FreeCAD – parametric 3D modeler

The FreeCAD application is an open source 3D-Solid and general purpose design CAD/CAE.

FreeCAD is aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design but also fits in a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or other engineering specialties.

FreeCAD has tools similar to those offered by Catia, SolidWorks or Solid Edge.

The software makes extensive use of open source libraries include OpenCascade, Coin3D, Qt, and Python.

Features include:

  • GUI application with 3D viewer.
  • Command line version with low memory footprint usable as server.
  • Macro recording.
  • Workbenches.
  • Modeling features:
    • Offset (trivial or after Jung/Shin/Choi).
    • Boolean operations (add, cut, intersect).
    • Primitive creation.
  • Creation of primitives:
    • Parametric creation of box, sphere and cone.
    • Topologic creation of vertex, edges, wires and planes.
    • Modeling with extrudes and fillets.
  • Meshes.
  • Boolean operations like:
    • Union – fuse shapes together.
    • Difference – substraction of two shapes.
    • Intersection – cut out the common parts of two shapes.
  • Import: ASCII or binary STL (Stereo lithography format), OBJ format, Limited NASTRAN support, Open Inventor meshes, FreeCAD mesh kernel native.
  • Export: ASCII or binary STL (Stereo lithography format), OBJ format, Limited NASTRAN support, VRML meshes, FreeCAD mesh kernel native, Mesh as Python module.
  • Evaluation and Repair:
    • Tests solid.
    • Tests non-two-manifolds.
    • Tests self intersections.
    • Hole filling.
    • Uniform orientation.
  • Raytracing.
  • Run as a Python module.
  • Plugin/Module framework for late loading of features/data-types.
  • Built in scripting.

Support: Documentation, GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Juergen Riegel, Berthold Grupp, Yorik van Havre, mohd_najib and others
License: GNU GPL or LGPL


FreeCAD is written in C++ and Python. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials. Learn Python with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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