Draft Module

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Draft workbench icon

Introduction

The Draft Workbench allows you to draw simple 2D objects, and offers several tools to modify them afterwards. It also provides tools to define a working plane, a grid, and a snapping system to precisely control the position of your geometry.

The created 2D objects can be used for general drafting in a way similar to Inkscape or Autocad. These 2D shapes can also be used as the base components of 3D objects created with other workbenches, for example, the Part and Arch Workbenches. Conversion of Draft objects to Sketches is also possible, which means that the shapes can also be used with the PartDesign Workbench for the creation of solid bodies.

FreeCAD is primarily a 3D modelling application, and thus its 2D tools aren't as advanced as in other drawing programs. If your primary goal is the production of complex 2D drawings and DXF files, and you don't need 3D modelling, you may wish to consider a dedicated software program for technical drafting such as LibreCAD, QCad, TurboCad, and others.

Draft Workbench Example

Drawing objects

These are tools for creating objects.

  • Draft Line.svg Line: draws a line segment between two points.
  • Draft Wire.svg Polyline: draws a line made of multiple line segments (polyline).
  • Draft Fillet.svg Fillet: draws a fillet (rounded corner) or a chamfer (straight line) between two simple Lines. introduced in version 0.19
  • Draft Arc.svg Arc: draws an arc segment from center, radius, start angle and end angle.
  • Draft Arc 3Points.svg Arc 3Points: draws a circular arc segment from three points that are located in the circumference. introduced in version 0.19
  • Draft Circle.svg Circle: draws a circle from center and radius.
  • Draft Ellipse.svg Ellipse: draws an ellipse from two corner points.
  • Draft Rectangle.svg Rectangle: draws a rectangle from two corner points.
  • Draft Polygon.svg Polygon: draws a regular polygon from center, radius, and number of sides.
  • Draft BSpline.svg BSpline: draws a B-Spline from a series of points.
  • Draft CubicBezCurve.svg Cubic Bezier Curve: draws a Bezier curve of third degree by dragging two points. introduced in version 0.19
  • Draft BezCurve.svg Bezier Curve: draws a Bezier curve from a series of points.
  • Draft Point.svg Point: inserts a point object.
  • Draft Facebinder.svg Facebinder: creates a new object from selected faces on existing objects.
  • Draft ShapeString.svg ShapeString: inserts a compound shape representing a text string at a given point.

Annotation objects

Modifying objects

These are tools for modifying existing objects. They work on selected objects, but if no object is selected, you will be invited to select one.

Many operation tools (move, rotate, array, etc.) also work on solid objects (Part, PartDesign, Arch, etc.).

  • Draft Shape2DView.svg Shape 2D View: creates a 2D object which is a flattened 2D view of a 3D object.

Obsolete

This command is considered obsolete because the Drawing Workbench is obsolete. However, the command itself is still available.

These commands have been removed from the interface.

Utility tools

Additional tools available from the menu Draft → Utilities, or via the right-click context menu, depending on the selected object.

Preferences

  • Preferences-draft.svg Preferences: general preferences for the working plane and the drawing tools.
  • Preferences-import-export.svg Import-Export Preferences: preferences available for importing from and exporting to different file formats.

File formats

These are functions for opening, importing or exporting other file formats. Opening will open a new document with the contents of the file, while importing will append the contents of the file to the current document. Export will save the selected objects to a file. If nothing is selected, all objects will be exported. Be aware that the purpose of the Draft Module is to work with 2D objects, so those import routines focus only on 2D objects, and although DXF and OCA formats also support object definitions in 3D space (objects are not necessarily flat), they will not import volumetric objects such as meshes, 3D surfaces, etc., but rather lines, circles, texts or flat shapes. Currently supported file formats are: The Draft module provides FreeCAD with importers and exporters for the following file formats:

Install importers

Additional features

  • Coordinates: enter coordinates instead of clicking on the 3D view to define a new point.
  • Constraining: limit the pointer to horizontal or vertical movements relative to a previous point.
  • Snapping: place new points on special places on existing objects or on the grid.
  • Copy Mode: All modification tools can either modify the selected objects or create a modified copy of them. Pressing and holding Alt while the object is being modified, e.g. moved or rotated, creates a copy when the key is released.
  • Construction Mode: Allows you to create geometries separate from the rest by simply switching them on and off.
  • Working plane: allows you to select a surface on which to build your shapes.

Unit tests

See also: Test Workbench.

To run the unit tests of the workbench execute the following from the operating system terminal.

freecad -t TestDraft

Scripting

The Draft tools can be used in macros and from the Python console by using the Draft API.

The workbench includes a module to create samples of all objects in a new document. introduced in version 0.19

Use this to test that all objects are produced correctly.

import drafttests.draft_test_objects as dto
doc = dto.create_test_file()

Inspecting the code of this module is useful to understand how to use the programming interface.

$INSTALLDIR/Mod/Draft/drafttests/draft_test_objects.py

Where $INSTALLDIR is the toplevel directory where the software was installed; for example, in Linux it may be /usr/share/freecad.

Draft test objects.png

Test objects for the Draft Workbench.


Tutorials