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FreeCAD 0.17 was released on XX.XX.XXXX, get it from Download. This is a summary of the most interesting changes. The complete list of changes can be found in the Mantis changelog. Older versions at: 0.16 - 0.15 - 0.14 - 0.13 - 0.12 - 0.11

Release017 Title.jpg

Garden Railway Coach O&K (by FreeCAD-User "Garden Railway Coach O&K", see Users Showcase)


All new Part Design

PartDesign workbench has changed massively.


Part and Body containers were introduced. Part container is made for organizing the model, and Body container keeps sequences of PartDesign features making up a single solid together. These containers provide a way to keep model tree nice and organized, and serve a basis for future Assembly workbench by providing a way to move parts around.

Thanks to Bodies, it is now not necessary to map sketches to faces when adding features. This requirement was a major problem of old PartDesign, that has caused many models to break upon parameter changes. So, it is now recommended to not map sketches to faces, if possible.

Sketcher has changed too, allowing free external geometry links within a Part, or a Body, or even a whole project if Part and Body containers are not used.

PartDesign got a bunch of new feature types: Primitives, Loft, Sweep, Thickness. And a totally new kind of thing - datum features, which are planes, lines and points useful for placing sketches, alignment, and serving as axes of revolutions.


  • Yorik van Havre wrote "The FreeCAD Manual" as an introductory book on how to use FreeCAD.
  • Document's recomputes can now be disabled/enabled via the context menu.
  • During Google’s Summer of Code 2016 student Mandeep Singh wrote an enhanced version of a loader/installer for the different aditional workbenches and macros for FreeCAD. This Plugin Manager still needs some programming work until it can be released (or integrated into FreeCAD).

Part Workbench

OpenCascade geometry kernel was updated from 6.8.0 to 7.0.0 (actual OCC version may depend on platform/distro).

  • New features: Boolean Fragments, Slice and XOR.
  • Thanks to the new features above, composite solids (compsolids) can now be created in FreeCAD. They are of great use in FEM.
  • Connect performance and reliability were improved, and the tool was made more versatile.
  • New feature: 2D Offset, to offset planar wires.
  • Enhancement: Part Extrude tool supports parametric Normal direction, direction controlled by linked edge, reversing, 2nd length, 2nd taper angle, and symmetric. Also, Make Solid checkbox is now checked automatically if you open dialog and the selected object is a closed wire (e.g., a sketch).
  • Enhancement: Part Revolve tool now supports parametric link to revolution axis.
  • Part Primitives can now be attached to other geometry (use Part->Attachment in menu, after creating the primitive).

Part Design workbench

  • With version 0.17 a new workflow within the part design workbench would be introduced, known as part design next. With new features also a new philosophy of creating parts with the part design workbench is introduced. This work should make programming an assembly module much easier.

Sketcher Workbench

  • Sketches can now be attached in a wide variety of ways, not only to flat faces as it used to be. Of particular importance is attachment perpendicular to edges, useful for making profiles for sweeping.
  • External geometry links are no longer limited to only the object the sketch is mapped to.
  • Visibility automation: now, when you start editing a sketch, objects depending on it are automatically hidden to unclutter the view, and objects used for external geometry links are automatically shown; old visibilities are restored as you close the sketch.

Spreadsheet Workbench

  • An Excel-file importer was added.

Draft Workbench

Drawing Workbench

  • A new workbench for creating technical drawings called TechDraw was put into a state to be released. For some time both workbenches will be present in the FreeCAD-master but in the long run TechDraw is to replace the original drawing workbench

Arch Workbench

  • Enhancement: Arch schedule tool completely rewritten.
  • Enhancement: New tool set (piping tools) in arch workbench to design plumbing systems.
  • Enhancement: The Arch Structure tool has now been extended with a series of new presets to build precast concrete elements

FEM Workbench

Path Workbench

Additional Modules