FreeCad workflow

This is a fork of a previous thread.

This is MY workflow, not saying it is the right way to work for anyone else than me. This approach is for a “parametric model”, which is a 75 cent word for a model that changes when you change key dimensions.

  • Create a master partfile called “Master” … I know original. This partfile will contain my spreadsheet and my assembly to see how it all fits together. (I use A2Plus at the moment)

  • Determine the important dimension of the assembly (notice I did not say part) I want to make, then define them in the spreadsheet. For me an assembly is say a table, and it is composed of parts like legs stretchers, top etc.

  • For each part I first create a body in the “Part Design” workbench. It will ask if I want to create using a sketch … yup. Then I want the sketch in the X-Y plane. Constraining sketches can be a challenge, but that is the case with ALL CAD sketchers … in a previous life I used Siemens UG-Nx, same issues.

    The sketch is constrained with dimensions… the value of those dimension CAN come from the spreadsheet. This is the magic… update the spereadsheet then open/update/close the files and it is all synced … assuming it was a valid input option.

  • Once I have all my parts looking reasonable, I go back to the Master and start using the A2Plus workbench to put my parts together. As you start lining things up this is where I realize that forgot to subtract a stock width on adjoining parts and go back and tweak the spreadsheet.

  • Once my assembly look good I go back to the individual parts and decide, tablesaw/CNC/lathe whatever. Assuming the decision is CNC in each part I fire up the “Path Workbench” and start generating toolpaths.

    FreeCad is set up to run big boy machines but, ie tool changers but it does just fine on the buildbotics. (note to self: can FreeCad manage coolant?.. guess I will find out)

I hope this helps



Super write-up. Although I use VCarve for my 1F, I’m a big fan of Freecad for my 3D fabrication work. Nice to see a workflow outline in a non-mechanical context.