Release notes 0.19
- 1 Highlights
- 2 General
- 3 User interface
- 4 App::Link and assembly
- 5 Core system, App, Base, and Gui namespaces
- 6 Addon Manager
- 7 Arch Workbench
- 8 Draft Workbench
- 9 FEM Workbench
- 10 Import
- 11 Material handling
- 12 Mesh
- 13 Part Workbench
- 14 PartDesign Workbench
- 15 Path Workbench
- 16 Render Workbench
- 17 Sketcher Workbench
- 18 Spreadsheet Workbench
- 19 Start Workbench
- 20 Surface Workbench
- 21 TechDraw Workbench
- 22 Web
- 23 Macros
- 24 Additional modules
- 24.1 3D Printing Tools
- 24.2 A2plus
- 24.3 Assembly3
- 24.4 Assembly4
- 24.5 ArchTextures
- 24.6 BOLTSFC
- 24.7 CurvedShapes Workbench
- 24.8 Dodo (formerly Flamingo)
- 24.9 Fasteners
- 24.10 MeshRemodel Workbench
- 24.11 MOOC Workbench
- 24.12 NodeEditor (PyFlow)
- 24.13 Trails, PyTrails, Turns, pivy_trackers, and Geomatics
FreeCAD 0.19 was released on March 20th, 2021, get it from the Download page. This is a summary of the most interesting changes. The complete list of changes can be found in the MantisBT bugtracker FC 0.19 changelog.
Older FreeCAD release notes can be found in Feature list.
Simpson and Shipton short stroke steam engine circa 1845, using horizontal rotating piston, by "un1corn", Users Showcase.
|Horizontal 4 cylinder rotary valve steam engine, by "un1corn", Users Showcase.|
|Preliminary design of MAORY, an adaptive optics (AO) module for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT); here it is mounted on the E-ELT Nasmyth platform.
This assembly was made by "Zolko", author of the new Assembly4 Workbench, which uses the new powerful App Link object to import thousands of different parts and subassemblies, arranging them in specified positions by means of mathematical expressions. See Users Showcase.
For this model, the parts were not designed in FreeCAD, they were just imported in STEP format, and subsequently arranged with Assembly4.
|Constant velocity joint M. GECIK, by user "ppemawm", see Users Showcase. The model is reversed engineered from the individual STL files from Thingiverse by the original author, NOP21. Please notice the license of the original files.
The STL files were downloaded, saved, and imported into FreeCAD, and they were manually assembled using the Std Transform tool; this mesh assembly was used as reference to create solid bodies with PartDesign and subsequently assemble them using the new Assembly4 Workbench.
The model was started with Assembly4, and each part was created in-context referencing the STL model for sketch dimensions; sketches were created 1:1 scale with the STL model in the background.
|The TechDraw Workbench, which replaced the Drawing Workbench in v0.17, has been upgraded in an important way. It has many new features with respect to v0.18, which make it much more useful to produce technical illustrations of 3D solids.
Among many small improvments, new features include: dimensions are now compliant with one of ISO 129-1 or ASME Y14.5M standards; new balloon annotations to include text inside a circle or polygon shape; new rich text annotations to include big paragraphs formatted as bold or italic; cosmetic vertices and cosmetic edges that are not part of the original model but which can be used to create custom dimensions; basic support for welding symbols; new active view mode to take a "snapshot" of the 3D view; new basic templates for ISO sizes (A0 to A4), as well as Russian and Chinese language templates; new horizontal and vertical dimensions that measure the full extent of the projections; SVG face hatches are now available when the page is exported to SVG; the new App Link object is now also supported as a source for creating views, which is useful when working with assemblies.
With more than 8128 commits in the master branch since the 0.18 release, this is one of the most extensive releases ever, with several new components like the new "App::Link" object, as well as many new tools in the TechDraw Workbench that make FreeCAD even more powerful for 3D solid modelling and assembly. Beside that, the FreeCAD ecosystem has continued to grow with more specialized external workbenches.
Python 3 and Qt5
The effort to migrate from Python 2 and Qt4 to Python 3 and Qt5 is essentially complete and most developers have moved to the Python3/Qt5 toolchains.
Undoubtedly there are unforeseen bugs; these will be addressed as they are reported. Any existing dependence on Python 2 or Qt4 will not be supported beyond 1st January 2020 when Python 2 officially became unsupported by the Python Foundation. Please note that certain addons have not been ported yet to Python3/Qt5. This may be due to several reasons including lack of time by their developers, or broken dependencies that may not be easily fixed, or simply because the addon is considered obsolete. Individuals interested in the migration of a particular workbench or tool are encouraged to participate in the FreeCAD forum; see also, Python3 and Qt5 Compatible Addon Workbenches (in preparation for 0.18).
Fixed issue with Std Part containers visibility when the viewport is displayed in full screen in Qt5:
Qt::AA_ShareOpenGLContextsfor Qt 5.9 and above; forum discussion, commit 2a1dd8415, and commit 57b3ca6f77.
View3DInventor::keyEvent()for Qt5 to avoid MDI view mode-related rendering artifacts; forum discussion, commit 960d612547.
button support in
- Fixed bug in
MainWindow::setActiveWindowto avoid a crash when returning from full screen; forum discussion, commit c4e34ed9b.
- Fixed issue #4088 about the visibility of the origin of a Part changing when undocking the 3D view; forum discussion, commit 1e19ef5be.
