MetalWB, for welding part design
This tutorial introduces the newly developed MetalWB workbench. MetalWB aims to facilitate the design of welding part with new functions and by grouping existing functions.
Step 1: Workbench installation
The source code of the project is available in open-source in the Framagit repository of the Cyclonomia association.
To install it via the Addon manager, add the repository to the preferences as below. To install it manually, just copy the 'freecad_metal_workbench-main' folder into the 'Mod' folder of the FreeCAD software.
Step 2: Workflow and Toolbar
To facilitate the design of welding parts, the MetalWB toolbar currently integrates part design, welding, 2D/3D sketching and structuring functions. The ultimate goal will be to replicate the workbench of most CAD software: from creating an contour to exporting a spreadsheet that lists each part of the assembly.
NB: Weldment part is made up of several bodies, as in an assembly, where each Body represents an element to be welded.
Step 3: Sketching
MetalWB includes drawing tools to facilitate the creation of 3D contours as a basis for welded structures. In particular, the 'New Sketch' function allows you to create contours as shown below. The sketches can be tilted, copied and pasted or moved manually.
Functions of Curves workbench allow you to add parametric lines. Previously created sketch lines can be used as the basis for applying the divide or line between two points functions.
A function to create a parametric cube has been added to quickly reproduce rectangular structures.
Step 4: Welding part design
Create frame with sketch lines is done using the 'WarehouseProfiles' function, specific to the MetalWB workbench. It is presented as a dialogue windows, showed below, where the user can fully define the profile. Pressing the 'OK' button will create a set of bodies, where each body represents a flow.
Each of the bodies created via WarehouseProfiles can be parameterised. Parameters can be accessed from the properties to obtain a more refined result.
Other mechanical welding functions are available at the experimental stage: a fit and stretch function and corner management functions.
Step 5: Collaboration with assembly workbenches
The welded part can be assembled with other elements via the different assembly workshops: A2plus, Asm3 or Assembly4. Below, the Atelier Paysan's all-purpose carrier has been modelled using Assembly4, which allows the mechanism to be animated, here according to the angle of the wheels and axle.
It is also possible to model missing elements directly via Part Design as below where the tray and wheels of the hand trolley are created from the tubes. This method can be used in combination with the previous one. It is particularly effective if the elements to be added have not been modelled at a later stage and one wishes to adjust the dimensions directly to the welded part.
Thank you for following this presentation, do not hesitate to test, share and why not contribute to the development of this new workbench.