Author Topic: A decent PLA filament.  (Read 837 times)

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2022, 08:49:29 PM »
I understand that Alibre have some cad packages that might fit the bill. It requires an internet connection to check if you are using a registered programme. I think once you have bought it it's free for life with the option of paying a yearly fee for upgrades and support, not sure how that works. I have seen many screenshots on the forum that are from Alibre, so others will know more about it than me.
Lee

Offline bent

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2022, 10:52:52 PM »
Well, I browsed the FreeCad site briefly to check.  Apparently, in v0.20 (the most recent release, which I've downloaded) has a taper option included in the Pad function (i.e. you can create an extrude/pad with taper for draft), though they mention limitations:
 - Sketches containing B-Splines often cannot be properly tapered. This is a limitation of the OpenCASCADE kernel that FreeCAD uses.
 - For larger angles tapering will fail if the end face of the pad would have fewer edges than the start face/sketch.

Not sure if typical lettering fonts are b-splines (I don't think so?).  There is apparently a function to convert splines to tesselated arcs.  Might be easier to find fonts with minimal fancy shapes.  Will play with it a bit when I get home tonight.

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2022, 11:33:26 PM »
I didn't know that about FreeCAD 2.0 I might have another look.

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2022, 12:13:53 AM »
I re-installed FreeCAD 2.0 to try out the text extrude with draft feature. I could get it to do that with a single letter, but not a string. I created an extruded surface to put some text on, but the text didn't want to sit on the surface or the grid. I shut the programme down and uninstalled it. It is so frustrating when a programme has the same problems from release to release. I will stick with Designspark, not perfect, but so much better than poor old FreeCAD!

Offline internal_fire

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2022, 12:41:09 AM »
I recommend using the latest so-called development versions of FreeCAD. You can find them linked from the download page of the main FreeCAD website.

These development versions are "unstable", but that does not mean what one might think. The unstable part means that the master code is updated continuously, multiple times per day. However the usual meaning of unstable, namely prone to crashes, is almost the opposite. Many of the continuous updates are bugfixes, so the development version is actually more "stable" than the official releases. And lots of new capabilities are added all the time.

I have been using FreeCAD for years, and yes, it is different from other CAD programs. However, it is quite capable for design of various objects once one learns the details.

Disclosure: I am a moderator for the FreeCAD forum, and I may have a slightly biased view.  :ROFL:

Gene

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2022, 08:15:54 AM »
I am often unfair to FreeCAD. Considering that it's free and maintained by volunteers it is amazing. I have produced some good designs with it, but, it's failure to not manage simple tasks like puting text on to a nominated surface and other shortcomings, have virtually stopped me using it for serious design work. I still dabble now and then, for old times sake! Here are some drawings of a half size Austin Seven cylinder block produced in FC 0.18.


Offline ddmckee54

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2022, 05:32:45 PM »
Bent:

I use Designspark3D, and have used it for years.  It is adequate, but not great.  Text in Designspark is a royal PITA, and you can't mirror a 3D object.  I still use Designspark, but I'm trying to wrap my head around FreeCad.

Don

Offline bent

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2022, 06:11:58 PM »
Hunh.  You had better success than me, A7er, in FreeCad 0.20 last night, I tried to extrude a text string, and got it to finally work, but not with taper.  I think some letters will allow a taper, others won't.  May be down to the particulars of the font, the one that came with the code has rounded ends and b-splines for the curvy bits, both of which may cause trouble in a tapered extrusion according to the documentation.  And yes, the whole switching workbenches to have a text input, then back, then trying to link the created designstring (or whatever its called) sketch to the original pad and get it to accept it...is a pain.  "Clunky" is how I think the user interface is best described.  But I can deal with clunky if the behavior is predictable and I can figure it out...time will tell. 

As noted previously, I've managed to get some simple shapes modelled in FreeCad, exported to STL files, sliced in Slic3r and printed via the "Getting Started" app that came with the printer...and then went back and tweaked one part to get the fit correct via the whole train, so that is working for me.  And now SWMBO should be happy(er?) because my roller skis are up off the floor and occupying an otherwise unusable corner of the entry closet hanger rod...felt pretty clever about it, haven't shown her yet (she is sleeping off the effects of latest Covid booster shot).

I may see about downloading a 30-day trial of Alibre, I too have seen a lot of people using it who like it.

Don, I have not yet downloaded DesignSpark, but may just to check it out.

Gene, is there a particular branch of the code you might recommend to us, and where is it located?  I've seen mention of them somewhere, possibly forum and/or reddit posts, but have not had time to dig into it.

