How to install additional workbenches

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Base ExampleCommandModel.png Tutorial
Topic
Programming
Level
Medium programmer
Time to complete
15 minutes
Authors
r-frank
FreeCAD version
All
Example files
none


Description

Power users have extended FreeCAD with various custom external workbenches, that are not integrated into the FreeCAD source code core, but are easy to install on an existing FreeCAD installation. Here we will cover the installation methods for the different operating systems.

Note Starting from version 0.17, FreeCAD features an AddonManager.svg Addon Manager in the Tools → Addon Manager menu, that allows to easily install a series of external workbenches. The instructions below are only necessary if you are running an earlier version, or if you want to install a workbench that is not in the list offered by the Addon Manager.

Installing on Windows

How to install additional workbenches and addons on Windows

Recommended Installation

The modern recommended installation is using the Tools → AddonManager.svg Addon Manager.


Obsolete

Note: using the "addons-installer" is not recommended any more. Using the Addon Manager in all systems is the recommended way.

Use the addons-installer from Github.

During Google Summer of Code 2016 student Mandeep Singh started work on an improved version (available here) but that version needs further work before it can be fully integrated in FreeCAD.

Manual Install

Note: This method is possible but not necessary with the introduction of the Addon Manager. Nevertheless, the information here may still be useful to some.

  • Download the workbench from github by clicking on the button Clone or Download on the github page (upper right corner) and choosing "Download ZIP"
  • Unpack the downloaded archive on your local hard disk
  • Within FreeCAD, locate the macro path by choosing Edit → Preferences → General → Macro and look for the ”Macro path”
  • Supposed your Windows-Login is “username” the default macro path is %APPDATA%\FreeCAD\ which is usually C:\Users\username\Appdata\Roaming\FreeCAD
  • Within the macro-directory create (if not already present) a folder called “Mod
  • Within the Mod folder, create a folder with the name of the workbench, for example “Curves”
  • Now move the unpacked files and sub-folders of the workbench to the just created workbench-folder
  • After restart of FreeCAD you should now have an entry in the workbench selector

Additional Recommendation for updating workbenches

On windows, when updating an already installed workbench, Windows keeps the old .py files as .pyc. Since this may lead to trouble, it is recommended to uninstall the workbench, restart FreeCAD and install the new version of the workbench.


Installing on Linux

How to install additional workbenches and addons on Linux

Recommended Installation

The modern recommended installation is using the Tools → AddonManager.svg Addon Manager.


Using git

Adding the community-ppa within the ppa-manager.
Installing the workbenches via synaptic packet manager.

$ sudo apt-get install git python-numpy python-pyside
$ mkdir ~/.FreeCAD/Mod
$ cd ~/.FreeCAD/Mod
$ git clone  https://github.com/tomate44/CurvesWB.git

FreeCAD you will now have a new workbench-entry called "CurvesWB". Once installed, use git to upgrade to the latest version:

$ cd ~/.FreeCAD/Mod/CurvesWB
$ git pull
$ rm *.pyc

Manual Installation

Note: This method is possible but not necessary with the introduction of the Addon Manager. Nevertheless, the information here may still be useful to some.

  • Download the workbench from github by clicking on the button Clone or Download on the github page (upper right corner) and choosing "Download ZIP"
  • Unpack the downloaded archive on your local hard disk
  • Within FreeCAD, locate the macro path by choosing Edit → Preferences → General → Macro and look for the ”Macro path”
  • By default, the macro directory is the (hidden) ./.FreeCAD/ directory in your home-directory
  • Within the macro-directory create (if not already present) a folder called “Mod
  • Within the Mod/ folder, create a folder with the name of the workbench, for example “Curves”
  • Now move the unpacked files and sub-folders of the workbench to the just created workbench-folder
  • After restart of FreeCAD you should now have an entry in the workbench selector


Installing on Mac

How to install additional workbenches and addons on MacOS

Recommended Installation

The modern recommended installation is using the Tools → AddonManager.svg Addon Manager.


Manual Installation

Note: This method is possible but not necessary with the introduction of the Addon Manager. Nevertheless, the information here may still be useful to some.

For the sake of this example, say you've chosen the Curves Workbench as the external workbench you want to install:

  • Choose and download the git repository of your chosen external workbench as a ZIP file
  • Assuming FreeCAD is installed in /Applications/FreeCAD/v0.xx", go to /Applications/FreeCAD/v0.xx" in the Browser, and select FreeCAD.app
  • RMB and select "Show Package Contents", a new window will appear with a folder named "Contents"
  • single-click on the folder "Contents" and select the folder "Mod"
  • In the folder "Mod" create a new folder named "Curves"
  • Unzip downloaded repository in the folder "Contents/Mod/Curves"

General troubleshooting

  • Don’t use special characters (for example german umlauts) in your windows user name, otherwise FreeCAD will not recognize files and folders in the macro path
  • If you have already set up a user name with special characters either create a new user name or point the macro path to a directory not using special characters
  • Workbench still not showing up ? In FreeCAD, choose Tools → Customize → Workbenches and make sure it is not set to invisible
  • Notes for users with 32-bit system and FreeCAD 0.16.6706 . After attempts to install, the additional Workbenches may not be available. In this case