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Free or inexpensive 2D cad for clock wheels

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Chris TickTock29/06/2020 15:58:22
577 forum posts
41 photos

Hi, I am currently refining my clock making skills and whereas some spokes can easily be milled out others are more of a challenge. One solution is to create a drawing to act as a template. Currently I am looking to find free or cheapish CAD that will enable me to lay out the spokes on the wheel. Emachines offer free gear software but I cannot see a spoke capability. FreeCad seem a tad too complex for my limited use.

Any suggestions welcome

Chris

Pete White29/06/2020 16:15:26
108 forum posts
8 photos

I have used Qcad for years, Linux but there is a Windozz version and been very happy. I am now searching for something that works on a chromebook ?

Chris TickTock29/06/2020 16:30:28
577 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by Pete White on 29/06/2020 16:15:26:

I have used Qcad for years, Linux but there is a Windozz version and been very happy. I am now searching for something that works on a chromebook ?

Thanks Peter, I will look at QCAD some of these are not at all intuitive: it's a matter of degree.

Chris

DiogenesII29/06/2020 16:41:40
130 forum posts
50 photos

I've relatively recently discovered this;

Drawing Board App Features

..it's about £16 to buy the full package, but one can trial it for free.. ..I have no commercial interest in this product, I simply wanted a CAD package that can generate technical drawings in a way that I can get my head around in hours rather than days..

Don't be put off by the fact that it calls itself an "App" - I think they are somewhat underselling it.. Although it's not mentioned in "Features" linked to above, one can switch between absolute, relative, or polar coordinates in the same drawing, which I guess is what you will need for drawing your crossings out..

John Haine29/06/2020 17:35:04
3324 forum posts
176 photos

I assume you want to make a drawing you can cut out and stick to the material - otherwise just draw on he metal with ruler and compasses. Open Office Draw, or the very similar Libre Office Draw, will do that fine. Both free.

Chris TickTock29/06/2020 17:43:59
577 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by John Haine on 29/06/2020 17:35:04:

I assume you want to make a drawing you can cut out and stick to the material - otherwise just draw on he metal with ruler and compasses. Open Office Draw, or the very similar Libre Office Draw, will do that fine. Both free.

Thanks John, your right with my intent and am appraising whether to just hand draw with deviders / compass or stick on a print both methods may have their virtues.

Chris

SillyOldDuffer29/06/2020 18:07:50
Moderator
6313 forum posts
1382 photos

Another vote for QCAD. It can definitely do what Chris wants, not so sure about Drawing Board (Windows 10 only) though it has many similarities to QCAD and almost certainly can.

What makes Mechanical CAD hard is new ideas like coordinates, snap and layers, the multitude of tools to be learned, plus the discipline imposed by technical drawing requirements. 2D CAD isn't designed for rough sketching, and attempting to drive CAD software below a certain level of understanding will cause frustration and confusion. Beware of very easy to use drawing software for CAD work; in the long run it's probably too simple. Simplicity is great until the owner needs to do something advanced, at which point basic software runs out of steam and leaves him in the lurch. If precision technical drawing is needed, you have to get stuck in to something a bit grown-up.

I don't know of a package that does a moderately difficult task like laying out spokes without learning a few basics first. If it's useful I can post how spoked wheels are done in QCAD; the community edition is free.

Dave

Chris TickTock29/06/2020 18:48:42
577 forum posts
41 photos

Got an alert stating SillyoldDuffer had posted recommending QCAD could create the spokes and if it would help he would post how to do it. Yes please it would be a great help. Post not arrived here for some reason.

Chris

Chris TickTock29/06/2020 19:57:44
577 forum posts
41 photos

Update.

https://woodgears.ca/gear/index.html

for £21 you get a really simple piece of software. Is it good enough, I will have to think on it, it generates spokes but with little choice apart from the number of spokes required. Then again to date this seems a fair enough solution for most wheels. Any thought on it from you guys?

Chris

SillyOldDuffer29/06/2020 21:42:26
Moderator
6313 forum posts
1382 photos

Spokes with qcad.

First download and install QCAD professional trial from here. Probably the Windows 64 bit version or otherwise to suit your computer. It's the full Pro version of qcad but it only works in 15 minute bursts. It can be fully enabled by paying a fee, or downgraded to the Free Community Edition by following the instructions further down the same page:

QCAD Community Edition

If you are looking for the free open source QCAD Community Edition, you can download the trial version for your platform (see above) and then remove the QCAD Professional add-on running in trial mode (click Remove in the Trial widget and follow on screen instructions).

I think the Pro version is worth the money, but the Community edition is plenty powerful.

