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CAD Standards Group
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  • I'm a proffesional CAD designer and I work with AutoCAD. But that is my day job not my passion. I'm also a Linux user and would love to see freeCAD used. I've used Draftsight and I think it is a fantastic tool for 2d. Really in the end I think the output format is all that really matters.

    What I would like to see is:

    1) PDF as output
    2) A standard title block format
    3) A dimensioning unit standard

    What these are matters much less than just having something agreed apon so we don't make confusing drawings.

    The rest I think is much less important and could be tackled as problems arise.
  • AndrewBuck wrote

    As far as units and the dimensions of piping/angle iron/flat iron used to build the models, we should make a page on the wiki with common standard and metric sizes of each type of thing as well as sourcing and pricing info. Then we restrict ourselves to building models only using parts from one list or the other

    Well, I think it might be a good idea to create standards for material and tools, and I think its an urgent task now, before too many designs have been finished, using too many different pipes, flats, bore diameters and screws/nuts/bolts. Remember, easy and cheap replicating of designs is only possible when you don't need a fleet of expensive tools. Also, if one day producing own materials is working in OSE, how can that work if we need to fabricate thousands of dimensions of flats, rounds, pipes etc.

    I have some typical standard forms for such a standardization collected and converted to English. These are typical forms of factory standards for their own production. Not the items in these standards are important, just want to show You the layout and system for those standards.

    Just begin with the diameter file, because thats the base for many of the other forms. Next to consider would prob be threads and drills. Finally the other files

    I have used MS office format, but Open Office will work too. Again, I haven't developed a complete system, just a systematic approach how such standards could be defined. The system is in metric, because imperial is rather strange to me

    Hopefully we get a standardization before it is too late.


    Diameter.xls 22K
  • now all files packed as zip
    Attachments 241K
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    August 2011
    So how is work on CAD standards going these days?

  • @mjn: So being new to OSE, is this thread how we work and set out tasks for working on the CAD standards? And then as different things get decided on they get transferred over to the wiki?

    @Bastelmike: I like what you've started with on your standards, referencing DIN specs is good but we'd also need equivalent ASTM/ANSI standards. I can see material choices and requirements are going to get interesting as the designs progress. I'm gone until next week, but when I get back I'd like to talk more about what you've done already.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    August 2011

  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    August 2011
    >  So being new to OSE, is this thread how we work and set out tasks for working on the CAD standards?
    Note quite.  This place is a discussion of such standards.  Not much progress has been made towards truly defining standards, I'm afraid.  I expect some de facto standard to emerge, probably based on the tools that Marcin is using at Factor e Farm.

    >  And then as different things get decided on they get transferred over to the wiki?
    Ultimately, Marcin makes the decisions.  Since he doesn't usually read the forums, what ever is discussed here is unlikely to impact his thoughts on the matter.  Email him directly if you have a serious suggestion.

    - Mark
  • @mjn: Interesting! I've been in contact with Marcin now and hopefully we'll get some sort of ball rolling on the CAD side soon. Thanks for the help Mark.
  • My apologies for jumping in a bit late on this discussion.  I am not a CAD expert by any means; I learned a bit of AutoCAD way back in junior and senior high school, and I have tinkered around a little with Google Sketchup.

    I would like to address a couple questions made a few times this thread as to why it would be of value to use open source software only.  Open source is readily exportabe, whereas commercial software is not (someone would have to have the commercial software to work on the blueprint), which will badly stifle open source innovation.  I fully realize FeF is building the GVCS using tools and parts they must buy because of practical reality; the GVCS must be complete before FeF can itself produce the parts from the raw resources to make the tools they need; this is not a serious problem.  However, in regards to the CAD drawings for blueprints, the ability for others to use and work with the CAD files produced will be very limited if commercial software is used.  Eventually, the goal would be to allow the GVCS CAD blueprints to be acquired and used anywhere ... if you produce CAD blueprints with commercial software, those blueprints will be completely inaccessible (aside from whatever snapshots you export from them, which would not be manipulable nor developable) in impoverished and undeveloped areas where the GVCS would otherwise do the most good.  "Commercial now, open source later" would be a difficult thing to do and might result in all the blueprints done in commercial software now having to be redone from scratch in open source later; they will be more workable (and could be more readily worked on) if done with open source software from the start.