- Fixed issue #3130 about Qt5 bugs when using a high resolution external monitor; forum discussion, commit 2f2d505359.
To compile FreeCAD under Windows, there are different Libpacks (prepackaged libraries) available:
- Libpack for Windows with Qt 5.12, OCC 7.3, and Python 3.6; forum discussion.
- Libpack for Windows with Qt 5.12.6, OCC 7.4; forum discussion, pull request #2944.
- Libpack 12.5.1 for Windows with Qt 5.15, OCC 7.5, and Python 3.8; forum discussion
Other development news:
- There is a new Docker container to build FreeCAD, see Compile on Docker; forum discussion.
- The infrastructure of the bug tracker as well as wiki was moved to a dedicated server, so that it is easier to manage by the project administrators; forum discussion.
- The Compile on Linux page was reviewed to better explain the requisites to compile on different Linux distributions. As many developers use Debian based systems, this section received the most attention. Users of other Linux distributions are encouraged to maintain the documentation for their particular distribution.
- Compile on Windows was also rewritten to explain how to use the "LibPack" for compilation.
- Compile on Docker was created to describe the compilation in this system.
- The Source documentation page also received a clean-up to better explain how to produce the programming (API) documentation from C++ and Python sources.
- The Doxygen page was reviewed and extended to give more details about the syntax that is used in C++ files to produce the programming documentation.
- The Source code management page was also reworked with better descriptions and examples of using
gitto manage branches and contribute code.
- The External workbenches page was re-organized, so that all feature-rich, publicly available workbenches are listed. If you'd like to add a workbench to this page, showcase it in the forum, and provide supporting information like user manual, wiki pages, and a link to its repository. Then push for it to be included in the Addon Manager.
- There have been improvements to the Tutorials and Video tutorials pages. In particular, it has been stressed to readers that they should consider only video tutorials that are made with versions 0.17 and above.
- Black screen due to video card drivers, while running FreeCAD inside a virtual machine; issue #3939.
- Logitech Wingman USB joystick can cause erratic behavior when spinning and zooming in the view; forum discussion.
- Gesture navigation is fully supported for Windows but yet to be maintained in Linux and MacOS. Problem: the developer, DeepSOIC, doesn't have a MacOS machine with its special trackpad, and hasn't tested it on Linux either; forum discussion.
|The navigation cube got a few retouches; now it uses transparency to be easier on the eyes, and the arrows are bigger to improve clicking on them.|
|The navigation cube can be augmented by the CubeMenu addon, which allows configuring the menu that pops up, as well as the size of the cube itself. This is helpful particularly for very high resolution screens, in which the default size is too small. This is an external tool that can be installed from the Addon Manager.|
|There is a new preferences option to display selection checkboxes in front of every document tree item. This is for example useful to select several items via a touchscreen.|
|New COIL icon theme developed by user 1D_Inc. This is a minimalistic icon set inspired on Blender's 2.8 outline-style icons (a coil of threads or strands alludes to the appearance of the icons). The intention is to have professional-looking icons that can be used with different color themes, including light, dark, and monochrome.|
|New icon theme management developed by user triplus.|
|New dark stylesheet developed by user userzmp2000.|
|Dark themes by user pablogil. Blue, green, and orange variations, which are darker than previous templates.|
|The Std ViewScreenShot tool now supports transparency. Options are available by clicking the button and changing the Image Properties section.|
App::Link and assembly
The "App::Link" object allows lightweight linking of objects in a document and from external documents.
After 2.5 years in development, the "Link" object, or more formally App Link (
App::Link class), was introduced in FreeCAD. This is a special type of App DocumentObject with certain properties that will hopefully allow for doing assemblies easier.
An "App Link" allows objects to use another object's data, such as geometry or even their 3D visual representation, in the same or different files. It can be thought of as a thin, absolute clone, or as the same object living into two different "instances". Some functionality offered by an "App Link" is already present in some workbenches like Arch and BIM (clones, external references), but the "App Link" implementation is at the core level, and thus can be used by all workbenches in different ways.
The "App Link" component was thought and developed almost single-handedly by user realthunder. The motivations and design implementations behind this project are described in his GitHub page, Link. In order to accomplish this feature, several core changes to FreeCAD were made; these are also extensively documented in Core-Changes.
The history of "App Link" can be traced to some essential forum threads:
- Why an object can only be inside one App::Part? (March 2017)
- Introducing App::Link/XLink (March 2017)
- Links (May 2017)
- Realthunder Link implementation: Architecture discussion (June 2017)
- PR #876: Link, stage one, context aware selection (July 2017)
- Preview: Link, stage two, API groundwork (July 2017)
- Assembly3 preview (December 2017)
- Merging of my Link branch (June 2018)
Finally, the pull request and merge happened:
- App::Link: the big merge, old thread (July 2019), pull request #2350 (the BIG merge), LinkMerge branch.
- App::Link: the big merge, main thread (July 2019)
- A simple path description of Link, 019, Link stage, Asm3, merge? (August 2019)
- PR#2559: expose link and navigation actions, an introduction to the Link feature in 0.19 (September 2019).
The "App Link" object prepares FreeCAD for the phase that was scheduled to happen after the redesign of PartDesign in FreeCAD 0.17, which is working with assemblies.
