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Monday, January 28, 2013
FreeCAD 0.13.1826 RC
FreeCAD is a parametric 3D CAD modeler and drawing tool which is targeted squarely at the mechanical engineering and product design fields. FreeCAD is a general purpose feature-based 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. The software can already import DXF, OCA/ GCAD, SVG, STP/ STEP, IGS/ IGES and other formats, a quick way to get started and see what the program can do. You can also create a new document from scratch. FreeCAD supports 2D objects like lines, rectangles, arcs or circles, as well as various 3D primitives (box, sphere, cylinder, cone, torus), each of which can then be manipulated in various ways (translation, rotation, mirroring, scaling, offset and more).
There are also plenty of mesh tools; a drawing module which exports projected views of your geometry to a 2D SVG document; and a raytracing module which exports your work for rendering in POV-Ray. And Python code underlies all of this. Everything you do within the interface will issue some Python command, which you can examine. You can freely enter Python commands yourself if you need a little more flexibility, or even create macros by recording any particularly useful Python for replay later.
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.
Key features: • A complete Open CASCADE Technology-based geometry kernel allowing complex 3D operations on complex shape types, with native support for concepts like brep, nurbs, boolean operations and fillets • A modular architecture that allow plugins (modules) to add functionality to the core application. Those extensions can be as complex as whole new applications or as simple as Python scripts or self-recorded macros • A 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 • Import/export to standard formats such as STEP, IGES, OBJ, DXF, SVG, STL, DAE, IFC or OFF, in addition to FreeCAD’s native Fcstd file format. • A Sketcher with constraint-solver, allowing to sketch geometry-constrained 2D shapes. The sketcher currently allows you to build several types of constrained geomerty, and use them as a base to build other objects throughout FreeCAD. • A Robot simulation module that allows to study robot movements. The robot module already has an extended graphical interface allowing GUI-only workflow.
In development: • A Drawing sheets module that permit to put 2D views of your 3D models on a sheet. This modules then produces ready-to-export SVG or PDF sheets. The module is still sparse but already features a powerful Python functionality. • A Rendering module that can export 3D objects for rendering with external renderers. Currently only supports povray, but is expected to be extended to other renderers in the future. • An Architecture module that allows BIM-like workflow, with IFC compatibility. The making of the Arch module is heavily discussed by the community here. • An Assembly module that allows to work with multiple shapes, multiple documents, multiple files, multiple relationships…
Operating Systems: Debian-based Linux systems, Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits).