Manual:All workbenches at a glance

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One of the biggest difficulties for new users of FreeCAD, is to know in which workbench to find a specific tool. The table below will give you an overview of the most important workbenches and their tools. Refer to each workbench page in the FreeCAD documentation for a more complete list.

Four workbenches are also designed to work in pairs, and one of them is fully included into the other: Arch contains all the Draft tools, and PartDesign all the Sketcher tools. However, for clarity, they are separated below.

Part

The Part Workbench provides basic tools for working with solid parts: primitives, such as cubes and spheres, and simple geometric operations and boolean operations. Being the main anchor point with OpenCasCade, the Part workbench provides the foundation of FreeCAD's geometry system, and almost all other workbenches produce Part-based geometry.

Tool Description Tool Description
Part Box.png Box Draws a box Part Cone.png Cone Draws a cone
Part Cylinder.png Cylinder Draws a cylinder Part Sphere.png Sphere Draws a sphere
Part Torus.png Torus Draws a torus (ring) Part CreatePrimitives.png Create primitives Creates various other parametric geometric primitives
Part Shapebuilder.png Shape builder Create more complex shapes from primitives Part Union.png Union Fuses (unions) two objects
Part Common.png Common Extracts the common (intersection) part of two objects Part Cut.png Cut Cuts (subtracts) one object from another
Part JoinConnect.png JoinConnect Connects interiors of walled objects Part JoinEmbed.png JoinEmbed Embeds a walled object into another walled object
Part JoinCutout.png JoinCutout Creates a cutout in a wall of an object for another walled object Part Extrude.png Extrude Extrudes planar faces of an object
Part Fillet.png Fillet Fillets (rounds) edges of an object Part Revolve.png Revolve Creates a solid by revolving another object (not solid) around an axis
Part Section.png Section Creates a section by intersecting an object with a section plane Part SectionCross.png SectionCross Creates multiple cross sections along an object
Part Chamfer.png Chamfer Chamfers edges of an object Part Mirror.png Mirror Mirrors the selected object on a given mirror plane
Part RuledSurface.png Ruled Surface Create a ruled surface between selected curves Part Sweep.png Sweep Sweeps one or more profiles along a path
Part Loft.png Part_Loft Lofts from one profile to another Part Offset.png Offset Creates a scaled copy of the original object
Part Thickness.png Thickness Assign a thickness to the faces of a shape

Draft

The Draft Workbench provides tools to do basic 2D CAD drafting tasks: lines, circles, etc... and a series of generic handy tools such as move, rotate or scale. It also provides several drawing aids, such as grid and snapping. It is principally meant to draw the guidelines for Arch objects, but also serves as FreeCAD's "swiss knife".

Tool Description Tool Description
Draft Line.png Line Draws a line segment between 2 points Draft Wire.png Wire Draws a line made of multiple line segments (polyline)
Draft Circle.png Circle Draws a circle from center and radius Draft Arc.png Arc Draws an arc segment from center, radius, start angle and end angle
Draft Ellipse.pngEllipse Draws an ellipse from two corner points Draft Polygon.png Polygon Draws a regular polygon from a center and a radius
Draft Rectangle.png Rectangle Draws a rectangle from 2 opposite points Draft Text.png Text Draws a multi-line text annotation
Draft Dimension.png Dimension Draws a dimension annotation Draft BSpline.png BSpline Draws a B-Spline from a series of points
Draft Point.png Point Inserts a single point Draft ShapeString.png Shapestring The ShapeString tool inserts a compound shape representing a text string at a given point in the current document
Draft Facebinder.png Facebinder Creates a new object from selected faces on existing objects Draft BezCurve.png Bezier Curve Draws a Bezier curve from a series of points
Draft Move.png Move Moves or copies objects from one location to another Draft Rotate.png Rotate Rotates objects by a certain angle around a point
Draft Offset.png Offset Offsets an object to a certain distance Draft Trimex.png Trimex Trims, extends or extrudes an object
Draft Upgrade.png Upgrade Turns or joins objects into a higher-level object Draft Downgrade.png Downgrade Turns or separates objects into lower-level objects
Draft Scale.png Scale Scales objects in relation to a point Draft Shape2DView.png Shape 2D View Creates a 2D object which is a flattened view of another object
Draft Draft2Sketch.png Draft to Sketch Converts a Draft object to a Sketch and vice-versa Draft Array.png Array Creates a polar or rectangular array from an object
Draft PathArray.png Path Array Creates an array from an object by placing copies along a path Draft Clone.png Clone Creates linked copies of objects
Draft Mirror.png Mirror Mirrors objects across a line

Sketcher

The Sketcher Workbench contains tools to build and edit complex 2D objects, called sketches. The geometry inside these sketches can be precisely positioned and relationed by the use of constraints. They are primarily meant to be the building blocks of PartDesign geometry, but are useful everywhere in FreeCAD.