Assembly3 is an assembly workbench written in Python by realthunder, that makes use of the "App Link" functionality. The workbench served as a testbed for this component during its development. While Assembly3 is still not officially part of FreeCAD, with the inclusion of "App Link" in the master branch, it is a matter of time for Assembly3 to be provided as an installable add-on, just like A2plus and Assembly4 are provided currently.
Core system, App, Base, and Gui namespaces
Beside the introduction of App Link, the "LinkMerge" branch also introduced some changes visible to the user with regards to object properties, expressions, visual selection, and the tree view. These are described in the Core-Changes page.
|Dynamic properties can be added to any C++ or Python object. This can make macros such as Macro PropertyMemo obsolete.|
|These dynamic properties were added in the App Link merge; pull request #2350.|
|Selected elements hidden by other elements are highlighted to indicate their position within the model.|
|After two years being stalled, there have been improvements in the way the program handles backup files. Now they can include a timestamp in the format |
|New input field to quickly search for parameters in the parameter editor.|
|The Macro menu now shows a shortcut to recently used macros, which can be called with a key combination, for example, + + . This can be configured in the Macro preferences.|
- Added support for existing Python virtual environments; pull request #2021.
- Pre-select name filter in the import/export dialog; forum discussion, commit e239994,
- Fixed missing application ID and icon on GNOME/Wayland; pull request #2466.
- Added support for Hertz as a physical unit, and added the Frequency property; forum discussion, commit 3500451a0, commit d7ca604c9.
- Added Std TextDocument tool to insert an object to store arbitrary text in the document; commit 13db5b0560, commit 53b01f08f9.
- Added support for further units, Gauss, Weber, Oersted; forum discussion, pull request #2863.
- New commands to get information on the graphical commands, and the shortcuts;
Gui.setCommandShortcut(...); forum thread, pull request #3710.
- New glTF support (requires OCC 7.5.0) commit
- New WebGL exporter pull request #4025
|The Addon Manager was upgraded; it is now able to display more complete information on all external workbenches and macros, and show an icon for each of them. It also allows checking for updates on start, and using custom repositories.|
|It will also show information on whether the addon is obsolete, already installed, or available for update.|
Keep with the latest developments to the Arch Workbench, and the BIM Workbench that depends on it, by following the main author of this workbench, at Uncreated. The updates are also posted to the forum, BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog.
|The Arch Site tool once more is able to produce sun path diagrams if the given latitude, longitude, and declination are provided. This requires Pysolar 0.7 or above, and only works with Python 3.|
|The Arch Site tool now can display a compass to show the direction of the "true North" (declination) in the model. By the default, North is aligned to the Y axis. This is useful when working in real world coordinates.|
|The Arch SectionPlane tool now has the ability of clipping the view, to act as a camera.|
|The Arch Fence tool was added to produce fence objects starting from a post and a path.|
|Improvements in the Reinforcement Addon, which extends the Arch Rebar tool.
Automated reinforcement graphical user interface: the intention is to facilitate the automatic creation of simple and complex rebars. This development was carried out as a Google Summer of Code 2019 project: Suraj_Dadral/gsoc_proposal.
|New rendering modes for Arch SectionPlane that can be selected when using TechDraw ArchView, DataRender Mode, |
|New Arch CutLine tool to cut solid objects, like Arch Walls and Arch Structure, using an edge, like a Draft Line. This works similar to the existing Arch CutPlane.|
|Arch now includes a Shapefile importer, which is commonly used in GIS applications. The importer uses the |
|New Arch Truss tool to create a variety of trusses. Like Arch Walls they are constructed from a baseline, and different properties define the shape of the truss, its height, and the intermediate elements.
It also supports Arch MultiMaterial to assign different materials to the bottom, top, and intermediate elements.
|New Arch CurtainWall tool to create various types of walls. This tool needs a base surface to work on. If none is selected, you can simply draw a line between two points, like the standard Arch Wall. The surface is then subdivided into rows and columns, and four points extracted from the surface subdivisions, forming quadrangular facets.|
|The Draft Edit tool was upgraded to allow editing many Draft objects at the same time, and also display better trackers.|
|New Draft SubelementHighlight tool to highlight the nodes and edges of certain objects, like Draft Wires, in order to edit them using modifiers like Draft Move, Draft Rotate, and Draft Scale. It allows you to select multiple objects to edit instead of just one. Once the objects are highlighted, you can select specific sub-elements, vertices and edges, and transform (move, rotate, scale) only these.
This tool was particularly developed to help edit the shape of Arch Walls that are based on Draft Wires. When various walls are selected, and the tool is used, the base wires automatically become visible, and display their nodes prominently.
|New Draft CubicBezCurve tool, to create 3rd degree Bezier curves in a way similar to Inkscape.|
|New Draft Arc 3Points tool, to create circular arcs by specifying three points through which the arc passes. Originally developed in the BIM Workbench and then migrated to Draft.
A proper command line interface as well as unit test are also provided.
|New Draft Layer tool that replaces the seldom used Draft VisGroup, providing a true layer system as it exists in other CAD systems. Draft Layer supports adding objects by drag-and-drop, controls object visibility and, optionally, object color.|
|Improvements in the Draft SVG routines to improve inclusion of 2D projections in TechDraw pages. This benefits tools like Draft Shape2DView and Arch SectionPlane, when used with TechDraw DraftView and TechDraw ArchView.
