Difference between revisions of "Getting started"

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(What's new)
(Changed the "don't use it if you don't know python" paragraph... We passed that phase already!)
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==Foreword==
 
==Foreword==
  
FreeCAD is a CAD/CAE parametric modeling application. It is still in the early stages of development, so don't expect to be able to use it to produce work already. But, if you are curious about what FreeCAD looks like and what features are being developed, you are welcome to download it and give it a try. At the moment, much functionality is already present, but not much user interface has been created for it. This means that if you know a bit of Python, you will already be able to produce and modify complex geometry relatively easily. If not, you will probably find that FreeCAD still has little to offer to you. But, be patient, this is expected to change soon.
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FreeCAD is a 3D CAD/CAE [[About FreeCAD|parametric modeling application]]. It is primarily made for mechanical design, but also serves all other uses where you need to model 3D objects with precision and control over modeling history.
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FreeCAD is still in the early stages of development, so, although it already offers you a large (and growing) list of [[Feature_list|features]], much is still missing, specially comparing it to commercial solutions, and you might not find it developed enough yet for use in production environment. Still, there is a fast-growing community of enthusiastic users, and you can already find [http://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/free-cad/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1222 many examples] of quality projects developed with FreeCAD.
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Like all open-source projects, the FreeCAD project is not a one-way work delivered to you by its developers. It depends much on its community to grow, gain features, and stabilize (get bugs fixed). So don't forget this when starting to use FreeCAD, if you like it, you can directly influence and [[Help FreeCAD|help]] the project!
  
 
And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the [http://apps.sourceforge.net/phpbb/free-cad/index.php FreeCAD discussion forum]!
 
And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the [http://apps.sourceforge.net/phpbb/free-cad/index.php FreeCAD discussion forum]!

Revision as of 17:53, 8 September 2013

What's new

Foreword

FreeCAD is a 3D CAD/CAE parametric modeling application. It is primarily made for mechanical design, but also serves all other uses where you need to model 3D objects with precision and control over modeling history.

FreeCAD is still in the early stages of development, so, although it already offers you a large (and growing) list of features, much is still missing, specially comparing it to commercial solutions, and you might not find it developed enough yet for use in production environment. Still, there is a fast-growing community of enthusiastic users, and you can already find many examples of quality projects developed with FreeCAD.

Like all open-source projects, the FreeCAD project is not a one-way work delivered to you by its developers. It depends much on its community to grow, gain features, and stabilize (get bugs fixed). So don't forget this when starting to use FreeCAD, if you like it, you can directly influence and help the project!

And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the FreeCAD discussion forum!

Installing

First of all (if not done already) download and install FreeCAD. See the Download page for information about current versions and updates. There are install packages ready for Windows (.msi), Ubuntu & Debian (.deb) openSUSE (.rpm) and Mac OSX.

Exploring FreeCAD

The FreeCAD interface when you start it for the first time. See more screenshots here.

FreeCAD is a general all-purpose 3D modeling application, focused on mechanical engineering and related areas, such as other engineering specialties or architecture. It is conceived as a platform for developing any kind of 3D application, but also for doing very specific tasks. For that purpose, its interface is divided into a series of Workbenches. Workbenches allow to change the interface contents to display all and only the tools necessary for a specific task, or group of tasks.

The FreeCAD interface can therefore be described as a very simple container, with a menu bar, a 3D view area, and a couple of side panels for displaying the scene contents or object properties. All the contents of these panels can be changed depending on the workbench.

When you start FreeCAD for the first time, you will be presented a "general" workbench, that we call "complete workbench". This workbench simply gathers the most mature tools from other workbenches. Since FreeCAD is pretty young and not yet used for very specialized work, this workbench is very handy for discovering FreeCAD more easily. Basically, all the tools that are good enough for producing geometry are here.

