Why work on FreeCAD?

In this experiment, or maybe it’s better described as a case study, I intend to try spending a couple weeks “working” as an open source developer working on FreeCAD. So, why FreeCAD?

freecad-bb-tool-snapshot

Screenshot of a bike tool drawn in FreeCAD

First and foremost, I’m working on FreeCAD because I want access to a good 3D CAD program for my own projects. I do enjoy programming, and do like using open source software whenever possible, but at the end of the day I’m OK with paying a reasonable amount for good software and there still don’t seem to be good options out there below the $1-10k range.

Second, I like the “maker culture” that seems to be growing at least partially out of the open source software movement, and I like the idea of advancing that culture. I think that a freely available 3D CAD package would be a real boon to the maker movement, so by helping make FreeCAD better, I’m helping other people make interesting things. There’s tons of interest in 3D printers, for instance, and right now the options are quite limited for free software to design 3D printable things.

Third, FreeCAD development sits right at the intersection of several personal interests – User interface design, mechanical engineering, robotics, programming, etc. At this stage of development, I think there are plenty tasks within the FreeCAD project that I could contribute to. So, it seems like a fun project to contribute to.

Cost: One coffee

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