A new DataOverride Style property is added to TechDraw DraftView, in order to choose whether the appearance of Draft objects is kept (new) or is overridden by the TechDraw page (old behavior).
|New Draft Fillet tool that creates a fillet (rounded corner) or a chamfer (straight line) between two simple Draft Lines.|
|The introduction of the App Link object made it possible to create arrays which have many exact references to an existing object instead of shape duplicates (simple copies). This results in more memory efficient arrays. This is possible with the new Draft LinkArray and Draft PathLinkArray tools. Draft LinkArray works in three modes, "ortho", "polar", and the new "circular" mode, which was introduced in a separate commit.
After the creation of the Link arrays, a new command called Draft OrthoArray now replaces both Draft Array and Draft LinkArray. This Draft OrthoArray is used to create exclusively orthogonal arrays. It shows a task panel similar to Draft PolarArray and Draft CircularArray. Therefore, from the toolbar it is now possible to create "orthogonal", "polar" and "circular" arrays from separate buttons. Moreover, the array buttons are collected in a group so that they are organized.
|New Draft PolarArray tool to create polar arrays directly. Previously, the same could be done by using the old Draft Array command, and then modifying the properties of the created object.|
|The Array object has a new "circular" mode. This is controlled by new properties: DataRadialDistance, DataTangentialDistance, DataNumberCircles, and DataSymmetry.|
|The unit tests of the workbench were rewritten and expanded, so that now it is easier to test for errors and regressions when new code is merged.
Also, a script is provided in
|New icons were provided for the Draft objects in the tree view. The objective is to more quickly distinguish the objects at a glance, particularly if the default label is changed. This makes it easier to recognize objects which are lines, curves, geometrical elements, linear, radial, or angular dimensions, or other objects.
In addition, all icons were converted to the new standard pixel resolution of 96 dpi, and were saved as Plain SVG, so that we don't introduce non-standard SVG tags.
|Undergoing efforts to split tools into their own module files to ease maintenance of the codebase for the future, and facilitate the addition of new tools.
Some of the functions and classes that have already been moved: commit 5ee99ca4ee (Draft Layer), commit 16c26cb3b1 (Draft Edit), commit 9fb6aec313 (Draft SelectPlane), pull requests #2823 (GuiCommandBase), #2829 (utilities), #2830 (GUI utilities), #2831 (ToDo class), #2832 (translate function), #3091 (Draft Snap), #3092 (Draft Trackers), #3094 (Draft SelectPlane), #3095 (Draft ShapeString task panel), #3096 (Draft Scale task panel), #3097 (Draft Edit), #3157 (Draft WorkingPlaneProxy), #3182 (various Gui Commands), #3291 (base classes
For an overall view of the pull requests, see #2429.
This is a work in progress that requires advancing carefully as we aim to maintain compatibility with previous versions of Draft. Most refactoring is complete, but there is still room for improving many aspects of the workbench. We invite enthusiastic developers to join the effort.
|New Annotation style editor tool to create styles for annotations. These styles can define things like text font, size, color, and arrows, which can be applied to any of your texts, dimensions or labels. We started by implementing an editor and a system to store the styles in the document. Next steps will be adapting the different annotation objects to support the styles.|
Further Draft Improvements
- The Draft Wire tool now is called "Polyline" in the menu, instead of "DWire"; all options and functionality remain the same, so this doesn't break compatibility; commit 39e748229e.
- A "DraftEditPickRadius" preference was added to control the area of influence of the pointer when picking vertices in edit mode Draft Edit; forum discussion, pull request #2642, issue #4162.
- Undergoing efforts to document the Python source code (adding complete docstrings), in order to produce better programming documentation that can be used by both users and developers. See Source documentation for instructions on generating the documentation with Doxygen.
- The "Toolbar mode" when launching the Draft tools has been removed. This was an interface that was used in the past but became obsolete as the task panel became the predominant interface; forum discussion, pull request #2973.
Draft.copynow works with any document object, thanks to the new
Document.copyObject()method introduced with the LinkMerge; pull request #3658.
|After half a year in development and testing the "femconcrete" branch was added to the FEM Workbench. This provides tools to estimate the level of reinforcement required in a concrete structure to prevent brittle failure under tension or shear. In essence, it is a post processing routine for the CalculiX solver, which calculates the principal tensile stresses in the concrete from an elastic analysis and uses those to determine the minimum reinforcement in the three coordinate directions required to prevent failure.|
|After a few months in development the "fcFEM" macro was published. It implements a finite element solver entirely in Python. Its author designed it to overcome the limitations of other external solvers, like CalculiX and z88. Some of the intended improvements include creating mixed mesh analyses, improved beam and shell elements, arc-length control for overcoming limit points in elastic-plastic analyses, implementation of zero-thickness interface elements for different applications, and others.
In due time this solver could be distributed together with the FEM Workbench, meaning that the FreeCAD project would have its own finite element solver for doing mechanical and structural analyses.
|Topology optimization has long been a feature desired for those working with FEM. In 2016 the BESO (Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization) project was started, implementing an iterative method with the CalculiX solver that removes ineffective elements from a mesh in order to optimize the mass of the design. In the 0.19 development cycle, a simple graphical interface has been developed to facilitate generating the beso configuration files.|
|Similar to beso, the ToOptix project also provides a macro to perform topology optimization; it currently only works in structural and heat transfer studies.|
|The FEM workbench has now a browsable set of example simulations: They are available via the menu Utilities → Open FEM examples.|
|There are two new constraints available:|
menu Model → Geometrical Constraints → Constraint Section Print
menu Model → Mechanical Constraints → Constraint Tie,
one new solver:
menu Solve → Electricforce equation
and a possibility to overwrite a constant:
menu Model → Overwrite Constraints → Constant vacuum permittivity.
