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Custom Parts with FreeCAD and STEP Files

We've had tutorials on our website on how to use FreeCAD to create DXF files to create custom parts on our website. DXF files are supported by nearly every CAD software package. Recently, though, we began supporting STEP files for instant quotes as well. STEP files are supported by almost all CAD packages just like DXF files, but have the ability to store 3D part information as well. In this tutorial, we'll take a quick look at how to get an instant quote on a part designed in FreeCAD using STEP files.

To start off with, here's a 3D model of a custom gear created in FreeCAD. 

FreeCAD Screeshot 1

To turn this into a STEP file, click the solid body in the model tree for the 3D item you're trying to export. The rendered object will be highlighed.

FreeCAD Screeshot 2

Next, from the File menu, pick Export...

FreeCAD Screeshot 3

Pick STEP from the Save as Type dropdown list. Choose a file name and location where you want to save the file and click the Save button.

freeCadStep03b

Now the STEP file is ready to be uploaded to the Big Blue Saw website for instant online ordering. On the Big Blue Saw homepage, click the Get A Quote button.

FreeCAD Screeshot 4

On the quoting page, click the Browse button and select the STEP file you created with FreeCAD.

freeCadStep05

Click the Upload button to send your file to the Big Blue Saw website.

FreeCAD Screeshot 6

Since the file we created is a 3D file, the website will ask you which angle best represents the 2D profile that can be made into a real part using waterjet or laser cutting. From this page, we'll use the "Top" view by clicking on it.

FreeCAD Screeshot 7

Next, you'll need to choose your material and thickness.

FreeCAD Screeshot 8

Finally, you will be able to see an quote on the design. From here, pick Add to Cart to check out and get your custom part delivered.

FreeCAD Screeshot 9

Here's a video showing the whole process:

Still having trouble? Contact us!