Apr 27, 2015

Best Linux distribution for 3D printing?

I researched a bit for a best Linux distribution focused on 3d printing and found CAE Linux. It is loaded with digital fabrication and 3d design software packages.

Here is the description for the project site:
Thanks to Open Source, now you just need to insert the CAELinux LiveDVD in your computer to turn it into a free and open engineering development workstation with CAD, CAM, CAE / FEA / CFD, electronic design and 3D printing features: no licence and even no installation is required !

Based on the open-source CAD/CAM software such as Freecad, LibreCAD, PyCAM and Cura and CAE softwares like Salomé, Code_Aster, Code_Saturne,OpenFOAM and Elmer , you can design your CAD geometry, perform multiphysics simulations to optimize your design, generate G-code for prototyping with 3D printing & milling, and even develop your own PCBs & microcontroller based electronic circuits for automation. 
For example, using Freecad, you can design your parametric CAD geometry with ease, generate a computation mesh and setup your simulation problem in Salome_Meca in a few minutes. After your design is checked you can go on preparing a G-Code for CNC milling a prototype with PyCAM or 3D printing it with Cura.
With the integrated open-source tools of CAELinux, you can simulate incredibly complex physics with the open-source FE & CFD solvers Code_Aster, Code-Saturne, OpenFOAM & Elmer: non-linear thermo-mechanics, coupled fluid-structure dynamics, seismic / non-linear explicit dynamics, contacts, visco-plasticity, fluid dynamics, heat exchange, convection heat transfer and radiation in other words nearly all physics problem can be addressed with the integrated solvers!! Then reload your results files in post-processing applications like Salomé, GMSH or Paraview to visualize your data in 3D... And don't forget all these features are based on open-source / free softwares, so now you don't have to pay for any expensive licenses and if you want, you can even improve it.

Here is a video overview of CAE Linux:

CAE Linux homepage: http://www.caelinux.com/CMS/

There is also good 3d printing support in Fedora 19 distribution.

Hopefully the CAE Linux team will update the distro soon since the last release is in 2013.

Here are series of video tutorials going into more details of the software installed by DrRMFithen. Great guides on how to use open source CAD and 3d design: