Welcome to our FreeCAD tutorial for 3D printing. FreeCAD is a 3D parametric modeler, designed to create and customize real-life objects. Its beauty lies on the easiness to modify your designs, together with the open-source principle, and of course, being for free.
In this 5-lesson FreeCAD tutorial, you will learn the basic commands and tools to visualize your ideas on screen for 3D printing. We will construct a seemingly simple object – step by step. After each instruction, you will find pictures highlighting the steps. By the end of this tutorial, you will be ready to print your first self-constructed CAD model.
In the first lesson of this FreeCAD tutorial, you are going to learn the basics to handle the program.
Before you start with a project you will have to decide what units you are going to use. In this FreeCAD tutorial, we are going to work by using the metric system.
When you open FreeCAD you should see something comparable to this:
Click on “Create new”. Now you can set your preferred navigation style. For this tutorial, we will use Blender. Rightclick > Navigation styles > Blender.
The menu allows you to use navigational gestures similar to other softwares, This can be useful if you use other softwares or plan to move to another software. A handy feature to allow easy use when switching softwares or perhaps prepare you for another.
You are ready to get going! Follow these steps to change the units.
How to change units in FreeCAD
Now start a new document by pressing CTRL+N. You will see a new, unnamed tab opening in the bottom left side of the window.
If the Combo View window on the left is already open you can skip the next step.
Open the Combo View by clicking on View > Panels> Combo View
This window is very useful to issue commands quickly. It also contains the Tree and Property view which allows you to have a closer look at the structure of your project.
To build a three-dimensional object you will first have to sketch a base.
FreeCAD automatically sets constraints to your sketch as you see in the Constrains window on the left. Click on Close to exit the Sketch. You can now extrude the sketch to a three-dimensional object.
You can also move the object around and take a look at it from different sides.
To begin with Lesson 2 of this FreeCAD tutorial, open the last lessons project and switch your Workbox to Part Design. At first, we want to hollow out our box with the cut feature.
Set the dimensions of the Pocket feature found in the combo view.
In lesson 3 of this FreeCAD tutorial, you are going to learn how to multiply a piece and make corners round. To begin open the box you created in lesson 2.
Create a fillet from the circle pads with the radius of 2.4mm.
First create a rectangle on the existing rim. Cut it by 2.5mm and then select the outward rim of your box to create a fillet.
In lesson 5 of this FreeCAD tutorial, you will create the cover of your box. The cover will be curved and hollowed out with the Revolution feature. No, you are not going to overthrow any government but you will create a solid curved shape around a sketch. To begin open a new document and save it as “Box cover”. Then switch your Workbox to Part Design.
So, you are all set to 3D print your model.
If you don’t own or have access to a 3D printer, you always can use a 3D printing service like the ones that you find here: Craftcloud - 3D Printing & Price Comparison Service by All3DP.
Be aware that minor modifications might be needed to tackle problems that may arise during the 3D printing process.
Congratulation on completing this FreeCAD Tutorial for 3D Printing!
If you have any questions or problems regarding this FreeCAD tutorial, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. Also, if you want to add suggestions for this course, please use our feedback forum – thanks!
License: The text of "2019 FreeCAD Tutorial for 3D Printing – 5 Easy Lessons" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.