The PartDesign Workbench provides advanced tools for modeling complex solid parts. It is mostly focused on creating mechanical parts that can be manufactured and assembled into a finished product. Nevertheless, the created solids can be used in general for any other purpose such as architectural design, finite element analysis, or machining and 3D printing.
The PartDesign Workbench is intrinsically related to the Sketcher Workbench. The user normally creates a Sketch, then uses the PartDesign Pad tool to extrude it and create a basic solid, and then this solid is further modified.
While the Part Workbench is based on a constructive solid geometry (CSG) methodology for building shapes, the PartDesign Workbench uses a parametric, feature editing methodology, which means a basic solid is sequentially transformed by adding features on top until the final shape is obtained. See the feature editing page for a more complete explanation of this process, and then see Creating a simple part with PartDesign to get started with creating solids.
The bodies created with PartDesign are often subject to the topological naming problem which causes internal features to be renamed when the parametric operations are modified. This problem can be minimized by following the best practices described in the feature editing page, and by taking advantage of datum objects as support for sketches and features.
The Part Design tools are all located in the Part Design menu and the PartDesign toolbar that appear when you load the Part Design workbench.
These tools are in fact not part of the PartDesign Workbench. They belong to the Std Base system. They were developed in v0.17 with the intention that they would be useful to organize a model, and create assemblies; as such, they are very useful when working with bodies created with this workbench.
- Part: adds a new Part container in the active document and makes it active.
- Group: adds a Group container in the active document, which allows organizing the objects in the tree view.
Part Design Helper tools
- Create sketch: creates a new sketch on a selected face or plane. If no face is selected while this tool is executed, the user is prompted to select a plane from the Tasks panel. The interface then switches to the Sketcher Workbench in sketch editing mode.
- Edit sketch: Edit the selected Sketch.
- Map sketch to face: Maps a sketch to a previously selected plane or a face of the active body.
Part Design Modeling tools
- Create a local coordinate system: creates a local coordinate system attached to datum geometry in the active body. introduced in version 0.18
- Create a sub-object shape binder: creates a shape binder to a subelement, like edge or face from another body, while retaining the relative position of that element. introduced in version 0.19
These are tools for creating base features or adding material to an existing solid body.
- Pad: extrudes a solid from a selected sketch.
- Revolution: creates a solid by revolving a sketch around an axis. The sketch must form a closed profile.
- Additive loft: creates a solid by making a transition between two or more sketches.
- Additive pipe: creates a solid by sweeping one or more sketches along an open or closed path.
- Create an additive primitive: adds an additive primitive to the active body. introduced in version 0.17
These are tools for subtracting material from an existing body.
- Pocket: creates a pocket from a selected sketch.
- Hole: creates a hole feature from a selected sketch. The sketch must contain one or multiple circles.
- Groove: creates a groove by revolving a sketch around an axis.
- Subtractive loft: creates a solid shape by making a transition between two or more sketches and subtracts it from the active body.
- Subtractive pipe: creates a solid shape by sweeping one or more sketches along an open or closed path and subtracts it from the active body.
- Create a subtractive primitive: adds a subtractive primitive to the active body. introduced in version 0.17
These are tools for transforming existing features. They will allow you to choose which features to transform.
- Mirrored: mirrors one or more features on a plane or face.
- Linear Pattern: creates a linear pattern based on one or more features.
- Polar Pattern: creates a polar pattern of one or more features.
- Create MultiTransform: creates a pattern with any combination of the other transformations.
These tools apply a treatment to the selected edges or faces.
- Fillet: fillets (rounds) edges of the active body.
- Chamfer: chamfers edges of the active body.
- Draft: applies an angular draft to selected faces of the active body.
- Thickness: creates a thick shell from the active body and opens selected face(s).
- Boolean operation: imports one or more Bodies or PartDesign Clones into the active body and applies a Boolean operation.
Some additional functionality found in the Part Design menu:
- Migrate: migrates files created with older FreeCAD versions. If the file is pure PartDesign feature-based, migration should succeed. If the file contains mixed Part/Part Design/Draft objects, the conversion will most likely fail. introduced in version 0.17
- Shaft design wizard: Generates a shaft from a table of values and allows to analyze forces and moments. The shaft is made with a revolved sketch that can be edited.
- Involute gear: creates an involute gear profile that can be used by a Pad.
Contextual Menu tools
- Set tip: redefines the tip, which is the feature exposed outside of the Body.
- Move object to other body: moves the selected sketch, datum geometry or feature to another Body. introduced in version 0.17
- Move object after other object: allows reordering of the Body tree by moving the selected sketch, datum geometry or feature to another position in the list of features. introduced in version 0.17
- Preferences: preferences available for PartDesign Tools.
- Fine tuning: some extra parameters to fine-tune PartDesign behavior.
- How to use FreeCAD, a website describing the workflow for mechanical design.
- Creating a simple part with PartDesign v0.17
- Basic Part Design Tutorial 017
- PartDesign Bearingholder Tutorial I (needs updating)
- PartDesign Bearingholder Tutorial II (needs updating)