    I know OSE has some experienced Information Technology guys on hand.  If the open source CAD software is inadequate, maybe community members who are also programmers could help out by helping develop that open source CAD software to at least put in (or get to a working state) the features the CAD team would need.

    It sounds like FreeCAD and BRL-CAD are the only options, and neither are perfect.  If the free version of Google Sketchup is up to the task, that's a consideration too ... technically, its not open source, but it is free (well, the free version is anyway).  I know Sketchup can do the dimensionals.

    As for word processing, I use OpenOffice ... but I've heard I 'should' switch to LibreOffice because OpenOffice is endangered by a corporate buy-out and the developers behind it forked off to LibreOffice.  I don't know much about the details of the shenanigans.

    I feel quite strongly that CADding and writing documentation for the GVCS will only ultimately succeed if we use open source (or at least free) software so that we can share our working files (not just the polished published files, which probably should be in .PDF since I know open source software [OpenOffice] can readily export/write to it and it really helps to preserve page formatting which can be important).

    I think we do need a leader to make a determination on software standards.  I don't think anyone wants to override anyone else's thoughts, but I think at least some of you are a bit like me, always wanting to yield to the other guy to make a move, but that means we all wind up waiting eternally at the intersection.  I seem to recall reading that Marcin has thrown down the gauntlet of having blueprints and instructions for the CEB and LifeTrac published by this December ... so the tools need to be picked now.  I most definitely am not qualified to lead ... I probably have the least experience of anyone here with CAD, only have 8 months professional technical writing experience (and that was for an aerospace factory in 1997!), and I just joined OSE.  If Marcin hasn't appointed someone, then maybe those of us interested in working on the CAD and technical writing end could consider organizing ourselves and figure out a good leader.  The first task would be to determine software standards.

    I guess a good question is who here has the most experience, especially as a team lead for CAD or documentation/technical writing?  I am very confident I do not.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    >  If the open source CAD software is inadequate, maybe community members
    who are also programmers could help out by helping develop that open
    source CAD software to at least put in (or get to a working state) the
    features the CAD team would need.

    In general, the open source CAD applications are not sufficient for what OSE needs to make prototypes.  Building a new applications based on OpenCascade has been discussed (recently), but it is a MAJOR development effort.  I doubt a usable application could be developed in time for it to be of use next year.  There is, however, the possibility of extending an existing application like FreeCAD (which is based on OpenCascade) to meet our needs.

    - Mark
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    September 2011
    I am using Torchmate CAD for  my table.  For plasma table fabrication, a DXF file is not enough for fabrication unless there are torch lead in, order of cut,  tool path,set up in the file.  (free tutorial)

    Because everyone uses a different system, might I suggest a vector drawing in bmp that most programs can import?  Or could there be a seperate toolpath dxf file that is ready to send to cut?

    The Torchmate CAD lite program is $250 but it is very powerful for making 2D items and having the files gcode ready.  I have found it easier to use than lazy cad, free cad, and several other programs. 

  • Has anyone else tried out DoubleCAD XT?

    I'm needing to access the .DXFs for reference information, and am hoping to find a decent CAD program that can read and write .DXFs.  DoubleCAD XT promises to do so ... they have a pro ($) version, but promise the free version is free forever, doesn't inhibit saving nor expire inconveniently.  Sounds a bit, in terms of its free/Pro, like Sketchup versus Sketchup Pro.  It also promises to be a powerful alternative to the $4000 AutoCAD.

    I'm going to give it a try, unless others have and have good reason for it not to work.

    If anyone else wants to check it out, it is at
  • haha great timing! I just downloaded that last friday to test when I'm back from vacation next week. Hopefully someone else has had the opportunity to try it out too and can report back, otherwise after I spend a few hours on it I'll let you know what I think too.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    From browsing on their web site, it looks like DoubleCAD leans towards architecture.  While it may be capable of support any drafting needs, it probably excels at designing buildings.

    - Mark

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