FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based, parametric 3D modeler for CAD, MCAD, CAx, CAE and PLM, aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits a wider range of uses in engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties. It is 100% Open Source and extremely modular, allowing for very advanced extension and customization.
FreeCAD is based on OpenCasCade, a powerful geometry kernel, features an Open Inventor-compliant 3D scene representation model provided by the Coin 3D library, and a broad Python API. The interface is built with Qt. FreeCAD runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms.
- Rock-solid OpenCasCade-based geometry kernel, allowing complex 3D operations on complex shape types, and supports natively concepts like brep, nurbs, booleans operations or fillets
- Full parametric model allowing any type of parameter-driven custom objects, that can even be fully programmed in python
- Complete access from python built-in interpreter, macros or external scripts to almost any part of FreeCAD, being geometry creation and transformation, the 2D or 3D representation of that geometry (scenegraph) or even the FreeCAD interface
Pro tool for free, what a magic
After trying version 0.12 binaries and finding a few hiccups, I compiled version 0.13 on Debian from source cloned from github with a little help from the authors ( the sourceforge version was buggy). It runs very well and meshes complicated shapes very effectively. The python interface is very useful and greatly enhances the flexibity of the package. I have been using it in conjunction with meshlab and found it is already a very practical tool, and already certainly the best free solid model cad software I've found till now for Linux.
Simple. Useful. Light.
I've been playing with it on and off for the last six months. My 3D CAD experience is minimal, so I've found creating parts from scratch to be a challenge, but have had fun importing parts I've designed in eMachineShop's CAD software to make part assemblies. Still a bit buggy and unpredictable, but the foundations of a great CAD package seem to have been laid. First impressions are that it will be worth the effort to dive deeper.
I was able to design a few mechanical parts with FreeCAD and a very quick learning curve. I wish some things could be improved such as updating the design sketch: when I deleted one drawing from it, it still shows up there, it's a bit annoying... I have to delete the whole drawing page a create a new one with all the views. I would like also to send to the design page "standard" views with a quick button, such as front, top, side, section and 3D. And last but not least, I wish there was an easy way to show the dimensions in the sketch and also symmetries, filled volume (as in the section view) and select which lines should be visible in the transparent mode. Oh, and by the way, I find it hard to install this software in openSUSE 12.1 using Rallaz home repository. There are lots of dependencies issues...
FreeCAD is a good 3D CAD program, easy to learn and get started on, even if you never used a 3D CAD program before. The python scripting and macros are awesome, I am using python where I have many parts spread out in an array pattern. Python is also easy to learn. FreeCAD is in development - my wish is for them to finish the dimensioning feature soon, and to make the texture mapping so it can go on individual objects, and stay on the objects, until changed. Keep it going, this is a winner!