Book of the Week: FreeCAD 0.19 Learn by doing

By on April 26th, 2022 in book

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FreeCAD 0.19 Learn by Doing [Source: Amazon]

This week’s selection is “FreeCAD 0.19 Learn by Doing”.

This book is published Tutorial Books, who have published dozens of “how to” introductory texts on a wide variety of 3D tools, but this particular book is all about FreeCAD.

FreeCAD is an open source 3D modeling tool, competing with commercial tools such as SOLIDWORKS, Fusion 360, etc. However, as an open source tool it is available at no charge and can be downloaded anytime.

Just because it’s an open source product doesn’t mean FreeCAD is an introductory tool. It is a powerful 3D tool able to create complex designs and assemblies, and is used by many in the community. It is able to export designs in popular 3D formats used by commercial tools, including STEP, IGS, STL, OBJ, and others.

The current stable version of FreeCAD as of this writing is 0.19, and that’s the level covered by this book. FreeCAD is now able to run on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, all in 64-bit mode.

The book begins with an exploration of the FreeCAD user interface, which is somewhat different from other tools. Each tool is unique in this way, and often the UI is the biggest barrier for early learners.

The book then moves on to sketching, a critical function that is used to create curves that are later extruded into 3D shapes. Sketching is more complex than one might imagine, but there are plenty of examples of how to create all manner of sketches here.

The next section of the book deals with how to transform those sketches into 3D solid objects through a variety of techniques included with FreeCAD. Then you’ll learn how to “dress up” the solids with features such as threaded holes, pockets, etc.

The remainder of the book explores more advanced techniques, such as generating patterns of objects, creating formal drawings, solid modifications and assemblies, which are designs containing multiple parts.

Each section of the book is laid out in tutorial fashion, with specific examples being explored for each concept. At the end of sections there are questions and exercises to firm up your FreeCAD skills.

I’m thinking that as the capabilities of desktop 3D printers continues to increase, we will see more people coming into the technology for the first time. These folks will soon tire of printing other people’s 3D models and want to do their own, but they will be shocked by the pricing of some commercial 3D tools.

That’s where FreeCAD could help out a great deal: it’s sufficiently powerful to produce relatively complex objects, and is available at no charge.

But you may need a book to help get you started on FreeCAD, and this book could be the one.

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Via Amazon

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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