FreeCAD is a general purpose parametric 3D CAD modeler. The development is completely Open Source (LGPL License). 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 features tools similar to Catia, SolidWorks or Solid Edge, and therefore also falls into the category of MCAD, PLM, CAx, and CAE. It is a feature-based parametric modeler with a modular software architecture which makes it easy to provide additional functionality without modifying the core system.
As with many modern 3D CAD modelers it has many 2D components in order to sketch 2D shapes or extract design details from the 3D model to create 2D production drawings, but direct 2D drawing (like AutoCAD LT) is not the focus, neither are animation or organic shapes (like Maya, 3ds Max, Blender or Cinema 4D), although, thanks to its wide adaptability, FreeCAD might become useful in a much broader area than its current focus.
FreeCAD makes heavy use of all the great open-source libraries that exist out there in the field of Scientific Computing. Among them are OpenCascade, a powerful CAD kernel, Coin3D, an incarnation of Open Inventor, Qt, the world-famous UI framework, and Python, one of the best scripting languages available. FreeCAD itself can also be used as a library by other programs.
FreeCAD is also fully multi-platform and currently runs flawlessly on Windows and Linux/Unix and Mac OSX systems, with the exact same look and functionality on all platforms.
Features Of FreeCAD
- A complete Open CASCADE Technology-based geometry kernel allowing complex 3D operations on complex shape types, with native support for concepts like brep, nurbs curves and surfaces, a wide range of geometric entities, boolean operations, and fillets, and built-in support for STEP and IGES formats
- A full parametric model. All FreeCAD objects are natively parametric, which means their shape can be based on properties or even depend on other objects, all changes being recalculated on demand, and recorded by the undo/redo stack. New object types can be added easily, that can even be fully programmed in Python
- An Architecture module that allows BIM-like workflow, with IFC compatibility.
- A Rendering module that can export 3D objects for rendering with external renderers. Currently only supports povray and LuxRender, but is expected to be extended to other renderers in the future.
- Path module dedicated to mechanical machining like milling (CAM), and is able to output, display and adjust G code.
Compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac OS all versions.