Tool Description Tool Description
Sketcher CreatePoint.png Point Draws a point Sketcher Line.png Line Draws a line segment from 2 points
Sketcher Arc.png Arc Draws an arc segment from center, radius, start angle and end angle Sketcher CreateArc3Point.png Arc 3 points Draws an arc segment from two endpoints and another point on the circumference
Sketcher Circle.png Circle Draws a circle from center and radius Sketcher CreateCircle3Point.png Circle 3 points Draws a circle from three points on the circumference
Sketcher CreateEllipse.png Ellipse Draws an ellipse by center point, major radius point and minor radius point Sketcher CreateEllipse3Point.png Ellipse 3 points Draws an ellipse by major diameter (2 points) and minor radius point
Sketcher CreateArcOfEllipse.png Arc of ellipse Draws an arc of ellipse by center point, major radius point, starting point and ending point Sketcher CreatePolyline.png Polyline Draws a line made of multiple line segments. Several drawing modes available
Sketcher CreateRectangle.png Rectangle Draws a rectangle from 2 opposite points Sketcher CreateTriangle.png Triangle Draws a regular triangle inscribed in a construction geometry circle
Sketcher CreateSquare.png Square Draws a regular square inscribed in a construction geometry circle Sketcher CreatePentagon.png Pentagon Draws a regular pentagon inscribed in a construction geometry circle
Sketcher CreateHexagon.png Hexagon Draws a regular hexagon inscribed in a construction geometry circle Sketcher CreateHeptagon.png Heptagon Draws a regular heptagon inscribed in a construction geometry circle
Sketcher CreateOctagon.png Octagon Draws a regular octagon inscribed in a construction geometry circle Sketcher CreateSlot.png Slot Draws an oval by selecting the center of one semicircle and an endpoint of the other semicircle
Sketcher CreateFillet.png Fillet Makes a fillet between two lines joined at one point Sketcher Trimming.png Trimming Trims a line, circle or arc with respect to a clicked point
Sketcher External.png External geometry Creates an edge linked to external geometry Sketcher ToggleConstruction.png Construction mode Toggles an element to/from construction mode. A construction object will not be used in a 3D geometry operation and is only visible while editing the Sketch that contains it
Sketcher ConstrainCoincident.png Coincident Affixes a point onto (coincident with) one or more other points. Sketcher ConstrainPointOnObject.png Point on object Affixes a point onto another object such as a line, arc, or axis.
Constraint Vertical.png Vertical Constrains the selected lines or polyline elements to a true vertical orientation. More than one object can be selected before applying this constraint. Constraint Horizontal.png Horizontal Constrains the selected lines or polyline elements to a true horizontal orientation. More than one object can be selected before applying this constraint.
Sketcher ConstrainParallel.png Parallel Constrains two or more lines parallel to one another. Sketcher ConstrainPerpendicular.png Perpendicular Constrains two lines perpendicular to one another, or constrains a line perpendicular to an arc endpoint.
Constraint Tangent.png Tangent Creates a tangent constraint between two selected entities, or a co-linear constraint between two line segments. Sketcher ConstrainEqual.png Equal length Constrains two selected entities equal to one another. If used on circles or arcs their radii will be set equal.
Sketcher ConstrainSymmetric.png Symmetric Constrains two points symmetrically about a line, or constrains the first two selected points symmetrically about a third selected point. Sketcher ConstrainLock.png Lock Constrains the selected item by setting vertical and horizontal distances relative to the origin, thereby locking the location of that item
Sketcher ConstrainDistanceX.png Horizontal distance Fixes the horizontal distance between two points or line endpoints. If only one item is selected, the distance is set to the origin. Sketcher ConstrainDistanceY.png Vertical distance Fixes the vertical distance between 2 points or line endpoints. If only one item is selected, the distance is set to the origin.
Sketcher ConstrainDistance.png Distance Defines the distance of a selected line by constraining its length, or defines the distance between two points by constraining the distance between them. Sketcher ConstrainRadius.png Radius Defines the radius of a selected arc or circle by constraining the radius.
Constraint InternalAngle.png Internal anglr Defines the internal angle between two selected lines. Constraint SnellsLaw.png Snell's law Constrains two lines to obey a refraction law to simulate the light going through an interface
Constraint InternalAlignment.png Internal alignment Aligns selected elements to selected shape (e.g. a line to become major axis of an ellipse) Sketcher MapSketch.png Map sketch Maps a sketch to the previously selected face of a solid
Sketcher MergeSketch.png Merge Merge two or more sketches Sketcher MirrorSketch.png Mirror Mirrors selected elements of a sketch

Part Design

The Part Design Workbench contains advanced tools to build solid parts. It also contains all the tools from the sketcher. Since it can only produce solid shapes (the rule number one of Part Design), it is the main workbench to use when designing pieces (parts) to be manufactured or 3D-printed, as you will always obtain a printable object.

