Line drawing function

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This page shows how advanced functionality can easily be built in python. In this exercise, we will be building a new tool that draws a line. This tool can then be linked to a freecad command, and that command can be called by any element of the interface, like a menu item or a toolbar button.

The main script

First we will write a script containing all our functionality. Then, we will save this in a file, and import it in FreeCAD, so all classes and functions we write will be availible to FreeCAD. So, launch your favorite text editor, and type the following lines:

import FreeCADGui, Part

 class line:
   "this class will creates a line after the user clicked 2 points on the screen"
   def __init__(self):
     self.view = FreeCADGui.ActiveDocument.ActiveView
     self.stack = []
     self.callback = self.view.addEventCallback("SoMouseButtonEvent",self.getpoint)
     print "click the two points of the line"
   def getpoint(self,info):
     if info["State"] == "DOWN":
       pos = info["Position"]
       point = self.view.getPoint(pos[0],pos[1])
       if len(self.stack) == 2:
   def drawline(self):
     l = Part.Line(self.stack[0],self.stack[1])
     shape = l.toShape()

Detailed explanation

import Part, FreeCADGui

In python, when you want to use functions from another module, you need to import it. In our case, we will need functions from the Part module, for creating the line, and from the Gui module (FreeCADGui), for accessing the 3D view.

class line:

Here we define our main class. Why do we use a class and not a function? The reason is that we need our tool to stay "alive" while we are waiting for the user to click on the screen. A function ends when its task has been done, but an object (a class defines an object) stays alive until it is destroyed.

"this class will creates a line after the user clicked 2 points on the screen"

In python, every class or function can have a description string. This is particularly useful in FreeCAD, because when you'll call that class in the interpreter, the description string will be displayed as a tooltip.

def __init__(self):

Python classes can always contain an __Init__ function, which is executed when the class is called to create an object. So, we will put here everything we want to happen when our line tool begins.

self.view = FreeCADGui.ActiveDocument.ActiveView

In a class, you usually want to append self. before a variable name, so it will be easily accessible to all functions in that class. Here, we will use self.view to access and manipulate the active 3D view.