Path ToolShape

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Description

ToolShapes are a core part of the Path Tools system. ToolShapes are the templates from which ToolBits are created. They represent the specific physical shape of a tool. A ToolShape does not completely describe the bit - for that some additional parameters are needed which will be added when an actual bit is parameterized from the template.

Initially ToolShapes are just FreeCAD documents with a single Body created from the Workbench PartDesign.svg Part Design workbench.

Creating new ToolShapes is an advanced topic. The most commonly needed ToolShapes already exist and are provided with the FreeCAD installation at:

  • On Linux it is usually /usr/lib64/FreeCAD/Mod/Path/Tools/Shape
  • On Windows it is usually C:\Program Files\FreeCAD\Mod\Path\Tools\Shape
  • On macOS it is usually /Applications/FreeCAD/Mod/Path/Tools/Shape --> has to be revised

They are:

ballend.fcstd
bullnose.fcstd
chamfer.fcstd
drill.fcstd
endmill.fcstd
probe.fcstd
slittingsaw.fcstd
thread-mill.fcstd
v-bit.fcstd

These can be found in the /Mod/Path/Tools/Shape/ subdirectory where FreeCAD was installed.

Usage

  1. Create a new FreeCAD document.
  2. Open the Workbench PartDesign.svg Part Design workbench.
  3. Create a body and give the body a label you want to show up in the bit selection.
  4. Create a sketch in the XZ plane and draw half the profile of the bit.
    • Put the top center of the bit on the origin (0,0).
  5. For any constraint serving as a parameter for the tool (like overall Length) create a named constraint.
    • The name is the label of the input field.
    • Names are split at CamelCase boundaries into words in the edit dialog.
    • Use a ; in the name to add help text which will show up as the entry fields tool tip.
    • If the tool is used by legacy ops it should at least have one constraint called Diameter.
    • Use construction lines for constraints that are not directly accessible, like Diameter and Angle.
    • Any unnamed constraint will not be editable for a specific tool.
  6. Once the sketch is fully constrained, close the sketch.
  7. Revolve the sketch around the z-axis.
  8. Save the document as a new file in the Shape directory.

Tool Thumbnail Images

Toolbits will have a small icon image of the tool in the tree if the image is saved with thumbnails active.

Important notes:

  • Before saving the document make sure you have Save Thumbnail selected, and Add program logo deselected in FreeCAD's preferences.
  • Also make sure to switch to Front View and Fit content to screen
  • Whatever you see when saving the document will end up being the visual representation of the template

Options

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