Nowadays there is a variety of high-quality parametric 3D CAD software which greatly facilitates the work in the field of different engineering professions. The first 3D CAD software (Ideas, Unigraphics, PRO/E, Catia) was designed for the aviation, space and military industries, i.e., industries with big profits, and thus the pricing of this software was excessive to smaller companies. Over time, the market showed a demand for cheaper software, and software such as Solid Edge, Solid Works, T-FLEX, Rhinoceros, Inventor etc. was created. This led to the situation that such software spread to other types of industry, as well as to small and medium-sized companies, but the problem still remained that its price was too high for some small workshops, enthusiasts, personal use or companies making small profits.
Gradually, free 3D CAD software appeared, however, mostly useless from a practical point of view. Then a high-quality 3D software Blender was created, which was designed for mesh modeling, but not for parametric 3D modeling (NURBS) that is much more practical for technical professions. For years we have been following the development of free 3D CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM software, and luckily, software has become available to help us draw 3D models of parts, form assemblies of drawn parts, and make 2D drawings of parts and assemblies. This first free 3D software with a practical use value is called FreeCAD. It is a free, general-purpose and open-source (under the LGPLv2+ license) parametric 3D CAD software. It can be used in various fields such as mechanical engineering, architecture, woodworking ... In other words, FreeCAD is a universal, free 3D CAD software that can be used by anyone interested in 3D modeling, Finite-element-method and the production of parts on NC machines or 3D printers.
FreeCAD (Imported .stp 3D model)
FreeCAD is a software with modular architecture allowing you to add various new features and specialist modules without changing the core of the software. Since FreeCAD has a free and open-source code, more and more people of different professions start using it, and consequently a large number of different modules have been created. The growing community gathering around this software has caused the emergence of a large number of tutorials on the Internet that explain in detail how this software is used. You can easily find free tutorials for learning FeeCAD software by searching the web using search engines, or on video-sharing websites.
When you install FreeCAD software, try not to be impatient or overly critical towards it. Please keep in mind that creating such a complex software requires a lot of time, the work of a large number of experts from various fields and really good knowledge, so that some initial errors that you may encounter should be forgiven. Luckily, the community around this software is becoming larger and larger, which means that by searching the Internet you can find adequate solutions to numerous problems. FreeCAD is based on Open CASCADE technology and its own main file format is FreeCAD Standard file format (.FCStd). In addition to the native .FCStd file format, FreeCAD can import and export various other formats like: STEP, IGES, OBJ, STL, DXF, SVG...
As already mentioned, FreeCAD is of a modular type, consisting of a large number of workbenches and modules (add-ons):
- Sketcher Workbench - designed for work with geometry-constrained 2D sketches;
- Part Workbench - designed for 3D parametric modeling of parts;
- Assembly Module - designed to form 3D assemblies from parts modeled in Part Workbench or imported from other 3D CAD software;
- TechDraw Workbench - used to create technical 2D documentation of parts and assemblies.
- Path Workbench – this is the Computer Aided Manufakturing (CAM) Workbench
- FEM Workbench – This is the Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) Workbench that provides the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) workflow
In addition to the previously mentioned basic workbenches and modules, there are also many additional ones at different development stages such as Arch workbenc (Arhitecture module), ray-tracing (rendering) workbench, Reverse Engineering Workbench, Robot Workbench, Exploded assembly workbench…
Our website Craftsmanspace.com falls under a users’ group focused on the use of FreeCAD software. On the one hand, in the future FreeCAD will provide us with a free quality tool for making materials for our site, and on the other hand this 3D CAD software can be popularized on our site. For this reason, more and more free plans made in this free parametric 3D CAD software will be appearing on our site over time. Each project on our site created in FreeCAD software will be marked with a note and linked to this page to popularize this CAD software.
If you are interested in free 3D CAD software, we recommend you to download FreeCAD software and master it step-by-step with the help of tutorials. And if you have the knowledge and the time, you can join the ever growing software community, i.e., create tutorials, popularize the software in various ways, help beginners in forums, and even program various modules for it.
Visit the FreeCAD software web presentation where you can find more information about it, a special page where you can download software versions for various operating systems (Windows, MAC and Linux), online documentation, forum....
So, we really hope that FreeCAD has awaken your interest, and that you too will slowly start using this software!