A qcad icon should appear on your desktop, or be found by typing qcad so windows can find it. Start QCAD.

A screen like this should open:

qcadstart.jpg

On the left hand side is a block of buttons, each opening a type of drawing tool, lines, circles, rectangles etc. Hovering the cursor over a button should display a short description.Start by drawing the wheel circles. Click on the circle button

circlechoice.jpg

And all the circle drawing buttons appear

circlesmenu.jpg

The first three are the most common: draw a circle by pulling a radius with the mouse; draw a circle by typing a radius; and draw a circle by typing a diameter. Choose the diameter tool and a menu ringed in red will appear. These settings will draw a 50 unit diameter, full circle (0 degrees), positioned on screen from the circles centre. The circle is moved into position by the mouse and clicked. When drawing it helps to use snaps, which are shown in the green ring. Auto snaps to the nearest object. On an empty screen only grid points are available, more complicated drawings can snap to the end or mid point of a line etc

circlediameter.jpg

Plonk the circle anywhere convenient, then change the diameter to draw two more circles for the hub and outer wheel. Mine are 40 and 10 units in diameter:

wheel.jpg

Spokes will have to be tomorrow. The cat is demanding food with menaces!

Happy to answer questions.

Dave

Paul Janes29/06/2020 23:43:12
16 forum posts
2 photos

The print that you create has to be produced at an exact 1:1 scale if you intend to use it as a template for cutting out. Ensure that the CAD software that you use has a feature to calibrate the printer independently in both the X and Y direction to make the correct size print.  Simply adjusting an overall scale may fix the print in the X direction but not the Y direction. 

Paul.

Edited By Paul Janes on 29/06/2020 23:49:30

blowlamp30/06/2020 00:07:58
avatar
1416 forum posts
86 photos

Gearotic would be ideal for a clockmaker like yourself, but unfortunately it is $120 USD.

Martin.

Chris TickTock30/06/2020 08:47:38
577 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by Paul Janes on 29/06/2020 23:43:12:

The print that you create has to be produced at an exact 1:1 scale if you intend to use it as a template for cutting out. Ensure that the CAD software that you use has a feature to calibrate the printer independently in both the X and Y direction to make the correct size print. Simply adjusting an overall scale may fix the print in the X direction but not the Y direction.

Paul.

Edited By Paul Janes on 29/06/2020 23:49:30

Thanks Paul,

Have noted your post which is well worth taking on board. For my uses a qualty compass and deviders seem quite attractive. Cad if affordable and easy to use allows you to play with diameters for milling but I am getting persuaded the additional complexity is not justified.

Chris

JasonB30/06/2020 09:04:54
avatar
Moderator
18839 forum posts
2067 photos
1 articles

The plus side of CAD is it allows you to play around with spoke designs to get something that looks appealing without having to cover your nice bit of brass with a load of unwanted scribed lines. More so once you start to want to do more decorative work with non radial, tapered or curved spokes.

Once you have settled on the design then you can either use the CAD to give you line and arc positions that can be marked out on the metal or just print and stick a template onto the work. It will also give you co-ordinates if you want to drill out all the internal corners and then mill between them with no marking out or template.

Chris TickTock30/06/2020 09:11:54
577 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 29/06/2020 21:42:26:

Spokes with qcad.

First download and install QCAD professional trial from here. Probably the Windows 64 bit version or otherwise to suit your computer. It's the full Pro version of qcad but it only works in 15 minute bursts. It can be fully enabled by paying a fee, or downgraded to the Free Community Edition by following the instructions further down the same page:

QCAD Community Edition

If you are looking for the free open source QCAD Community Edition, you can download the trial version for your platform (see above) and then remove the QCAD Professional add-on running in trial mode (click Remove in the Trial widget and follow on screen instructions).

I think the Pro version is worth the money, but the Community edition is plenty powerful.

A qcad icon should appear on your desktop, or be found by typing qcad so windows can find it. Start QCAD.

A screen like this should open:

qcadstart.jpg

On the left hand side is a block of buttons, each opening a type of drawing tool, lines, circles, rectangles etc. Hovering the cursor over a button should display a short description.Start by drawing the wheel circles. Click on the circle button

circlechoice.jpg

And all the circle drawing buttons appear

circlesmenu.jpg

The first three are the most common: draw a circle by pulling a radius with the mouse; draw a circle by typing a radius; and draw a circle by typing a diameter. Choose the diameter tool and a menu ringed in red will appear. These settings will draw a 50 unit diameter, full circle (0 degrees), positioned on screen from the circles centre. The circle is moved into position by the mouse and clicked. When drawing it helps to use snaps, which are shown in the green ring. Auto snaps to the nearest object. On an empty screen only grid points are available, more complicated drawings can snap to the end or mid point of a line etc

circlediameter.jpg

Plonk the circle anywhere convenient, then change the diameter to draw two more circles for the hub and outer wheel. Mine are 40 and 10 units in diameter:

wheel.jpg

Spokes will have to be tomorrow. The cat is demanding food with menaces!

