Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Open-Source to the rescue!
To create these designs, RepRappers use different programs - Either an adapted 3-d modelling programs, originally used for animation (like Blender and Art of Illusion), or freeware versions of CAD software (like CoCreate). These solutions work, and work well, but each program has seperate advantages. I've been looking out for a 'better fit' - a CAD-style program, that supports building meshes and solids.
Make magazine today furnished me with a link to FreeCAD.
It's pretty slick - either I'm quite lucky, or it works quite well. Within a few minutes I was able to load it up, get started, create a small cube model, export it to an STL file and import it successfully into the RepRap Host software (not always an easy thing!).
OK, lets give it a real test...
Let's load up some data from a complex file: a human head.
To really test it, I created a large sphere, stuck it on top, and did a 'union' (Join).
This is not nice: most complex geometries cause all sorts of bent and broken and backwards triangles. Lucky there is an analysis tool to point all this out:
Pressing some of the 'repair' buttons sorted all this out.
This exported easily to an STL file: and then loaded straight into the host software.
It started to slice and print to gcode : it got to 55 layers through before I got bored and turned it off.
FreeCAD is currently alpha software so far, but certainly one to watch!
I might have to (gasp!) read the manual!
> couldn't figure out for the life
> of me how to move an object
> around with the mouse. Pointers?
Middle click with mouse, and move around;)
I have difficulties to install python-pivy on ubuntu jaunty. (dpeendency hell)
Ok, I definietly need a tutorial. The program looks promising, but Im unable to figure out how to create a bit more complicated object.
So lets compile a tutorial about creating one of the darwin/mendel part!
Im definietly interested in it.
Here is how the program looks like:
I would love to see a tutorial how to create a simple solid like this.
For 2D drawing, this tutorial looks promising:
But, I cant find any tutorial about creating 3D CAD models, like our mendel parts.
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