A Question of Software

I could feel my deadline for creating a decoration for the tree before Christmas closing, I had 12 hours, I could do this! All I need was the software; this is where thing hit a dead end for at least 6 hours as I didn’t know what I needed. I started researching, I knew I needed a CAD package that would allow me to model and design my projects but it must be able to output the part geometry to a CAM package (Computer-aided manufacturing) to determine machine tool routes and cuts via G-Code / grbl. After a while looking at software packages I hit upon a name I knew, AutoCAD. So I went ahead and downloaded it… 3 hrs for the demo! Then I stumbled across FreeCAD which not only was exactly what I needed but it was free! It has a feature called a “Path Workbench” which apparently shares many concepts with other CAM software packages.

FREECAD LINK AND IMAGES

After I downloaded and installed the package I opened it up and, well, I stopped. I had no idea how to use this package. It’s been years since I had done anything in a 3D rendering package and I have never done CAD, well not in a digital form. I went off on the hunt for documentation and tutorials. Luckily enough FreeCAD comes complete with a full manual which also teaches you how to mill a Lego block. But by this time it was getting late and I still had Christmas to think about and prepare for. I think it’s time for a well earned break. I haven’t hit my target but I have came near. Lets say the circle that the CNC drew was a Bauble. If I had cut it then I would of been able to hang it on the tree, so in a way I have hit my target.

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