Reviews from 2012
I see there is now some active discussion on CAD/CAM so I would like to give you some hints about the status of FreeCAD:
1. after my work on the sketcher mostly been finished, we can draw all parts of a 3D printer: https://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1867
2. jriegel (project founder/manager) is actively working on the assembly module, multidocument support: http://free-cad.git.sourceforge.net/git/gitweb.cgi?p=free-cad/free-cad;a=shortlog;h=refs/heads/jriegel/dev-assembly after this step FreeCAD will be ready for real applications.
3. Collaborative modelling, a revision system and an online parts library are further objectives of the project. e.g. https://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1378
4. Concerning CAM, some former HeeksCAD contributors have joined us recently, Daniel Falck is currently our CAM expert: http://opensourcedesigntools.blogspot.com/ Sebastian Kuzminsky from linuxcnc has also joined us recently: https://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/search.php?author_id=891&sr=posts
5. We have several dedicated testers and tutorial writers.
6. In our forum you can find several OSE fans, e.g. https://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1222&p=16350&hilit=gasifier#p16311
It seems that the right persons are finally coming together to finish this extremely important task, create a professional level open source CAD/CAM system.
I will be back contributing to FreeCAD again in approximately 6 months from now. My estimation is that within one year FreeCAD will be quite ready for production work.
If you or any of your guys need further information you can find me on #freecad or #opensourceecology.
Concerning the highest project priorities:
A. Completing the assembly module / multi document support.
B. Completing the PartDesign module, take a look at the todo list here: https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=PartDesign_project
C. Improving blueprints creation would be one more task to consider.
D. CAM module
Concerning human resources:
- Jürgen Riegel is the project founder, working for Daimler Chrysler, his free time is probably limited https://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/free-cad/index.php?title=User:Jriegel
- Werner Mayer is the most active developer in terms of commits, he is just awesome, I don't know what he does professionally but if some funding can get him to increase the time of his participation, this would definitely be a great investment of financial resources.
- Yorik is our architect: http://yorik.uncreated.net and he is already dedicating a lot of hours in the development of FreeCAD, since he is a free lancer he is probably quite flexible with time, so maybe he could implement special feature requests for FreeCAD even on a paid basis.
- j-dowset, joined FreeCAD recently and has done a great work on improving blueprints creation in FreeCAD. A very appropriate task for him would be to implement a correct dimensioning system for blueprints. I believe he has the capabilities to implement any kind of feature with relatively short running in time and high quality.
- mrlukeparry is quite experienced with Qt and Coin3D so he can do a lot of GUI work. Being a student his free time is probably also limited except school vacations.
- Ickby has worked on a prototype for applying assembly constraints between parts. A special task for him would be to accelerate the implementation of the Assembly module after jriegel has finished with the basic framework/structure/design.
- tanderson69 is very good in OpenCascade, so he can work on difficult tasks that have to do with the CAD geometry kernel.
- Daniel Falck is the person to contact for CAM integration.
There are several other people in the running in process, e.g.:
I am sorry if I forgot someone.
So If you would like to accelerate the implementation of some specific features, I would recommend you to come into contact with these guys. Maybe some of them will be available for taking over additional work on FreeCAD. Of course most of the people involved, being high qualified they have good jobs and little free time but it is best to try getting them more involved before referring to new and untrained (on FreeCAD) developers.
Can you fill me in on your perspective on FreeCAD regading its suitability for evolution into a fully-featured 3D CAD package? I am interested in assessing whether FreeCAD is well-position to achieve ease of use, power, and flexibility, and modularity, that would be critical to developing a fully featured CAD/CAM solution? I would like to help bring resources in the direction of FreeCAD if that is the case.
Do you think that the interface is good, and ease of use will match other professional packages?
Is the fundamental software architecture sound - or should one use a better architecture?
Please provide insight on these issues.
From my side, Open Source Ecology needs:
- Exploded part diagrams
- 2D Cad drawings generation
- Ease of use
We also want to extend to CAM and CAE functionality, and extend to features that would allow conversion of mesh imports to parametric 3D models (like RapidWorks) in the case of 3D scanning - so that SCAN/CAM becomes a realistic option in open source software.