Tool Description Tool Description
PartDesign Pad.png Pad Extrudes a solid object from a selected sketch PartDesign Pocket.png Pocket Creates a pocket from a selected sketch. The sketch must be mapped to an existing solid object's face
PartDesign Revolution.png Revolution Creates a solid by revolving a sketch around an axis PartDesign Groove.png Groove Creates a groove by revolving a sketch around an axis
PartDesign Fillet.png Fillet Fillets (rounds) edges of an object PartDesign Chamfer.png Chamfer Chamfers edges of an object
PartDesign Draft.png Draft Applies angular draft to faces of an object PartDesign Mirrored.png Mirrored Mirrors features on a plane or face
PartDesign LinearPattern.png Linear pattern Creates a linear pattern of features PartDesign PolarPattern.png Polar pattern Creates a polar pattern of features
PartDesign Scaled.png Scaled Scales features to a different size PartDesign MultiTransform.png Multitransform Allows creating a pattern with any combination of the other transformations
PartDesign WizardShaft.png Shaft wizard Generates a shaft from a table of values and allows to analyze forces and moments PartDesign InvoluteGear.png Involute gear wizard Allows you to create several types of gears

Arch

The Arch Workbench contains tools to work with BIM projects (civil engineering and architecture). It also contains all the tools from the Draft workbench. The main use of the Arch Workbench is to create BIM objects or give BIM attributes to objects built with other workbenches, in order to export them to IFC.

Tool Description Tool Description
Arch Wall.png Wall Creates a wall from scratch or using a selected object as a base Arch Structure.png Structure Creates a structural element from scratch or using a selected object as a base
Arch Rebar.png Rebar Creates a reinforcement bar in a selected structural element Arch Floor.png Floor Creates a floor including selected objects
Arch Building.png Building Creates a building including selected objects Arch Site.png Site Creates a site including selected objects
Arch Window.png Window Creates a window using a selected object as a base Arch SectionPlane.png Section plane Adds a section plane object to the document
Arch Axis.png Axis Adds an axes system to the document Arch Roof.png Roof Creates a sloped roof from a selected face
Arch Space.png Space Creates a space object in the document Arch Stairs.png Stairs Creates a stairs object in the document
Arch Panel.png Panel Creates a panel object from a selected 2D object Arch Frame.png Frame Creates a frame object from a selected layout
Arch Equipment.png Equipment Creates an equipment or furniture object Arch SetMaterial.png Material Attributes a material to selected objects
Arch Schedule.png Schedule Creates different types of schedules Arch CutPlane.png Cut plane Cut an object according to a plan
Arch Add.png Add Adds objects to a component Arch Remove.png Remove Subtracts or removes objects from a component
Arch Survey.png Survey Enters or leaves surveying mode

Drawing

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 in SVG or DXF formats, to a PDF file or printed.

Tool Description Tool Description
Drawing Landscape A3.png New sheet Creates a new drawing sheet Drawing View.png View Inserts a view of the selected object in the active drawing sheet
Drawing Annotation.png Annotation Adds an annotation to the current drawing sheet Drawing Clip.png Clip Adds a clip group to the current drawing sheet
Drawing Openbrowser.png Open browser Opens a preview of the current sheet in the browser Drawing Orthoviews.png Ortho views Automatically creates orthographic views of an object on the current drawing sheet
Drawing Symbol.png Symbol Adds the contents of a SVG file as a symbol on the current drawing sheet Drawing DraftView.png Draft view Inserts a special Draft view of the selected object in the current drawing sheet
Drawing Save.png Save Saves the current sheet as a SVG file

Other built-in workbenches

Although the above summarizes the most important tools of FreeCAD, many more workbenches are available, among them:

  • The Mesh Workbench allows to work with polygon meshes. Although meshes are not the preferred type of geometry to work with in FreeCAD, because of their lack of precision and support for curves, meshes still have a lot of uses, and are fully supported in FreeCAD. The Mesh Workbench also offers a number of Part-to-Mesh and Mesh-to-Part tools.
  • 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.
  • The Spreadsheet Workbench permits the creation and manipulation of spreadsheet data, that can be extracted from FreeCAD models. Spreadsheet cells can also be referenced in many areas of FreeCAD, allowing to use them as master data structures.
  • The FEM Workbench deals with Finite Elements Analysis, and permits the performing of pre- and post-processing FEM calculations and to display the results graphically.

External workbenches

A number of other very useful workbenches produced by FreeCAD community members also exist. Although they are not included in a standard FreeCAD installation,they are easy to install as plug-ins. They are all referenced in the FreeCAD-addons repository. Among the most developed are:

  • The Drawing Dimensioning Workbench offers many new tools to work directly on Drawing Sheets and allow you to add dimensions, annotations and other technical symbols with great control over their aspect.
  • The Fasteners Workbench offers a wide range of ready-to-insert fasteners objects like screws, bolts, rods, washers and nuts. Many options and settings are available.
  • The Assembly2 Workbench offers a series of tools to mount and work with assemblies.

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