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Creating 3D CAD designs in FreeCAD - Using the Parts Workbench

FreeCAD is an open source 3D design program available for Linux and Windows. It is a 3D parametric modeller, which means that models are designed by adding constraints that determine the relationship between shapes and dimensions. This can make it difficult for beginners faced with a steep learning curve to learn the concept before they can put it into practice. I've already created a beginner video, but I found there were not many videos that explain the next step of how to create more complex models from multiple parts.

You can see my earlier video: Beginners FreeCAD tutorials, or my other 3D printer / CAD projects.

I've therefore created this follow-on video based around using the FreeCAD Part Workbench

Creating a Fan Extension Arm to 3D Print

Due to a heatwave in the UK I've been trying to find a suitable fan to cool my son. I found a small clip-on fan, but it has limited movement so I couldn't position it where I wanted to. I therefore designed an extension arm. I created it as a two part arm so as to also provide additional adjustment.

In my first attempt I made the arm using just the part design workbench. This was easy enough to design but I realised I'd made the arm too big and so it wasn't very stable. I tried to modify my existing design, but making adjustments broke other bits of the design and broke the overall CAD model.

I then experimented using the Part workbench, creating the arm from different bodies and also using the simple 3D shapes such as the cylinder. I discovered how it makes the design easier and made it so that it could be adjusted afterwards. I show these in the video demonstrating how I could adjust the angle of the parts easier than when it was created as a single body. Once you understand it, it is actually a much easier and more natural way to design parts.

I also created groups for the bodies which made selecting them easier and made it easier to export ready for 3D printing.

FreeCAD part workbench, combining multiple bodies into a single 3D print object

Learning more

See my Beginners FreeCAD tutorials

There are more guides to creating 3D models and use of a 3D printer at Penguintutor 3D design and 3D print projects

Also see:

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