• Lot of thread hijacking happening with digressions around FreeCAD so I believe having one topic with some general FreeCAD discussion might be beneficial for us all πŸ™‚

    Some general data for the first post on the topic


    The releases download:

    All releases (including pre-release) are rather old, and since this is rather active project using "latest and greatest" is useful even if there are few bugs in the "nightly" version. The problem is that there is no system generating nightly builds so you have to build it yourself. Not super complicated task and requires all free tools but it can take a while, it is fully explained here (you need to follow steps exactly):
    compile on windows
    compile on linux
    compile on macos

    I'm compiling it myself for windows 10 64bit, but so far did not figure out how to make installer but if you have any previous version installed just unpacking my archive anywhere and running from there works. I will update this post from time to time when I compile new version I will be adding new builds as I make them on meganz so check for time ti time. File name is informative enough :).

    Documentation is decent and there's a number of YT videos too

    If you want to help the project out and speed up the maturity there are number of ways you can help out the project, from setting up the nightly build system (this would be awesome), writing documentation, translation, donation, writing code...

    As discovered by ppl with better eyes than mine πŸ˜„ the dev pre-release placeholder that's old actually host nightly builds so no need to compile ourselves πŸ˜„

    p.s. I think the reasons for moving to FreeCAD are irrelevant so let's keep focus on FreeCAD here. Noone is forced to migrate and all other tools have their place..

    is it worth learning freecad:

  • Now that Fusion is changing it's license for personal use (what did I expect from "cloud" software) I'm going to be giving FreeCAD another shot. I tried it about 4 years ago but ended up frustrated, however I was very new to CAD in general back then. It looks like some decent improvements have been made and hopefully others who are moving away from Fusion will look to open alternatives - that can only help speed up development.

    I'm going to investigate what it would take to setup a build server, could make for a fun little project.

  • I was able to download an appimage of the latest development version without having to build/compile anything myself.

  • This post is deleted!

  • @jens55 could you provide the link to where we can find it?

  • @kstra, the link as posted above, then click on 'download now', then scroll down to 'development version' and click on 'freecad releases page'.
    I run Linux so I went to the Linux section and clicked on 'Appimages' which gets me to a page that has a link for both stable and development versions of the appimage.

  • @jens55 you are correct, automated builds are already available.
    Here is a more direct link for anyone else:

    I did actually find this page earlier, however I looked at the date the 0.19_pre release was published on GitHub (November last year) and I assumed it was out of date! However the assets attached to the build are the latest version. I should have fully read the page 😁

    I'm guessing @arhi made the same mistake.

  • yeah looks like they are editing that old pre-release 😞 .. "today" build I made is .22505 and that prerelease is 22492 so fairly recent ... I'll edit the first post πŸ™‚

  • @arhi, Being that I mostly use Solidworks and SoldEdge, do you know what file formats FreeCAD supports for export and import? I'm guessing step would be the easiest to transfer between?


  • @Kolbi step works. Unfortunately, there's no (yet) option to detect features like what solidworks know how to do but ...

    FreeCAD can import both mesh and solids by default without any additional "workspaces"

    imports step, iges, inventor, dwg, dxf, 3d studio, obj, brep, svg, ply, pov, stl, obj ....

    can export everything you can think of probably πŸ˜„ .. the file format's are not a problem... but for solidworks -> freeCAD I'd say step is the way to go

  • Thanks much @arhi!

  • @Kolbi you are welcome. I'm not an expert, still learning the tool myself, I'm normally a solidworks guy πŸ™‚ ... that's why I liked onShape ... but moved to f360 when onShape started ignoring free users completely and ramped up the price for paying users to "I'll rather pay for SW" heights 😞 ... now when f360 started playing the same tune, I'm done trusting any of them, if I'm not paying for solidworks I'l get by with FreeCAD and openSCAD... if nothing else FreeCAD at least properly supports my spacepilot πŸ˜„

  • @arhi Yeah, I should have got the spacepilot too but I cheap'd out at the last minute and got the spacemouse wireless instead - figured it would be better with travel.

  • I like the JoKo Engineering FreeCAD tutorials and demos on YouTube (and I usually hate YouTube tutorials). He does a couple comparison between various tools as well, but for everyone that doubts FreeCADs capability, the demo where he builds something out of a Solidworks certification in FreeCAD, then exports it as step file and checks the result in Solidworks for full compliance is pretty amazing.

  • @oliof that's one of the major reasons I made this topic, would be cool if you put links to those good ones directly πŸ™‚

  • Started to learn FreeCad, took me an hour to figure out how to add a line midpoint, and still not understanding the difference between sketches and drafts, but learning Fusion also took me some time, so still optimistic.

  • @zapta said in FreeCAD:

    difference between sketches and drafts

    AFAIK just a philosophy nothing else. I kinda always use sketch and never draft so I might be wrong but they say: Workbench

    Traditional Drafting

    The traditional way of CAD drafting inherits from the old drawing board. Orthogonal (2D) views are drawn manually and intended for producing technical drawings (also known as blueprints). Objects are drawn precisely to the intended size or dimension. If you want to draw an horizontal line 100mm in length starting at (0,0), you activate the line tool, either click on the screen or input the (0,0) coordinates for the first point, then make a second click or input the second point coordinates at (100,0). Or you will draw your line without regard to its position, and move it afterwards. When you've finished drawing your geometries, you add dimensions to them.

    Constraint Sketching

    The Sketcher moves away from this logic. Objects do not need to be drawn exactly as you intend to, because they will be defined later on by constraints. Objects can be drawn loosely, and as long as they are unconstrained, can be modified. They are in effect "floating" and can be moved, stretched, rotated, scaled, and so on. This gives great flexibility in the design process.

  • @oliof said in FreeCAD:

    JoKo Engineering FreeCAD tutorial

    Thanks @oliof, those tutorials will be helpful - I just opened FreeCad and realized it is much different then what I'm used to.

    Link to the tutorials referenced:

  • Even though I never was able to do stuff in Fusion360, this video also was pretty good IMO:

  • Here is a list of UI changes an acquaintance did to make FreeCAD less dated:

    I only installed the glass UI and switched to a dark theme, which already made a huge difference to me.

  • Moderator

    What is the mechanism for updating the latest 0.19-pre release from November 2019? It looks to me that it happens semi-automatically on Windows and Linux. But it looks like you have to compile on Mac? I looked at the compilation instructions on Mac, and they are out of date; make and homebrew don’t work, and looks like it’s currently compiled with Conda. There’s a thread with some detail here:

    native OS X build environment is kind of a trashfire.

    ... would seem to be the case!


  • @droftarts 0.19_pre looks like it's being compiled daily for macos too .. the release placeholder is old but windows, linux and macos binaries in assets are 22492, that's "current"


  • Moderator

    @arhi ah, now I understand! Thanks! Not going to bother with the hassle of compiling, just get on and try it...


  • @droftarts yes, I too seen that 0.19 pre release was put there year ago and assumed assests are same but looks like they just made system to replace assets every day (or every few days) so the install images are recent hence no need to compile unless you wanna modify the code.. and tbh compilation takes time 12 core ryzen9 with super fast m2 ssd's and 128g of super fast ram and it takes a loooong time to compile (I prepare and eat lunch and it's not done)

  • @arhi some people say the realthunder fork is a better UX than FreeCAD with some modules, but I don't have a machine to compile it and it does not come with binaries ... but you should get by with your Ryzen box.

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