The Draft Workbench allows you to draw simple 2D objects, and offers several tools to modify them afterwards. It also provides tools to define a working plane, a grid, and a snapping system to precisely control the position of your geometry.
The created 2D objects can be used for general drafting in a way similar to Inkscape or Autocad. These 2D shapes can also be used as the base components of 3D objects created with other workbenches, for example, the Part and Arch Workbenches. Conversion of Draft objects to Sketches is also possible, which means that the shapes can also be used with the PartDesign Workbench for the creation of solid bodies.
FreeCAD is primarily a 3D modelling application, and thus its 2D tools aren't as advanced as in other drawing programs. If your primary goal is the production of complex 2D drawings and DXF files, and you don't need 3D modelling, you may wish to consider a dedicated software program for technical drafting such as LibreCAD, QCad, TurboCad, and others.
These are tools for creating objects.
- Line: draws a line segment between two points.
- Wire: draws a line made of multiple line segments (polyline).
- Circle: draws a circle from center and radius.
- Arc: draws an arc segment from center, radius, start angle and end angle.
- Ellipse: draws an ellipse from two corner points.
- Polygon: draws a regular polygon from center, radius, and number of sides.
- Rectangle: draws a rectangle from two corner points.
- Text: draws a multi-line text annotation.
- Dimension: draws a dimension annotation.
- BSpline: draws a B-Spline from a series of points.
- Point: inserts a point object.
- ShapeString: inserts a compound shape representing a text string at a given point.
- Facebinder: creates a new object from selected faces on existing objects.
- Bezier Curve: draws a Bezier curve from a series of points.
- Label: places a label with an arrow pointing to a selected element. available in version 0.17
These are tools for modifying existing objects. They work on selected objects, but if no object is selected, you will be invited to select one.
- Move: moves objects from one location to another.
- Rotate: rotates objects from a start angle to an end angle.
- Offset: offsets segments of an object a certain distance.
- Trim/Extend (Trimex): trims or extends an object.
- Upgrade: joins objects into a higher-level object.
- Downgrade: explodes objects into lower-level objects.
- Scale: scales selected objects around a base point.
- Edit: edits a selected object.
- Wire to BSpline: converts a wire to a B-Spline and vice-versa.
- Add point: adds a point to a wire or B-Spline.
- Delete point: deletes a point from a wire or B-Spline.
- Shape 2D View: creates a 2D object which is a flattened 2D view of a 3D object.
- Draft to Sketch: converts a Draft object to a Sketcher Workbench Sketch and vice-versa.
- Array: creates a polar or rectangular array from selected objects.
- Path Array: creates an array of objects by placing the copies along a path.
- Point Array: creates an array of objects by placing the copies at certain points. available in version 0.18
- Clone: clones the selected objects.
- Drawing: writes selected objects to a Drawing Workbench page.
- Mirror: mirrors the selected objects.
- Stretch: stretches the selected objects. available in version 0.17
Additional tools available from the menu Draft → Utilities, or via the right-click context menu, depending on the selected object.
- Set working plane: sets a working plane from a standard view or a selected face.
- Finish line: ends the drawing of the current Draft Wire or Draft BSpline, without closing it.
- Close line: ends the drawing of the current Draft Wire or Draft BSpline, and closes it.
- Undo line: undoes the last segment of a Draft Wire.
- Toggle construction mode: toggles the Draft construction mode on or off.
- Toggle continue mode: toggles the Draft continue mode on or off.
- Apply style: applies the current style and color to selected objects.
- Toggle display mode: switches the display mode of selected objects between "Flat Lines" and "Wireframe".
- Add to group: quickly adds selected objects to an existing Std Group or Draft VisGroup.
- Select group contents: selects the contents of a selected Std Group or Draft VisGroup.
- Toggle snap: toggles object snapping on or off.
- Toggle grid: toggles the visibility of the grid on or off.
- Show snap bar: shows or hides the Draft Snap toolbar.
- Heal: heals problematic Draft objects found in very old files.
- Flip Dimension: flips the orientation of the text of a Draft Dimension.
- VisGroup: creates a VisGroup in the current document.
- Slope: changes the elevation slope of the currently selected Draft Line or Draft Wire. available in version 0.17
- AutoGroup: automatically place new objects in a given Std Group or Draft VisGroup. available in version 0.17
- Set Working Plane Proxy: create a proxy object to store the current Working Plane position. available in version 0.17
- Add to Construction group: add selected objects to the Construction group. available in version 0.17
- Preferences: general preferences for the working plane and the drawing tools.
- Import-Export Preferences: preferences available for importing from and exporting to different file formats.
The Draft module provides FreeCAD with importers and exporters for the following file formats:
- Autodesk .DXF: imports and exports Drawing Exchange Format files created with 2D CAD applications. See also FreeCAD and DXF Import.
- Autodesk .DWG: imports and exports DWG files via the DXF importer, when the ODA Converter utility is installed. See also FreeCAD and DWG Import.
- SVG: imports and exports Scalable Vector Graphics files created with vector drawing applications.
- Open Cad format .OCA: imports and exports OCA/GCAD files, a potentially new open CAD file format.
- Airfoil Data Format .DAT: imports DAT files describing Airfoil profiles.
- Coordinates: enter coordinates instead of clicking on the 3D view to define a new point.
- Constraining: limit the pointer to horizontal or vertical movements relative to a previous point.
- Snapping: place new points on special places on existing objects or on the grid.