Difference between revisions of "Getting started"

From FreeCAD Documentation
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Line 1: Line 1:
===Foreword===
+
==Foreword==
FreeCAD is a CAD/CAE parametric modeling application. It is still in early stage of development, so don't expect to be able to use it to produce work already. But, if you are curious about what FreeCAD looks like and what features are being developed, you are welcome to download it and give it a try. At the moment, much functionality is already present, but not much user interface has been created for it. This means that if you know a bit of python, you will already be able to produce and modify geometry relatively easily. If not, you will probably find that FreeCAD still has few to offer to you. But, be patient, this is expected to change soon.
+
 
 +
FreeCAD is a CAD/CAE parametric modeling application. It is still in early stage of development, so don't expect to be able to use it to produce work already. But, if you are curious about what FreeCAD looks like and what features are being developed, you are welcome to download it and give it a try. At the moment, much functionality is already present, but not much user interface has been created for it. This means that if you know a bit of python, you will already be able to produce and modify complex geometry relatively easily. If not, you will probably find that FreeCAD still has few to offer to you. But, be patient, this is expected to change soon.
  
 
And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the [https://apps.sourceforge.net/phpbb/free-cad/index.php FreeCAD discussion forum]!
 
And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the [https://apps.sourceforge.net/phpbb/free-cad/index.php FreeCAD discussion forum]!
  
===Installing===
+
==Installing==  
First of all (if not done already) download and install FreeCAD. See the [[Download]] page for information about current versions and updates. There are install packages ready for Windows (.msi), Ubuntu (.deb) and openSUSE (.rpm). Installation is pretty straightforward and shouldn't give you any problem. At the moment there is no package for Mac OSX but we are working on it...
+
 
 +
First of all (if not done already) download and install FreeCAD. See the [[Download]] page for information about current versions and updates. There are install packages ready for Windows (.msi), Ubuntu & Debian (.deb) openSUSE (.rpm) and Mac OSX.
  
===Exploring FreeCAD===
+
==Exploring FreeCAD==
  
[[Image:interface screenshot.jpg|frame|none|The FreeCAD interface. See more [[screenshots]] here.]]
+
[[Image:Freecad09-empty.jpg|frame|none|The FreeCAD interface when you start it for the first time. See more [[screenshots]] here.]]
  
 
FreeCAD is a general all-purpose 3D modeling application, focused on mechanical engineering and related areas, such as other engineering specialties or architecture. It is conceived as a platform for developing any kind of 3D application, but also for doing very specific tasks. For that purpose, its interface is divided into a serie of [[Workbenches]]. Workbenches allow to change the interface contents to display all and only the tools necessary for a specific task, or group of tasks.
 
FreeCAD is a general all-purpose 3D modeling application, focused on mechanical engineering and related areas, such as other engineering specialties or architecture. It is conceived as a platform for developing any kind of 3D application, but also for doing very specific tasks. For that purpose, its interface is divided into a serie of [[Workbenches]]. Workbenches allow to change the interface contents to display all and only the tools necessary for a specific task, or group of tasks.
Line 15: Line 17:
 
The FreeCAD interface can therefore be described as a very simple container, with a menu bar, a 3D view area, and a couple of side panels for displaying the scene contents or object properties. All the contents of these panels can be changes depending on the workbench.
 
The FreeCAD interface can therefore be described as a very simple container, with a menu bar, a 3D view area, and a couple of side panels for displaying the scene contents or object properties. All the contents of these panels can be changes depending on the workbench.
  
Several workbenches of FreeCAD contain already enough functionality to produce and modify geometry: The [[Mesh Module|Mesh workbench]], for example, is designed to handle mesh objects. The [[Part Module|Part workbench]] gives you access to a more powerful CAD kernel. There is also a 2d [[Draft Module|Draft workbench]] available as a plugin.  
+
When you start FreeCAD for the first time, you will be presented a "general" workbench, that we call "complete workbench". This workbench simply gathers the most mature tools from other workbenches. Since FreeCAD is pretty young and not yet used for very specialized work, this workbench is very handy for discovering FreeCAD more easily. Basically, all the tools that are good enough for producing geometry are here.
  
