I have been using Calculix through Mecway for private consulting I have done ages ago. The one issue is that I am unable to run Mecway on my work laptop since it is not company software.
How do you use Calculix for analysis? There are possibly several ways which I can think of however I would be keen to hear the benefits from people using the software.
The two options I have seen are PreProMax and PyCCX.
If you are using linux you could also try my calculix component for coreform cubit. Preprocessing will be done in cubit and for the postprocessing you can either use cgx or paraview. I`ve got a .frd and .dat to paraview converter built in, so viewing single parts or integration point results is also possible.
The next update will contain a windows build but i don’t have a time shedule for that right now.
Freecad for geometry and prepomax for FEA.
Sometimes cgx to fill the gaps for post processing eg cyclic symmetry
For CFD freecad with the openfoam add-on eg to provide pressure loading on FEA model.
Check this recent thread with a similar discussion: Best workflow for beginners
It may also depend on what you want to simulate.
It seems that PreProMax is probably the best option. I was hoping to see more Python tools, but I have had issues working with some of them.
All the 3D modeling on Freecad and exported to step file system.
Preprocessor, calculation (calculix) and post processor on Mecway.
alternative workflow in cross-platform OS: SolveSpace as parametric CAD (Step files), Netgen standalone mesher (tetrahedral and tria/quad element), CGX capabilities to import Vol mesh files including group of nodes. Spreadsheet for analysis template (material database and parameter dependent, layered/composite shell section, coupling constraint, nonlinear spring, etc)
If you are in your employer computer, you could model in your actual CAD suite (Solidworks/Solidedge/NX…), and then export as stp. Then use Salome to mesh and create groups of nodes/surfaces/elelemnts, and use the Scite that came with bConverged Calculix to create your input files, and launch CCX and CGX. I did it lot of time as a replacement of Abaqus. You will end creating and understand very clean and compact input files that can be reused easily as they are appart from the mesh file (use the *INCLUDE card)
Run FreeCAD/gmsh/CalculiX on your own laptop. The work gets done and no fights with IT. But tell your supervisor and make sure they have your back on this. They should certainly appreciate the price/performance ratio compared to commercial offerings.