FEM tutorial

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Freecad.svg Tutorial
Finite Element Analysis
Time to complete
10 minutes + Solver time
FreeCAD version
0.16.6700 or above
Example files


This tutorial is meant to introduce the reader to the basic workflow of the FEM Workbench, as well as most of the tools that are available to perform a static analysis.

FEM tutorial result.png




In this example a Cube is used as the study object, but models created in the Part or PartDesign Workbenches can be used instead.

  1. Create a new document (press on the Std New.svg button)
  2. Activate the Workbench Part.svg Part Workbench
  3. Create a Cube
  4. Change its Dimensions to the following:
    1. Height: 1.000 mm
    2. Length: 8.000 mm
    3. Width: 1.000 mm

Now we have a model with which to work with.

Creating the Analysis


  1. Select the model
  2. Click FEM Analysis.svg New mechanical analysis from the menu to create an analysis from the object that was selected
  3. In the meshing dialog, click OK

You can also drag and drop a mesh to a Mechanical Analysis that does not have a mesh within the Tree view.


The usage of psicofil's macro is recommended, and is used for this example.

  1. Activate the macro
  2. Select the object you wish to use, in this case our Cube
  3. Check the box Create Mechanical Analysis from mesh
  4. Click OK

We have now meshed our object and are ready to add constraints and forces.

Constraints and Forces

  1. Hide the mesh from the Tree View.
  2. Show the original model
  3. Select FEM ConstraintFixed.svg Create FEM fixed constraint
  4. Select the back face of the Cube (face on the YZ axis) and click OK
  5. Select FEM ConstraintForce.svg Create FEM force constraint
  6. Select the front face of the Cube (the face parallel to the back face) and set the Area load value to 9000000.00
  7. Set the Direction to -Z by selecting one of the face edges parallel to that direction.
  8. Click OK

We now have established the restrictions and forces for our static study.

Final preparations

  1. Select FEM MaterialSolid.svg Mechanical material... and choose Calculix as the material
  2. Click OK

Running the Solver

Standard Procedure

  1. Select the solver object FEM SolverCalculixCxxtools.svg contained in the Mechanical Analysis
  2. Select FEM SolverControl.svg Start calculation from the menu
  3. Select Write Calculix Input File
  4. Select Run Calculix
  5. Click Close

Quick Procedure

  1. Select the solver object FEM SolverCalculixCxxtools.svg contained in the Mechanical Analysis
  2. Click on FEM SolverRun.svg Quick Analysis.

Analyzing Results

  1. From the Object Tree, select the Results object
  2. Select FEM ResultShow.svg Show result
  3. Choose among the different Result types to view the results
  4. The slider at the bottom can be used to alter the mesh visualization. This allows us to visualize the deformation experienced by the object, keep in mind that this is an approximation.
  5. To remove the results select FEM ResultsPurge.svg Purge results
Comparison to previous example file

If you select the Z displacement result type, you can see that the obtained value is almost identical to the test example provided by FreeCAD. Differences may occur due to the quality of the mesh and the number of nodes it possesses.

We are now finished with the basic workflow for the FEM Workbench.