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
If the version number of FreeCAD were an integer, my rating of it would be much lower. Since the version that I am using is .15, though, I think that it's a very impressive piece of software. The people involved with the creation of this program are doing a great job. I use Autodesk Inventor in my day job and have previously used Pro/E/Creo. The user interface and sketcher in FreeCAD are bother frustrating to use compared to those. Some of that, of course, can be attributed to being more accustomed to my regular software. Some appear to be bugs - it appears that certain operations are unsuccessful - but this may also be my learning curve with the interface. I added the Assembly2 workbench and like it so far. From what I've read, adding real assembly capability to the software is a major undertaking, but assembly is crucial to making this software more usable. If my programming skills were above mediocre, I would find a way to help with this project. I still might at some point but want to learn the software better first to find out what works, what doesn't work, and what things I might like to see changed.
It is a complex interface and using rules (example a form must be attach to the prévious form. what ever which parent you chose to create the new form. It is not a problem when you know, thanks to the communoty because it writen nowhere. Until now I do not succeed to make drawing for the work shop with cotation. Rockn says about FreeCàD "Mais vous savez que le futur c'est maintenant" I hope not, the 2D CAD where a lot more intuitive.
Experiece from commercial CAD or not? It is just a matter about the way you are used to work. Once I got the hang on how to use FreeCAD it was really usefull to me. People praise Solidworks and Autodesk products simply because they are expected to be good, and people take the time and learn how to use them. CATIA would provide even more possibilities if you learn how to use it. At the end, the young and hungry generation might learn how to work in FreeCAD at start, then competing tools will not be as appealing at first glance. I really urge experienced CAD users to take the time to truly learn FreeCAD before giving up. Also for an opensource tool it must be easy to get started for a novice, because no one will pay for expensive education if you haven't spent a fortune on the software license. So I strongly agree with the concept of having an intuitive user interface, but I won't argue that FreeCAD can evolve even further, I really hope it does...
Cool app, works great!