WARNING: FreeCAD has moved!
FreeCAD code and release files are now hosted on github at https://github.com/FreeCAD/FreeCAD
Only older files and code are available here.
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
I'm afraid I have to add my voice to perhaps encourage the developers (who are clearly genius's), but also to warn potential users. As many others are saying, the user interface is, sorry, diabolical. However, I have found it to be surprisingly robust, easy to install, and gives me just enough control to easily review designs from others -- excellent steps file import and export, good simple load and save & combine. It needs a ground up interface resign that was al least as simple to use as Google sketchup, and a simple snap grid of some sort instead of infinitely variable placement and rotation (so you can move something and back to precisely the same position) among other things..however, it is free, and currently there is no equal for free users (all I want to do is review things and make suggestions without buying something expensive). Libre is 2D, and BRL-Cad is more of a renderer from what I hear... maybe I'll try that next. So well done .. look forward to when it is finished and a coherent user-interface is added. Lastly, THANK YOU.
It's decent in some areas, but full of bugs and with a horrendous interface design and lack of options. It really needs a lot of improvement to avoid being the frustrating piece of software it is. Update: I decided to stop using it after giving it a lot of time. I just can't stand it. It's worse than an inkjet printer in the 90s. I can't remember so much frustration with any piece of software, and most of it coming from bad design decisions (i.e. seems to store external references as indexes to the element in the array of the sketch elements, so when one element in the sketch is deleted, everything done after goes crazy) and bad software development (lots of crashes and segmentation faults -especially when using its Python scripting). I think it will take a lot of work to make FreeCAD really functional, but right now it's not usable for any practical purposes (unless the design you're working on is quite simple). I won't recommend to use it unless you are playing or helping to develop it. And good luck with the latter.
I've downloaded and installed FreeCad on a Windows 8 Platform but I am unable to open the program to start using it. Can you please help
I've been using it for a few weeks now. It started out promising and I was able to make some good models for 3D printing. Then I hit a wall trying to do boolean operations. Apparently the OpenCasCade library that FreeCAD uses for booleans is not too robust. The end result is that I can't get the results I want which ultimately makes this a dead end for me. I'll keep using it for basic work, but I would never promote this to my peers/colleagues as a tool that gets real work done. I'll change my review when I can get consistent/quality results from boolean ops.
600 5 star ratings <-- haven't used a professional parametric 3D cad program. 150 1 star ratings <-- have used a professional parametric 3D cad program. A shovel is a godsend if you were digging with your bare hands. It kind of sucks if you had an excavator. FreeCAD is nowhere near professional 3D cad software such as Solidworks or Autodesk Inventor, which cost thousands of dollars/euros. Features are sparse, ui is clumsy. But it's free. I tried to give this 2/5, but I honestly cannot. For I have used professional 3D cad software.