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2022, 06:56:52 PM »
Bent.
I believe the "Realthunder" version of FreeCAD is the one some youtubers like. I did try it, but it fell short of what I want to do.

Solid edge has every bell and whistle you could want in a cad programme, apart from cnc. It too is "free". My only real objection to some free programmes is the possibility of the free option being withdrawn or limited in some way as with Fusion 360, and if I remember rightly, Onshape a couple of years ago.

Edit.
I watched a video on the tube from The Hardware Guy. He showed how to put text on a surface. I tried it on 0.18 and then installed 2.0 on a laptop. My first attempt worked. I created a rectangle centred around the origin, then extruded backwards, to give me a surface then switched to the draft tool where I selected the shapestring. Using the tahoma font, I pressed the reset button so the middle of the rectangle was where the text would start and hit ok. the text was in the middle. I then switched to part design and selected the shapestring so I could adjust its position to approx middle of the rectangle. I extruded 2mm and added 5 deg draft. It worked. I wanted to try a different font. No matter what I did, the shapestring wouldn't sit on the surface of the rectangle, as it did before. Also the grid would show. So as per usual with FreeCAD, life is too short to play with it. I un-installed it from the laptop. Back to designspark. I am sure there are those who can make FreeCAD sing and dance. I can't.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 09:12:33 PM by A7er »

Offline bent

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2022, 06:29:45 PM »
I have to agree with you, A7er, FreeCad is a cool idea, but falls short for me (clunky interface, unpredictable behavior).  Frustrating.

I did download a trial version of Alibre, and played with it this weekend.  Its UI is different, but usable, and some features are limited (e.g. you can't loft a hollow section), for the most part it's capable of doing what I want with a minimum of fuss, and a near zero learning curve (for me).  I'll probably end up paying for a seat of it, after exploring a couple more options.  Oh, and yes, it will extrude tapered fonts, Tahoma was one I tried; some others fail depending on the character shapes (serifs and other thin features disappearing...the letter "B" causes most issues).  I built several parts using Alibre, and had minimal issues.  One minor problem is that it won't import a .stl file, which I thought might be useful if trying to modify other people's files.  FreeCad can import .stl meshes...but converting them to solid files has not been very successful for me (probably more due to the poor quality of the .stl mesh, not the program - I've had problems converting .stl meshes even with Inventor).

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2022, 06:39:45 PM »
I am not up to speed when it comes to stl's. Does Alibre import any other format based on stl? FreeCAD has a great deal of import/export formats, I wonder if you could import an stl into FreeCAD and then export as a file Alibre can work with. That's how I get fancy text into Designspark, export from Inkscape into FreeCAD then export a different format into DS.
Lee

Offline bent

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2022, 06:19:25 PM »
Freecad can supposedly import .stl files and export them to CAD-friendly file formats by doing a "mesh to solid" conversion.  Tried it on a few Thingiverse .stl files, and they threw errors...but I don't know if there were just unrecoverable problems with the .stl file (unfilled mesh?) or if the error was on my part (not knowing the proper sequence of Freecad commands - do I hold my left elbow up, or my right, and do I do a jig first, or after?) ... ::)

Offline A7er

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2022, 06:32:18 PM »
Mesh to solid is supposedly a bit iffy, not just in FreeCAD.

Offline Admiral_dk

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2022, 11:27:01 AM »
Since nobody else replied - yes Alibre do Import of quite a number of formats.
I can't remember how many .... and I only have Alibre @ home - so no peeping now.

I have only used some of the Import formats, and with very few exceptions they have worked just fine. I have had some looking like a mesh afterwards - it is kind off like having see-through walls/sides - they work just fine, but looks strange ....
Some Import Formats have several Parameters that you can adjust during Import.
I have also seen a few Error Messages - where the Part was as expected, none the less.

Per

Offline bent

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Re: A decent PLA filament.
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2022, 04:52:25 PM »
I think Alibre will only import solid files, i.e. .SAT, .STP (all 3 flavors), as well as solid part files from other major brands (Autocad and Solidworks included, but not sure if you need to buy an upgrade for the Acad stuff).  Usually, I export and import .STP files here at work, they are more or less universal across 3D cad programs.

Mesh files (.STL and others) are what come out of surface modelling programs; most of these should work fine unless somebody has modified them by adding in another mesh (e.g. in Blender) and then not properly combining the two meshes (e.g. doing a Boolean "union").  Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff on free sites appears to be of the latter, poorly modified variety.  No biggie to me (other than as curiousities), but friends and family are keen to have me print figures of their favorite characters or DnD stuff...which don't always work well.

So far I'm pretty satisfied with Alibre, I've banged out several decent models with minimal issues.