Tutorials and Tools¶
I was impressed by what I could do using Blender and other tools so I wanted to pursue learning that tool step by step.
Same for FreeCAD.
Because I know that I should learn to document better I will document that here.
Here’s the list of tools I used during my FabAcademy.
- Blender: For artistic design (not CAD) more similar to sculpting with a computer or rendering CAD designs and animating the designs
- FreeCAD: Tried it, learned some but it is very complicated to use some features, possible to use for CAM but I did not test it.
- Onshape: Great tool, works in the browser, I suspect suboptimal performance because of that but it makes it very portable. It also runs on Android and iOS. Not possible for CAM in a easy way. Very intuitive, I sticked to it.
- Fusion360: Perfect if you are running Windows, posssible to be run in the browser but not optimized to do so, optimal for CAM.
- OpenSCAD: I used it to reuse pieces of the Urumbu stage in my final project, to modify some Prusa printer and OpenFlexure pieces.
- Inkscape: for vectorial drawings for example to send to a vynil cutter, laser cutter or embroidery machine
- GIMP: For image modeling
- kolourpaint: Paint equivalent on Ubuntu
- Kdenlive : Open source Video editing tool
- KiCAD : Open source electronics design tool
- Mkdocs : Open source tool to make simple static websites hostable on Github pages or Gitlab.
Other useful tools¶
Here are the tools I use, would like to learn or that I believe would be interesting at some point:
- LTSPICE : Electric circuit simulator, it seems possible to install it on Linux systems but it’s native to Windows
- KLayout : Open source software for silicon designs and possibly microfluidic designs as well. Interestingly, it’s a licensed under a GPL license but is open to commercial applications (including non GPL scripts).
- Candle : Open source tool to control a GRBL CNC
- bCNC : Open source tool to control a GRBL CNC (alternative to Candle)
- Whimsical: Saas based on a Freemium model very good for drawing visual structures (mindmaps, flowcharts, sticky notes and wireframes)
For the ones I learned during the FabAcademy, I described my learning process and the tutorials I followed below.
I am learning Blender because I want to be able to publish my work and show it to everyone. I want to make it beautiful and make people dream about the result of my work.
To do that I want to create and render my creations in Blender.
Blender Guru seems to have excellent videos so I am following his tutorials.
Here they are:
I plan on continuing the tutorials but did not take enough time to do so until now.
I also discovered that Ferdinand Meier of FabLab Kamp-Lintfort has made some tutorials on Blender and I followed one in Agrilab during our local Fab16 and he was an excellent professor so I imagine that it’s good but I don’t know yet.
I am learning FreeCAD because I want to design pieces independently from any private interests.
I want to make it functional designs and interface it easily with programming tools such as Python.
To do that I want to create and prepare machining, laser cutting and other using FreeCAD.
The tutorials on the offical website seem like a good starting point. I have already done the first 2 in the week 3 on CAD, so I’ll continue from there.
I documented my experience in the week 3 on CAD
I skipped the tutorials of Inkscape and wanted to learn it properly and thus joined the Global Open Time on Saturdays to ask for advice regarding good tutorials.
I was adviced to start with the included tutorials that are in Inkscape.
To find them, go in the Help menu and click Tutorials or “Didacticiels” in French.
I documented that learning in the week 3 on CAD
I plan of following the tutorials made by Ferdi of FabLab Kamp-Lintfort.
I want to test programming CAD to draw simple parametric designs in the blink of an eye.
I hope I’ll get some time to do that. I think it can be great for simple projects.
I learned it to continue the work on the Urumbu project and be able to modify and contribute to the OpenFlexure microscope. I documented that learning in the week 3 on CAD
KiCAD is a tool to design electronics schematics and translate them to PCB designs.
I started on the official website but the first tutorial listed dated back from 2015 and version 4 of KiCAD where the current version is 5.1.9.
To follow my journey about that check the Electronics Design week
I have to edit many images to publish on my website and GIMP is a great tool for that.
On top of that, it is open source and thus I won’t have to pay a cent in the future which is very nice.
I will eventually start a tutorial to test it and improve my skills. I also want to test BIMP for batch processing of images.