Further FEM Improvements
- The Elmer project has developed a library for handling batch type pre-processing for the ElmerSolver, using the FEM Workbench. This includes creating mesh objects for FreeCAD, manipulating the mesh sizes of solids, creating finite element meshes using Gmsh, running ElmerGrid and exporting the mesh for ElmerSolver, and selecting and naming bodies and boundaries for ElmerSolver; forum discussion, elmerfem repository (Elmer main repository), FreeCADBatchFEMTools repository (library to interact with FEM Workbench, LGPL 2.1).
- The integration of the OOFem solver, which started in 2018, is progressing, so it is now another option that can be used for structural analysis in FreeCAD. This solver is interesting in that it has interface elements, as well as arc-length control, in addition to many non-linear material models. The integration of OOFEM into FEM has been carried in various commits that together serve as documentation on how to integrate similar solvers; forum discussion, femoofem branch, OOFEM main website, oofem repository (LGPL 2.1).
- Updated coding standards that strive for PEP8 compliance with Python; forum discussion, commit ad03ee9bdf, commit 27cb54009b.
- Improved import/export compatibility with proprietary CAD systems, when using compressed STEP, or STPZ; forum discussion, pull request #2323, commit 7de89cf62e.
|Mesh FromPartShape is now able to create meshes using Gmsh. This mesher is an external program that must be installed in the system before it can be used. Gmsh was already one of the options to create finite element meshes with the FEM Workbench.
Moreover, now the Mesh FromPartShape dialog will remember the settings that you used the last time.
|The mesh workbench has now several toolbars to quickly access the different features.|
- It is now possible to take an OpenInventor mesh file (.iv), and export it to STL; forum discussion, commit 601ac707b2.
- It is now possible to export a Mesh to Asymptote format (.asy ); forum thread, commits 4badaba5, 50bbd522, 58a92681, dd7afa72, b0f78f5a.
- Most tools of the Mesh Workbench now have a proper icon so it is easier to recognize the function in the menu and toolbars; forum thread, pull request #3816, #3864.
|New command Part PointsFromMesh to create an object made of points from an imported mesh. Then the points can be used as reference objects to do further operations, such as define a plane, and draw a sketch. This can be used to reverse engineer or remodel meshes by creating solid objects.|
|Existing primitives can now be edited in a dialog that also shows the changes as life preview. To do this, click on the primitive in the model tree and the dialog opens.|
|When inserting primitives the location can be set using translation and rotation.|
|The Part TopoShape that is contained in all solid objects of the program, not including Mesh-type objects.tool has been expanded to include more information about the|
|A script is provided in |
- The dialog to edit Prisms allows now to specify an angle in respect to the normal of the chosen attachment plane. This way one can create skew prisms. Forum discussion, pull request #3793
- New Face method:
Part.Face.cutHoles(list_of_wires)to cut holes into a face. The face usually needs to be validated after operation.
- The App Link merge introduced two new commands, Part TransformedCopy and Part ElementCopy. These commands create non-parametric copies of a body with a transformed placement, and of an element (vertex, edge, or face); commit 6da72b9859. These operations essentially make the Macro Repro Wire obsolete.
- It is now possible to set expressions for all parameters of primitives. commit dd4874d2 and commit 7405dd0e.
- Fixed broken support for "INCH" units when exporting to STEP/IGES formats; forum discussion, commit 1b26173580.
|Features that have an "Attachment" property now show when the attachment mode is "deactivated" by displaying a small overlay to the left of the icon in the tree view. Features that are attached to a plane or other reference don't display this overlay.|
|The dialog to edit chamfers allows now to define chamfers also either
|The dialog to edit pads allows now to specify a direction in which the sketch is padded.|
|PartDesign LinearPattern and PolarPattern now can be used with dress-up features (fillets, chamfers, thickness and draft) and with primitives (Additives and Subtractives). A new property DataSupport Transform in these features, controls whether the feature supports the pattern or not.|
|The dialog to edit Prisms (additive and subtractive) allows now to specify an angle in respect to the normal of the chosen attachment plane. This way one can create skew prisms.|
|It is now possible to create additive and subtractive helices.|
|It is now possible to select several features in the document tree before executing a transformation. This way several features can easily be transformed at once. The order of the features in the transformation dialog can be changed by dragging a feature to the desired position.|
|The dialogs to edit fillets, chamfers, thickness, and draft features were improved to allow selecting several sub-elements (edges and faces) at once.|
|The hole dialog offers now to select a norm to create cuts for counterbores and countersinks|
|The new feature Sprocket allows to create chain sprockets.|
- The hole dialog has been overhauled to create norm-conform clearance and threaded hole dimensions.
- It is now possible to set expressions for all parameters of additive and subtractive primitives. Forum discussion, pull request #3225.
- It is now possible to set expressions for the attachment angles of additive and subtractive primitives. Formerly, expressions were only available for the direction offsets. Forum discussion, commit 1cfe6d2cc7.