Navigating in the 3D space

FreeCAD has four different navigation modes available, that can be set in the preferences settings dialog or changed by right-clicking in the 3D view. For full details about the modes, see the Mouse Model page. In particular, you will need the to set the Touchpad Navigation mode if you are using a laptop with touchpad and no middle mouse button. For the default mode ("CAD Navigation"), the commands are as follows,

{{{Select_name}}} {{{Pan_name}}} {{{Zoom_name}}} {{{Rotate_view_name}}} {{{Rotate_view_alt_name}}}
Hand cursor.png Pan cursor.png Zoom cursor.png Rotate cursor.png Rotate cursor.png
Mouse LMB.svg Mouse MMB hold.svg Mouse MMB rotate.svg Mouse MMB+LMB hold.svg Mouse MMB+RMB hold.svg
{{{Select_text}}} {{{Pan_text}}} {{{Zoom_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_alt_text}}}
{{{Ctrl}}}+Mouse RMB.svg {{{Ctrl}}}+{{{Shift}}}+Mouse RMB.svg {{{Shift}}}+Mouse RMB.svg
{{{Pan_mode_text}}} {{{Zoom_mode_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_mode_text}}}


You also have several view presets (top view, front view, etc) available in the View menu and on the View toolbar, and by numeric shortcuts (1, 2, etc...)

Workbench Draft.png 2D Drafting


This template is now obsolete and is directly include in the original page Draft_Module

All adding or modification must be done in the original page Draft_Module

2018/05/28

Drawing objects

These are tools for creating objects.

  • 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.png Ellipse: 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 point object
  • 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 Label.png Label: Places a label with an arrow pointing to a selected element introduced in version 0.17

Modifying objects

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.

  • Draft Move.png Move: Moves object(s) from one location to another
  • Draft Rotate.png Rotate: Rotates object(s) from a start angle to an end angle
  • Draft Offset.png Offset: Moves segments of an object about a certain distance
  • Draft Trimex.png Trim/Extend (Trimex): Trims or extends an object
  • Draft Upgrade.png Upgrade: Joins objects into a higher-level object
  • Draft Downgrade.png Downgrade: Explodes objects into lower-level objects
  • Draft Scale.png Scale: Scales selected object(s) around a base point
  • Draft PutOnSheet.png Drawing: Writes selected objects to a Drawing sheet
  • Draft Edit.png Edit: Edits a selected object
  • Draft WireToBSpline.png Wire to BSpline: Converts a wire to a BSpline and vice-versa
  • Draft AddPoint.png Add point: Adds a point to a wire or BSpline
  • Draft DelPoint.png Delete point: Deletes a point from a wire or BSpline
  • Draft Shape2DView.png Shape 2D View: Creates a 2D object which is a flattened 2D view of another 3D object
  • Draft Draft2Sketch.png Draft to Sketch: Converts a Draft object to Sketch and vice-versa
  • Draft Array.png Array: Creates a polar or rectangular array from selected objects
  • Draft PathArray.png Path Array: Creates an array of objects by placing the copies along a path
  • Draft Clone.png Clone: Clones the selected objects
  • Draft Mirror.png Mirror: Mirrors the selected objects
  • Draft Stretch.png Stretch: Stretches the selected objects introduced in version 0.17

Utility tools

Additional tools available via right-click context menu, depending on the selected objects.

Preferences


Workbench Part.png Creating 3D Parts

Template:Part Tools


Exporting to 2D Drawings


This template is now obsolete and is directly include in the original page Drawing Module

All adding or modification must be done in the original page Drawing Module

2018/05/28

These are tools for creating, configuring and exporting 2D drawing sheets

  • Drawing New.png Open scalable vector graphic: Opens a drawing sheet previously saved as an SVG file
  • Drawing Landscape A3.png New A3 landscape drawing: Creates a new drawing sheet from FreeCAD's default A3 template
  • Drawing View.png Insert a 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 SpreadsheetView.png Spreadsheet View: Inserts a view of a selected spreadsheet in the current drawing sheet
  • Drawing Save.png Save sheet: Saves the current sheet as a SVG file
  • Project Shape: Creates a projection of the selected object (Source) in the 3D view.


Exporting to external renderers

This page will be deleted by an administrator!

Reason for deletion: No pages link to this template so it can be deleted. The tools have been integrated into the main document Raytracing Workbench.


Scripting

And finally, one of the most powerful features of FreeCAD is the scripting environment. From the integrated python console (or from any other external Python script), you can gain access to almost any part of FreeCAD, create or modify geometry, modify the representation of those objects in the 3D scene or access and modify the FreeCAD interface. Python scripting can also be used in macros, which provide an easy method to create custom commands.


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