Happy to answer questions.

Dave

Thanks Dave, i got that far myself so when you get a minute if you can show how to do the spokes if it can be done would be obliged.

Chris

Michael Gilligan30/06/2020 09:27:45
avatar
16351 forum posts
712 photos

Please forgive the apparent digression, but now seems a good place to reference this : **LINK**

http://www.clickspringprojects.com/wheel-crossing-jig.html

... creating a CAD template of JMW’s jig would be a very good start, Chris

MichaelG.

Alan Wood 430/06/2020 10:05:19
152 forum posts
6 photos

Look at Gear Wheel Designer by Graham Baxter. This allows all manner of wheel design, spokes, centres etc. It can output as a DXF into Fusion or similar 3D CAD or it can give you a CNC GCode to cut the wheel. I have had a great deal of success with it. Cost is circa USD100. See my various blog entries here by searching on Gearwheel

Nick Clarke 330/06/2020 10:57:21
avatar
877 forum posts
28 photos
Posted by John Haine on 29/06/2020 17:35:04:

I assume you want to make a drawing you can cut out and stick to the material - otherwise just draw on he metal with ruler and compasses. Open Office Draw, or the very similar Libre Office Draw, will do that fine. Both free.

But beware that computer printers do not necessarily print out accurately and when gluing, the paper can change size and shape as well.

Paul Janes30/06/2020 11:13:33
16 forum posts
2 photos

" beware that computer printers do not necessarily print out accurately " which is why the CAD software must be able to calibrate the printer to do so.

A test print of a square is normally sent to the printer and then measured. The out of scale discrepancy for the X and Y direction is then entered into the software and it compensates for this to print correctly.

Also be aware that paper prints can stretch with moisture and prints on plastic with heat.

Paul.

SillyOldDuffer30/06/2020 11:18:13
Moderator
6313 forum posts
1382 photos
Posted by Chris TickTock on 30/06/2020 09:11:54:

Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 29/06/2020 21:42:26:

...

Thanks Dave, i got that far myself...

Good, means you've 'clicked' so the rest should follow. Sorry if patronising but I'll show all the steps in case any are new.

Last post left QCAD with 3 circles as the hub and rim of a wheel.

Next button to know is Reset/Idle under 'File'. It goes back up a level. Press it to get back to civilization:

goback.jpg

To draw a spoke we need a Line Tool, top right:

linetool.jpg

Pressing it shows them in the left-pane:

linetools.jpg

The first four are common cases. The first, draw a line between any two points is most used. Draw a line connecting the two inner circles.

guideline.jpg

It's a construction line to be deleted later. (Construction lines are often put on a Layer. Simple drawings can happily be done on one layer, but more are great for complicated work. Drawing a wheel template is simple, layers not needed.)

Next press the parallel line button (Red & Black lines like an H):

parallewithdistance.jpg

It makes parallel copies of a selected line, distance set in a dialogue:

pwithddialog.jpg

Use it to create parallels either side of the construction line.

centerselected.jpg

The construction can be deleted leaving a single crude spoke. Next rotate and copy around the wheel. This is done with a modification tool, selected by pressing the red pencil button.

modificationtools.jpg

Press the rotate button, top right. It rotates and optionally copies selected objects around a point, here the wheel centre. More than one line is selected by clicking with the Shift key down.

spokeselected.jpg

rotatetool.jpg

The rotate dialogue:

fivespokerotate.jpg

Do multiple copies, say 5. Also set the Angle (a) to 360/5 & press OK

basicwheel.jpg

OK but not pretty. The spokes can be rounded with another mod tool:

chamferround.jpg

Spoke ends can be rounded to a set radius:

roundedspoke.jpg

Tidying up can be done with the Mod delete tools. The easiest is only in the Pro Version - 'Break Out Segment' deletes a line between two lines, making it straightforward to clean up the spoke. Worth paying for.

roundedcleanspoke.jpg

I rotated straight spokes and tidied up after. Better to draw one spoke correctly first and to copy the others from it. Once a single spoke has been drawn any reasonable number may be coped and equally spaced around the hub.

Hope it makes sense?

Dave

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