Some things you can do with the [[Mesh Module|Mesh workbench]]:
+
==[[Draft Module|2D Drafting]]==
* Import and export meshes in several file formats
 
* Convert Part objects into meshes
 
* Analyse curvature, faces, and check if a mesh can be safely converted into a solid
 
* Close holes or remove faces of meshes
 
* Union, subtract and intersect meshes
 
* Create mesh primitives, like cubes, spheres, cones or cylinders
 
* Cut meshes along a line
 
  
Some things you can do with the [[Part Module|Part workbench]]:
+
{{Draft Tools}}
* Create primitive geometry like Plane, Box, Cylinder, Cone, Sphere, Ellipsoid and Torus
 
* Import shapes from other file formats
 
* Union, subtract, intersect shapes
 
* Extrude flat shapes
 
* Fillet edges of shapes
 
  
Some things you can do with the [[Draft Module|Draft workbench]]:
 
* Create lines, circles, arcs, and rectangles
 
* Change those objects into flat shapes
 
* Move, rotate, offset, trim, or extend shapes
 
* Import and export 2D drawings to other file formats
 
  
=== Scripting in FreeCAD ===
+
==[[Part Module|Creating 3D Parts]]==
  
Since FreeCAD is still in alpha stage, those workbenches have at the moment very few elements of user interface (icons & buttons), but much more functionality is available by [[Scripting|python scripting]]. Each FreeCAD workbench is also a python module, that can be loaded and manipulated from the built-in python interpreter. FreeCAD has been made from start to be extensively scriptable, and, if you can program a bit of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_(programming_language) python], you will be amazed by the power you have in FreeCAD!
+
{{Part Tools}}
  
Python scripting in FreeCAD is very easy, you can get an idea about it by reading [[FreeCAD Scripting Basics]]. To know what you can do with the [[Mesh Module]] by scripting, read the [[Mesh Scripting]] page. In a similar way, the [[Topological data scripting]] page shows how to access and use the [[Part Module]].
 
  
 
{{Userdocnavi}}
 
{{Userdocnavi}}
  
 
[[Category:User Documentation]]
 
[[Category:User Documentation]]

Revision as of 16:06, 22 November 2009

Foreword

FreeCAD is a CAD/CAE parametric modeling application. It is still in early stage of development, so don't expect to be able to use it to produce work already. But, if you are curious about what FreeCAD looks like and what features are being developed, you are welcome to download it and give it a try. At the moment, much functionality is already present, but not much user interface has been created for it. This means that if you know a bit of python, you will already be able to produce and modify complex geometry relatively easily. If not, you will probably find that FreeCAD still has few to offer to you. But, be patient, this is expected to change soon.

And if after testing you have feedback, ideas or opinions, please share it with us on the FreeCAD discussion forum!

Installing

First of all (if not done already) download and install FreeCAD. See the Download page for information about current versions and updates. There are install packages ready for Windows (.msi), Ubuntu & Debian (.deb) openSUSE (.rpm) and Mac OSX.

Exploring FreeCAD

The FreeCAD interface when you start it for the first time. See more screenshots here.

FreeCAD is a general all-purpose 3D modeling application, focused on mechanical engineering and related areas, such as other engineering specialties or architecture. It is conceived as a platform for developing any kind of 3D application, but also for doing very specific tasks. For that purpose, its interface is divided into a serie of Workbenches. Workbenches allow to change the interface contents to display all and only the tools necessary for a specific task, or group of tasks.

The FreeCAD interface can therefore be described as a very simple container, with a menu bar, a 3D view area, and a couple of side panels for displaying the scene contents or object properties. All the contents of these panels can be changes depending on the workbench.

When you start FreeCAD for the first time, you will be presented a "general" workbench, that we call "complete workbench". This workbench simply gathers the most mature tools from other workbenches. Since FreeCAD is pretty young and not yet used for very specialized work, this workbench is very handy for discovering FreeCAD more easily. Basically, all the tools that are good enough for producing geometry are here.

2D Drafting

Template:Draft Tools


Creating 3D Parts

Template:Part Tools