of:

  • Requirements for the product design
  • Product Ecology - the treatment of OSE design as an integrated set, not a bunch of individual parts. As such, there are certain design specifications and part choices that are predetermined by virtue of Product Ecology.
  • Part Libraries - a list of accepted parts, which should be specified in the Requirements
  • Design discussions
  • Review and Feedback
  • Analysis of Industry Standards

And others.


To create a part library, list all the parts, and create CAD for them, and document them as a gallery on the wiki with the picture of the CAD screenshot.

More hints:

  1. Create a part natively in FreeCAD, or download a part of interest from the internet in STEP format
  2. There are some part creators in FreeCAD, such as the Fastener Workbench in FreeCAD, which allows you to create bolts and nuts of any specifications.
  3. If a part is downloaded as STEP, it will be an uneditable 'dumb file' without an underlying editable sketch. It may be useful to redraw such an object natively in FreeCAD, such that the underlying sketch may be modified in FreeCAD.
  4. Open the STEP files and save them in FreeCAD as http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Project_Name_3D_CAD_Parts


See also Part Library Protocol