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Learning


Aside from the documentation below, this wiki contains a lot of tutorials. See the sideboxes below for tutorials and learning material related to each subject.

Welcome!

This is the documentation website of FreeCAD. It is written by the community of FreeCAD users and developers, and is continuously being updated and extended. It might therefore contain errors, inaccuracies, or articles that describe functionality that is not yet available on the version you have installed. We try our best to fix these and make this documentation better, don't hesitate to help and contribute!


Discovering FreeCAD

Freecad default.jpg

FreeCAD is an open-source general purpose parametric 3D CAD modeler, made for product design, that is, anything you plan to build in the real world. It is mainly made for two categories of users: Professional users from the fields of mechanical engineering and product design but also from a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties, and also hobbyist and casual users who need a tool to model objects they want to build or 3D print.

Modeling for product design is usually a complex task, where precision is important. FreeCAD is therefore also a complex tool with a fair learning curve. This documentation will hopefully help to make this learning phase an interesting and enjoyable experience.


Learning


Basic modeling tutorial: Learn some basic ways to create simple geometry


Video tutorials: Discover the extensive collections of FreeCAD videos made by community members

Discovering and installing FreeCAD

  • About FreeCAD: A better and deeper description of the FreeCAD project and application
  • Features list: A list of the main features you will find in FreeCAD CLEANUP
  • Screenshots: A collection of screenshots showing how the FreeCAD application looks like CLEANUP
  • Download instructions, or the best ways to get or update FreeCAD depending on your platform
  • Detailed installation instructions for Windows, Linux and Mac
  • FAQ: The most frequent asked questions. This will help you with frequent problems and questions


First steps

Working with workbenches

The FreeCAD interface is based on the concept of workbenches. Workbenches are sets of tools typically designed for a specific task. Switching between these workbenches changes several parts of the FreeCAD interface such as toolbars and menus. Most of the tasks you will do in FreeCAD will take place inside one or more of these workbenches.


Workbench Part.png Part workbench

 

The Part Workbench provides basic tools for working with solid parts: primitives, such as cube and sphere, and simple geometric operations and boolean operations. The Part workbench provides the foundation of FreeCAD's geometry system, and is used by almost all other workbenches.


Workbench Draft.png Draft workbench

Learning


Draft tutorial: A slightly outdated but still useful tutorial showing how to use the Draft tools

The Draft Workbench provides tools to do basic 2D CAD drafting tasks: lines, circles, etc... and also provides generic handy tools that work with all FreeCAD objects, such as move, rotate or scale. It also provides several drawing aids, such as grid and snapping.


Workbench Mesh.png Mesh workbench

 

The Mesh workbench is dedicated to working with triangular meshes. Although these are not the primary type of geometry to work with in FreeCAD, meshes have a lot of uses, and are fully supported. This workbench contain many tools to work with, fix and analyze meshes.


Workbench Sketcher.png Sketcher workbench

Learning


Sketcher Tutorial: A complete tutorial to show you in depth how the sketcher works

The Sketcher contains tools to build and edit constraint-driven 2D sketches. These are the base blocks on which you can build complex parametric geometry.


Workbench PartDesign.png Part design workbench

 

The Part design workbench contains advanced tools to build solid parts from sketches. It also contains all the tools from the sketcher, and only produces solid geometry.


Arch.png Arch workbench

Learning


Arch tutorial: A complete tutorial that describes the whole process of modeling a building with the Arch workbench step by step


Arch mesh-based tutorial: An article describing how to build architectural models on top of mesh modesl imported from other applications

The Arch workbench contains tools to work with BIM projects (civil engineering and architecture). It also contains all the tools from the Draft workbench.


Workbench Drawing.png Drawing workbench

 

The Drawing workbench handles the creation and manipulation of 2D drawing sheets, used for displaying views of your 3D work in 2D. These sheets can then be exported to 2D applications or printed.


Raytracing.png Raytracing workbench

 

The Raytracing workbench offers tools to interface with external renderers such as povray or luxrender. Right from inside FreeCAD, this workbench allows you to produce high-quality renderings from your models.


Workbench Mesh.png FEM workbench

 

The Fem workbench permits the performing of pre- and post-processing FEM calculations and display the results graphically


Workbench OpenSCAD.png OpenSCAD workbench

The OpenSCAD workbench offer tools for interoperability with OpenSCAD and repairing CSG model history


Workbench Image.png Image workbench

 

The Image workbench features tools to work with bitmap images, and import bitmap images as planes in the FreeCAD document, so they can be used for tracing over.


Workbench Robot.png Robot workbench

The Robot workbench provides a complete interface to simulate and study robot movements


FreeCAD-Ship-Ico.png Ship workbench

Learning


Ship s60 tutorial part 1 and part 2: A tutorial showing how to work with a symmetric monohull ship in the Ship workbench

The Ship workbench is a suite of tools to create and work with ship hulls.


Plot Save.png Plot workbench

The Plot workbench allows to edit and save output plots created from other modules and tools.


Spreadsheet Create.png Spreadsheet workbench

 

The Spreadsheet workbench permits the creation and manipulation of spreadsheet data, that can be extracted from FreeCAD models.


Customizing FreeCAD

The workbench system is not to be considered as a limitation to your freedom, but simply a way to organize large quantities of tools and offer different workflows inside a single application. They are however extensively customizable, so you can tailor your interface to your preferences and needs.

Python scripting

Strong support to python scripting is one of the main strengths of FreeCAD. Almost any part of the FreeCAD application is accessible to python scripting: the core application, the interface, the 3D view, and almost all of the modules functionality. Python scripting can be used from the FreeCAD python console, from macros, from external scripts or even from external applications, FreeCAD being importable as a python module.


Learning


FreeCAD scripting tutorial: A general look at python scripting in FreeCAD and a gentle introduction to how to work with it...


Tip: If you are interested in helping to develop FreeCAD, even if you work with C++, the python documentation pages are worth reading, since in FreeCAD things work very similarly between python and C++.

The basics

Modules

Examples

  • Code snippets : A collection of pieces of FreeCAD Python code, to serve as ingredients in your scripts...
  • Line drawing function: How to build a simple tool to draw lines
  • Dialog creation: How to construct dialogs with Qt designer, and use them in FreeCAD
  • Embedding FreeCAD: How to import FreeCAD as a Python module in other applications
  • FreeCAD vector math library : A couple of handy functions to manipulate FreeCAD vectors. This library is part of the Draft module.

Development

The following articles will be useful to you if you wish to look deeper into the FreeCAD source code, modify it, or simply compile FreeCAD yourself on your machine.

Reference