- It is now possible to change the list items in the different dialogs. For example in this forum post there is a god example why the item list matters for transformations. Here is another example for the sketch order for lofts. Forum discussion, pull request #3760, commit 94ca4388e.
|Added coolant modes for coolant management.|
- Added Path DressupPathBoundary for excluding parts of a path
- PathPocket: Extensions (For milling open pockets).
- New unified Profile operation: The pre-existing Contour, Profile Faces, and Profile Edges of version 0.18.x are now combined into a single Profile operation. The new Profile operation maintains features and capabilities of the three individual source operations. forum discussion, pull request #3443.
- Profile Edges: Open Edges support added. Note: The Profile Edges operation is now merged into the Profile operation. forum discussion, pull request #3068.
- First attempt of 4th-axis support: Profile (limited to full contour and profiling of faces), PathPocket, and Drilling
- Fixed issue #3993, Python 3 memory leak; forum discussion, commit 3c205946e.
- Ability to use an arbitrary number of an object as the base model for a Path.Job, each one being positionable individually; pull request #2056.
- PathDeburr: Added direction selection. Fixed DressupLeadInOut problem.
- Clear edges feature added.
- Exclude raised areas feature added; forum discussion, pull request #2367.
- Added `Face Region` option to boundary options. This allows the cutter to access areas smaller than cutter diameter, but physically accessible within the part geometry. forum mention, pull request #3534.
- Adaptive Clearing improvements.
- Adaptive can now use feature outline
- 3D Pocket: Reduction of air-milling above inclined pockets; forum discussion, pull request #2366.
- 3D Surface
- Improvements to general surfacing algorithm.
- Initial 4th-axis support; forum discussion, pull request #2114.
- Selection of individual faces; forum discussion, pull request #2849.
- Fixes to and addition of various cut patterns: Line, Circular, CircularZigZag, Offset, Spiral, ZigZag. pull request #3327 and other pull requests.
- New operation: Waterline.
- Post Processing
- New operation: Slot. Allows for creation of a horizontal slotting operation based on two custom points; the selection of one or more faces or edges; or the selection of two vertices. forum discussion, initial pull request #3624.
|New operation: V-Carve Allows for center-line engraving with V-bit.||forum discussion, initial pull request #3879.|
- Added cycle time calculations to operations and total cycle time to the job; forum discussion, pull request #3378.
- Added ability to import Base Geometry from existing operations within the same Job; forum discussion, pull request #3537.
- Added icons to section headings in the Tasks Editor window for Base Geometry, Depths, Heights, and Operation; pull request #3631.
- Added support for conical entry helix in Adaptive Operation.
- Prefernces to enable features which depend on openCAMLib
- Prefernces to suppress common warnings
- Added new group in Job to collect all ToolControllers
- Support for gcode WCS (work coordinate system) offsets aka 'fixtures'
- Gcode can be generated for any or multiple offsets
- Output can be ordered by tool, operation, or fixture to minimize toolchanges or transit time.
- Gcode can be split into multiple output files
Added support for Blender's standalone "Cycles" renderer; commit 759067912f; FreeCAD-render repository. The Cycles standalone renderer usually needs to be compiled from source, as the binary is normally not provided by itself in a complete Blender distribution.
Besides this, the Render Workbench already has support for Pov-Ray, Luxrender and Appleseed.
|In the Sketcher's task panel, in the "Elements" section there is now a "Mode" filter to select "normal", "construction", "external", or "all" geometry. This is useful to perform an action with only one type of geometry. For example, one use case is selecting only the "construction" edges, and deleting them after being used.|
|New Sketcher ToggleActiveConstraint tool to temporarily deactivate a constraint without removing it entirely. This is helpful to test the movement of the sketch before fully constraining it.|
|It is now possible to make a dimension constraint a reference constraint directly in the dialog.|
|It is now possible to display the weight of B-spline control points.|
|Sketches have a new color scheme to indicate parts of the sketch that are already fully constrained. In the image at the left you can see that the triangle and the arc are fully constrained and thus displayed by default in light green. The fully constrained construction circle around the triangle appears by default in light blue.
The colors can be changed in the Sketcher Preferences.
- It is now possible to decrease the knot multiplicity of B-Splines. commit fc89f4eb0.
- The fillet tool preserves now all possible existing constraints of the touched lines. pull request #4296 , forum discussion
- New method to get the geometrical index of a sketch,
SketchObject.getGeoVertexIndex(index); forum discussion, pull request #3713.
The introduction of App Link also brought some improvements to the expressions capabilities of FreeCAD, which are visible in the property editor, and the Spreadsheet Workbench. These are described in Core-Changes and this forum thread.
- A new expression syntax is introduced to unambiguously reference a property of the owner object, by omitting the object reference and starting with a leading dot (
.), similar to Python relative import syntax. So instead of
Cylinder.Height, now you can use
- You can refer to an object by its
Nameor by its
Label. In the case of a
Label, it must be enclosed in
>>symbols, such as
<<Label>>. For example,
- Improved spreadsheet recomputation logic, and cell copy and paste functions. Pull request #2350, #2475.
