A lot of projects include multiple parts made from a single sheet of uniform material – like a sheet of plywood. This causes some trouble in a CAD/CAM application
- You want to keep your overall model/assembly intact, but the build assembly isn’t the same as the cutting layout.
- You need to translate and rotate parts to maximize material usage
- You want to group operations to minimize tool changes on the machine.
For a while, I’ve been promising that we would include a solution to this in FreeCAD Path and now we’re finally getting to it thanks to facilities in the Arch workbench – Panels!
Arch Panels are designed for exactly this purpose – designing parts from uniform sheet stock. In Arch, you can define a panel object and then create a ‘Panel Cut’ to represent the 2D cut pattern for that part. These 2D cuts can then be aggregated into a ‘Panel Sheet’ for cutting.
Is that confusing? Then just watch the video. It’ll make sense, trust me. And for good measure, we now have a post-processor for smoothieboard, an exporter for linuxcnc tooltables, and improved tool handling. So there ya go.