Something slightly different

I still haven’t had enough time to do the proper troubleshooting of my latest C++ program since I started a new job and all. That said, I did start looking into open source graphical (and some non-graphical) FEM/FEA to run on my linux box just for fun. So I decided I would talk about a couple of the programs I decided to install and why. Disclaimer: I have not been able to use any of these just yet.

To start, a couple of links. – overall list of most everything. – a full suite program called CalculiX. This one comes highly recommended to me from an old college professor that was an avid OSS supporter. – almost everything you need. – comes highly recommended by the internet…. – C++ & Python package/library – a better source than the wiki above specifically for F/OSS. – another source tailored to F/OSS – an operating system specifically tailored to Computer Aided Engineering.

Now which ones did I install? I’ll start with CalculiX. Basically I installed this because of how highly my professor used to talk about it and the fact that it’s a fairly full suite when it comes to solid model analysis. Code_Aster is the next. This one I installed because it came recommended by the rest of the internet, looks to be quite fully featured, as well as appears to be updated on a regular basis. It also seems to have the largest library of supporting/training documentation. Gmsh is an open source front end and meshing software that is in most linux repositories and is quite ubiquitous from my understanding. I will likely be using it as a my front end processor when playing with CalculiX. Z88 is another ubiquitous, “repository-ready” you might say, programs that sees heavy rotation in the F/OSS & Linux using engineering world. While it is not quite as fleshed out as packages like CalculiX or Code_Aster, I kind of view it in the same way I view the text editor Vi/Vim: the harder it is to use, the more I learn about the whole process. I will definitely be using gmsh as the front-end for Z88 but I haven’t figured out which post-processor I will be using with it just yet. As for a CAD software to build the models used with all of these GUI software packages, I will start with FreeCAD, mostly because of ubiquity again. GetFEM++ is a library that claims to interface with C++, MatLab, and Python. As you’ve seen in the past couple of posts, I am interested in working with all three of these so this is a library I see myself either actively using or referencing as I build my own programs. Lastly, and somewhat tangentially related, is gnuplot. Gnuplot is the frontrunner when it comes to an open source solution to graphing results from basically anything. Octave has actively integrated gnuplot into their source; there are libraries that streamline the plotting of results from C++ and Python; I also believe there is integration with the R programming language. Either way, if integration is not there it is just a matter of working with the data from within gnuplot.

As far as the CAElinux OS goes, I will definitely be checking that one out. Just have to find a computer to put it on…. Not really enough room on the current box to do any testing and I don’t want to get rid of my current setup just yet.

So just wanted to provide a little bit of a break from just reading source code all the time. Also, you might say I took a shopping break from (not) working on my inoperable C++ code from the last post. Either way, I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to leave feedback, criticism, or a list of your own favorite open source FEA/FEM & CAD software


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