We have just published our own build of FreeCAD with built-in Ondsel Solver and the new integrated assembly workbench. Now everyone can take an early look at the assembly workflow coming in FreeCAD v1.0.
The basics of an integrated assembly workbench in FreeCAD are now functional and will be ready for wider testing once another pull request is merged. This means you can play with it now in the development version of FreeCAD and when version 1.0 is out, you will be able to create or link parts, create joints between them, and solve the assembly — in just a few clicks, out of the box, without installing any add-ons.
We started this series with the assumption that there is a strong community demand for a default assembly workbench in FreeCAD. The community discussion that followed that article confirmed our belief. We then researched existing options — Assembly 2, A2plus, Assembly 3, and Assembly 4 — and even quickly studied related workbenches and macros.
Our research had a number of limitations though. We avoided exploring the earliest solutions such as the original workbench by Jürgen Riegel and FreeGCS because they were incomplete. We also decided against studying both Exploded Assembly and Animation workbenches because this type of feature deserves dedicated attention.
There are several more tools that provide a subset of their features, and these tools regularly come up in discussions on creating assemblies: the BodyBuilder macro, the Manipulator workbench, and the Part-o-magic workbench. Since none of them can realistically serve as a foundation for a potential default assembly workbench, in this review, we’ll focus on their interaction models to see what we can learn from them.
This is the fourth part in the series where we explore the possibility of creating a default assembly workbench for FreeCAD. We started out with a conversation about why we need a default assembly workbench in the program, then reviewed Assembly 2 and A2plus. Now let’s talk about the Assembly 3 workbench.
This is part two of our series on the need for an integrated default assembly workbench for FreeCAD. Part One gives and introduction and explains our methods. In this part, we take a closer look at Assembly 2, one of the early approaches to adding this feature set to FreeCAD.
This is the first post in the series where we discuss the need for an integrated assembly workbench, review existing 3rd-party options, and discuss takeaways from our research.