The previous commits changed the way the autocompletion works with expressions, particularly when used with Sketcher constraints, which was seen as a regression for many use cases. A new set of commits were proposed to restore this functionality; forum discussion, pull request #3062.
|Aliases for table cells can now be set easier with a new input field at the upper right of the spreadsheet.|
|Re-added example files to the Start page with saved thumbnails in their icons.|
|The Surface Sections object has been added to create surfaces from edges that represent transversal sections.|
|The Surface Workbench documentation has been rewritten, and expanded with more images and scripting examples, in order to showcase better the tools of the workbench. All commands are now available from the toolbar: Surface Filling, Surface GeomFillSurface, Surface Sections, Surface ExtendFace, and Surface CurveOnMesh.
Likewise, the icons have been updated to be more visually attractive.
|Improved placing and scaling of a 3D viewport screenshot in a TechDraw page.|
|New Balloon tool to add balloon decorators to create notes with numbers, letters, and text.|
|New TechDraw LeaderLine and TechDraw RichTextAnnotation tools to create better annotations in the drawing page.
Forum discussion, commit 7f07195f93, commit 6c699887c0; testing and bug fixing commit ab986d9a00, commit 15f440525e, commit 8ef3f13fbb, commit bf38ae958f, commit 74737f71fd, commit be257182ba, commit de3715908e, commit 916fe7ced3.
|New TechDraw CosmeticVertex, TechDraw Midpoints, and TechDraw Quadrant tools, which allow the user to place fake or "cosmetic" vertices that can be used to create dimensions. The midpoint and quadrant vertices can be used to add more points to straight and curved edges (circular arcs), respectively; the "CosmeticVertex" tool can add a point anywhere on the drawing view without requiring being based on existing geometry.|
|New TechDraw FaceCenterLine, TechDraw 2LineCenterLine, and TechDraw 2PointCenterLine tools, to add a line in the center of a face, or between two existing edges, or between two existing points, respectively.|
|New TechDraw WeldSymbol tool to provide welding symbols. One of the most requested features from the older Drawing Workbench is finally in TechDraw. Russian standard (GOST) symbols are also added.
Old welding symbols from Drawing Workbench.
|New TechDraw ActiveView tool. It produces a static image from the active 3D view, and puts it in a new TechDraw view. The result is a snapshot that doesn't update with changes to the model, and which is very fast to produce because it doesn't perform hidden line removal calculations. It is intended for rapid visualization of models, or to display flat projections of models without needing to add dimensions, a workflow that may be interesting for architectural visualization. Together with Arch SectionPlane and TechDraw ArchView, TechDraw ActiveView hopes to improve the interaction between Arch and TechDraw to document building models.|
|New page templates for the architectural paper sizes Arch B, C, D, E. Also, the possibility to use arbitrary "Custom" paper sizes for TechDraw PDF export and printing is now available. The user still needs to create or download an SVG template matching the desired output paper size.|
|New page templates, Russian State Standard of Technical Documentation (Unified system for design documentation), GOST 2.104-2006, GOST Р 21.1101-2013.|
|New page templates, the People's Republic of China Templates A series; please use with font family "HYSWLongFangSong".|
|New page templates, A-size, Slovenian (GPL 2).
Only LGPL2 compatible code can be provided directly with TechDraw; code contributed under GPL2 or GPL3 needs to be stored in a separate repository.
|The drawing of dimensions was completely rewritten. Now any drawn dimension is fully compliant with one of ISO 129-1 or ASME Y14.5M standards. There are four styles to choose from: ISO oriented (rotated value), ISO Referencing (horizontal value), ASME Inlined (horizontal value), ASME Referencing (value connected by a reference line).|
|New TechDraw Dimension Horizontal Extent and TechDraw Dimension Vertical Extent, to obtain the maximum dimensions in a view.|
|Improved handling and display of tolerances in combination of a new task dialog to set up Dimensions.|
With this and the new Balloon tool it is possible to use create 2D-Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing tags for drawings.
|New task dialog to set up Detail Views.|
|New pyramid arrow style for dimensions and balloon annotations.|
|SVG face hatches are now available when the page is exported to SVG. The SVG hatches are converted to bitmaps and clipped to fit the face before export. The example image shows the exported SVG page when it is opened in Inkscape.|
Further TechDraw Improvements
- There has been discussions about changing the standard behavior of TechDraw. Instead of keeping the drawing pages updated automatically, they would be updated only on demand; this would mitigate the effects of TechDraw slowing down the rest of FreeCAD when modelling. Moreover, now that App Link is included in FreeCAD, TechDraw pages may be stored in a separate file, and loaded on demand; forum discussion (main discussion), forum discussion (alternatives).
- Improvements on the handling of sectional views with TechDraw SectionView; Forum discussion, pull request #2737.
- Fixed font size issues when exporting to SVG; forum discussion, pull request #2219.
- Fixed regression in caption handling and hide caption property where not applicable; pull request #2228.
- Added options for page size, line width and background when saving to SVG; this improves Draft/Arch and TechDraw integration; pull request #2455.
- New panning of the page using the middle mouse button; forum discussion, pull request #2458.
- Finer control of drawing updates; forum discussion, pull request #2468, commit 5bed53f858, commit b2d8eeeb65.
- Also new TechDraw Redraw tool to force a drawing page update while ignoring the state of the options "Update with 3d", "Allow page override", or "KeepUpdated". This tool disappeared in 0.18, but was re-implemented for 0.19; forum discussion.
- The new App Link object is now supported as a source for creating views; forum discussion, commit 37b578bf49.
- The center marks created from circular edges, can now be printed; pull request #2335, #2962.
