Has anybody used FreeCAD to create custom amplifier enclosure made from combination of pressed steel and aluminum?

You can design anything with FreeCAD once you know how to use it. Same is true for Solidworks and any other capable mCAD tool.

I'd go for FreeCAD since it is open source and free of cost.
How is Solidworks even an option for a DIY project? Don't they charge four to five digits per seat (and year)?

There are some good tutorials for learning. As usual, first it is tough, especially in case you are new to mCAD, but once you understood how it works and have some routine, designing a chassis for is easy and fun.
 
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3DExperience Solidworks for makers is $10/mo or $99/yr.

AlibreCAD is cheap, as low as $150 one time fee for a license, easy but fairly basic.

Fusion360 is freeish, cloud based, you don't truly own your creations.
Onshape is free to sign up as a student, cloud based free accounts are public access, you don't truly own your creations.

FreeCAD is free, open source, you own your files completely, but quite complex. There are many tutorials however, I would recommend starting with Mangojelly youtube channel. Very powerful CAD once you get a hang of it.
 
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Could put a schematic / hand-drawing of what you have in mind ?

1) Using Freecad to simply put various elements into 1 box to check the space constraints (but i also did the same with card board!).
I have used it with various level of success for heatsink (let's say, it took me 2hours to have a not so glorious result, whereas it took 30minutes with Fusion360)

2) For flat front/rear panel, i used Front Panel Design (https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/front-panel-designer). It can export a step to re-use in Freecad

3) If you plan to have bended sheet metal, it is possible to do with Freecad.
Same experience than heatsink between Freecad & Fusion. I have used the sheet metal module to do acrylic laser cut + hot bending to create a transparent case.


Basically:
= if you want quick but might get burned in the future: Fusion360 and you save locally (to avoid cloud issue)
= if you don't mind the learning curve: FreeCad.
(this is only a personnal assessment)
 
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Hi all,

I am wondering if anyone approached such project and if anyone can point me to some good guides on how to do such a thing?

I have also heard about Solidworks, but not sure which one is better?

Thanks,
Pavlo
Any good CAD program does good job.
I use Autocad since 1995

You can find a free copy of Autocad 95 on the internet and it will install on Windows 11.
If do I have the 32bit installer for Autocad 95.

Dave
 
I wonder what kind of chassis you have in mind.
Which parts would be pressed steel and which ones aluminum?
How should it look like in the end?
What is the application?
What I imagine for pressed steel somehow does not apply to typical audio chassis.

In case you are planning to design a typical audio amplifier chassis made of extruded aluminum radiators and plain aluminum sheets as walls, designing this using FreeCAD is fairly easy to learn because you don't need to learn many features of the software.
Here is an example (designed using FreeCAD):
chassis.jpg

Above you see the bespoke typical amplifier chassis.
The CAD was reverse engineered from a sample I bought and then I added custom drills and cut-outs.
What you would need to learn to draw this:
  • How to create, orient and dimension a sketch
  • How to pad a sketch to form a solid object
  • How to cut a solid object (padded sketch) with another sketch to create cut-outs (for the radiator fins for example)
  • How to use a sketch for drilling holes into an object
  • How to use arrays and clone objects for less work and higher efficiency (optional)
  • How to place screws (screws are missing in the illustration), kind of optional
  • In case the chassis needs feet: How to revolve a sketch to form a cylindrical item
  • How to create manufacturing drawings
I have used different tools in the past they they work more or less similar, some are more user friendly, some less.
To be honest, FreeCAD sometimes lacks a bit on the user friendliness side, especially for positioning objects.

In case you are into folded sheet metal, FreeCAD can do it, but I haven't so I cannot advise.

The base chassis without any customization may take an hour to design (once you know how to do it).
 
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Hifi2000/Modushop shared some 2D of their boxes, so i could use it as a reference for parts placement and front panel customization.
I went from their 2D to a 3D with different tools (Freecad/Front Panel Designer).
Easy thanks to them
From cardboard to finished product with front panel done with Front Panel Designer https://www.diyaudio.com/community/threads/pictures-of-your-diy-pass-amplifier.166784/post-7275519
A mix of hand drawing/Front Panel/FreeCad (maybe a bit of Fusion) https://www.diyaudio.com/community/...o-another-section-if-more-appropriate.402070/