Calculix – FreeCad – NetGen what else????

Previously I talked about gmsh and NetGen and showed a generated mesh. I did’t go much in detail and will continue to not do so for now. Noticed on a few blogs that FreeCad had a specific FEM environment that supposedly would work connected to Calculix and NetGen.

I found this really good tutorial in https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/FEM_tutorial

Basically it is a FreeCAD help to get running the FEM module. I did exactly what was here, but not on my mac since I know that I would face eventually some difficulties. I used windows.

I had to install the necessary modules for everything to work.

Calculix, NetGen, Gmsh and a plugin from here https://github.com/psicofil/Macros_FreeCAD

To be honest I didn’t have that many expectations since It is a freeware simulation packages built from many separate projects. I wasn’t expecting much….

The interface was surprisingly easy to use compared to Gmsh or Calculix alone. Take a look bellow.

FreeCAD FEM Boundary Conditions
FreeCAD FEM Boundary Conditions

Meshing wasn’t a trouble but it looked like it created something similar to a spider web.

FreeCAD FEM Mesher
FreeCAD FEM Mesher

Before running the resulting mesh with boundary conditions.

FreeCAD FEM BeforeResults
FreeCAD FEM BeforeResults

The final step was to solve and look at something move or visualize some colors. To visualize the final solved solution was very simple. I just had to press results.

FreeCAD FEM Deformed State
FreeCAD FEM Deformed State

Final comments: simulation starts to become user friendly and looking back there has been remarkable advances in the open community search for a free and open source FEM software. Although far from perfect it is usable and these will be the drivers of a even more persistent and strong effort to match comercial software since more users will start to use these types of FEM packages which would not be possible until today.

So who is the main beneficiary? The hobbyist and the entrepreneur.