Any Advice On Workflow?

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Would anyone be interested in taking a look at my latest model and telling me how it could have been done better / more efficiently? It's hard to learn something new just from watching videos, so any feedback would be highly appreciated. Thanks!

I'm also learning FreeCAD and here are few things that I found useful:

  • Use part objects to group related geometry.
  • Avoid mixing Part Design geometry with geometry from other workbenches (some times unavoidable)
  • Keep a spreadsheet with all important part measurements for use with formulas.
  • Try to make a part as customizable as possible using formulas. (needs some extra work, but is great when you need to change things later)
  • Do not associate a sketch with any specific face as it will break when you update something later.
  • Use "Set Tip" to add features at any point in the body structure (because sometimes the order of the features matter)
  • Use the refine property of body features when needed
  • Give names to parts and feature as often as possible
  • And like duke24 said, fillets and chamfers are always the last thing

I like to see other people projects to look into other ways of doing things, so thank you for posting yours. I'm also posting one of mine in the hope that you'll find anything useful there.

I saw this last night and meant to reply, but I got sidetracked (I do that easily)... Thank you for all the good tips. I will definitely try that in my next design - soon to come. I'll check out the grommet file when I get home tonight, Thanks again!

Thank you for the Spreadsheet tip !
I have been wondering how to change the same value on different parts without doing it by hand, which is very common for prototyping as a newbie ! I now will save some time tweaking my designs !

"Do not associate a sketch with any specific face"
Any idea how to improve this ? If I change the thickness of a pad, then the face changes and this is automatically redesigned, I love this feature, but this is a pain in the a** when I change something to repair. How to go around this ?

About the sketch positioning, I do the following:

  • If the face where I need to apply the sketch is oriented on one of the main three axis, I just create the sketch without selecting anything and use one of the object planes as it's orientation (sometimes inverting it's direction using "Part Design > Reorient Sketch"), later positioning it using formulas or directly setting it's x,y,z position.
  • If the face has some angle difficult to position, I select it, create the sketch, and then remove it's association in the Map Mode on the Data tab. This probably makes it more sensible to break on changes, unless it's angle won't change and you can fix it's position with formulas.
  • Another way is to create a Datum Plane, orient and position it the way you want and then use it as the base for the sketches.

I don't know if there are better ways of doing this...

-- Update --
I found this interesting discussion about sketch positioning: https://forum.freecadweb.org/viewtopic.php?t=20464

Thank you, I will look into it. Using the formulas have been saving me some time and I am sure I will be able to use this more to move my sketches also in the future.

The spreadsheet is not only useful for storing parameters. If you find yourself using the same formulas multiple times in your design you can enter the formula into the spreadsheet, give it an alias and then just refer to that alias instead of having retype some tediously long formula. Also named constraints in sketches can be substitute to a spreadsheet if you're only handling a few parameters.

I don't often use formulas, but I was aware of the ability to use named constraints. The problem with that approach is that you have to remember in which sketch each constraint lives. And when you have the memory of a guppy.... what where we talking about? :)

Nice work! I would have done all the fillets and chamfers at the end. Then it would be easier to change something.

Thank you :)

Yeah... I noticed that when I went back to create the version with the insert. I was just doing things as they came to my mind - which as you can see is kind of scrambled!

Do you write down anything as you design - like maybe an outline of what you want to do; or a physical sketch first; or ??? I wish more tutorials would go into the thought process of why they do things a certain way instead of the standard "this is how you do XYZ". My dad always taught me it's great to know how to do something, but it's more important to know why - that way you know how to figure things out on your own.

I appreciate the advice!

No, I'm not writing anything down. My workflow is generally the same as yours, doing things as they come to mind ;)
The only thing I try to keep in mind when drawing is that I only do fillets and chamfers at the very end.
In most cases my drawings are rather messy and could be much better. But I am not a skilled draughtsman and have taught myself everything only with the help of Youtube Videos and other sources in the internet and as long as the end result works for me, who cares ;)?

lol... typically, I agree - if it works, don't mess with it. In this case, though, trying to learn something new... I'd rather not start out with bad habits and make thing harder on myself than it has to be. Thanks again!