- It is now possible to override displayed values for tolerances, for example to use text in tolerances. Furthermore, one can now use a custom display format for each, over- and undertolerance. pull request #4087
- The LineGroup to set the default line widths for drawings can now be selected from the available groups in the preferences. pull request #4083
- QtWebEngine support for Qt 5.7 and above, and fallback to QWebkit for Qt 5.6 and below; pull request #1937.
See Macros recipes for many more macros.
|Automatic light-gauge steel frame creator and panelizer.|
Note: these are the new workbenches created in this development cycle, or older workbenches that received updates. See external workbenches for more workbenches that can be installed, and which cover a wide variety of topics. If you want to see your workbench added, join the forum and present your code.
3D Printing Tools
|The successor to the Assembly2 workbench, A2plus is the most mature assembly workbench, and has received important updates in this development cycle, like an improved point on plane constraint, and point on line constraint, using the center of a sphere as the point; this improves the constraining of spheres.
Please note: A2plus is not compatible with Assembly2 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in A2plus.
|Assembly3 is an assembly workbench created by developer realthunder, that is inspired by Assembly2, but is not compatible with it. Assembly3 makes use of realthunder's App Link object and various significant changes to the internal code of FreeCAD. Because of this reason, Assembly3 cannot be installed simply from the Addon Manager. Instead, realthunder provides a pre-compiled version of FreeCAD that includes Assembly3. This workbench serves as a testing environment for the App Link object, and other changes that realthunder plans to submit to the main FreeCAD source code.
The Assembly3 workbench can also be tested in the development AppImage.
Please note: Assembly3 is not compatible with Assembly2 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in Assembly3.
|Assembly4 is an assembly workbench created by developer Zolko, that uses realthunder's App Link object and many other changes to the base FreeCAD system, particularly the new expression engine. Because of this, Assembly4 doesn't work with versions below 0.19. Assembly4 can be installed from the Addon Manager.
Unlike A2plus and Assembly3, Assembly4 tries to perform assembly without using a constraint solver, but rather with the concept of arranging local coordinate systems (LCS) and setting relationships through mathematical expressions.
Please note: Assembly4 is not compatible with Assembly3 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in Assembly4.
|The ArchTextures Workbench was developed to provide basic texture support to Arch Workbench elements like walls and roofs, in order to quickly visualize a building. It is not intended to produce photo-realistic renderings, just simple texturing of materials like wood, brick, and concrete. It also provides lights (directional, point, and spot), which makes it more feature complete to set up a scene.|
|The CurvedShapes workbench has tools for designing 3D surfaces starting from a skeleton of multiple curves in the XY, XZ, or YZ planes. It was created particularly to simplify the modelling of the wings of aircrafts.|
Dodo (formerly Flamingo)
|Dodo is the successor to the Flamingo Workbench, a workbench specialized in creating piping and frames. While Flamingo was developed for Python 2 and Qt4, Dodo is meant to work with Python 3 and Qt5. It provides the same features as Flamingo, but has improved tools and interfaces.|
|The Fasteners Workbench to generate standard ISO screws, bolts, washers, and other fasteners, was updated to work with Python 3 and Qt5.|
|This workbench helps convert a mesh, for example, an imported STL file, into a native FreeCAD object. It will not do the conversion automatically, but it will help re-build, or re-model, the imported mesh. The general workflow is to select the mesh object, then create a "points" object from it; then these points can be used as references for creating FreeCAD objects such as lines, polygons, circles, arcs, and BSplines. These wires can then be turned into a Sketch object, which can be padded to create a 3D solid with the PartDesign Workbench.|
|The NodeEditor workbench implements a system of nodes that can be used to dynamically control the properties of objects, similar to Blender's node system to edit materials. The NodeEditor is based on a slightly modified version of the PyFlow framework, which is under active development.
A node editor has been a requested feature for a very long time, at least since 2014 (see this thread). A fully working node editor has the potential of simplifying the drawing of complex shapes using generative algorithms that produce a shape based on the values of its inputs. This could be used to create various types of meshes and surfaces with many applications in architecture and mechanical design.
Trails, PyTrails, Turns, pivy_trackers, and Geomatics
|The Trails workbench was formerly known as the "Transportation Engineering" workbench. It consists of a toolset for developing highway and railway designs, including horizontal alignments, vertical profiles, and 3D models.
Most of the functions used in the Trails workbench have been placed in a new Python library called PyTrails. The expectation is that Trails serves as a FreeCAD based graphical interface for PyTrails, while PyTrails remains a general purpose library that can be used outside FreeCAD in other projects.
|The Turns workbench is a small component that was created during development of the Trails workbench. It performs vehicle swept-path analysis (turning analysis) for highway intersections and other entrances.|
|After working with Trails and Turns, the author decided to split the tracker code into a separate library called pivy_trackers. This is a general library that could be included in other workbenches to generate tracker objects and perform actions in the scene, like dragging lines, dragging points, and changing certain geometrical elements on the fly.|
|The Geomatics workbench provides functionality specific to survey engineering, such as importing geodata information, and creating surfaces from clouds of points. There are some issues with rendering objects that use large coordinates (kilometers) and importing large DXF files. If you want to help solving these issues, please contact the developers.
This workbench started as a fork of the older Geodata workbench by microelly2. Eventually it became a separate project by HakanSeven12. Now its code has been merged into the Trails workbench as it provides complementary functions to it. Therefore, in the future, please use Trails instead of the older Geomatics repository.