The Part Design Workbench provides tools for modelling complex solid parts and is based on a Feature editing methodology to produce a single contiguous solid. It is intricately linked with the Sketcher Workbench.
The sketch is the building block for creating and editing solid parts. The workflow can be summarized by this: a sketch containing 2D geometry is created first, then a solid creation tool is used on the sketch. At the moment the available tools are:
- Pad which extrudes a sketch
- Pocket which creates a pocket on an existing solid
- Revolution which creates a solid by revolving a sketch along an axis
- Groove which creates a groove in an existing solid
More tools are planned in future releases.
A very important concept in the PartDesign Workbench is the sketch support. Sketches can be created on standard planes (XY, XZ, YZ and planes parallel to them) or on a planar face of an existing solid. For this last case, the existing solid becomes the support of the sketch. Several tools will only work with sketches that have a support, for example, Pocket - without a support there would be nothing to remove material from!
After solid geometry has been created it can be modified with chamfers and fillets or transformed, e.g. mirrored or patterned.
The PartDesign Workbench is meant to create a single, connected solid. Multiple solids will be possible with the Assembly workbench.
As we create a model in the Part Design Workbench, each feature takes the shape of the last one and adds or removes something, creating linear dependencies from feature to feature as the model is created. Hence a "Cut" feature is not only the cut hole itself, but the whole part with the cut. As a new feature is added to the model, FreeCAD turns off visibility of the old features. The user usually should only have the newest item (feature) in the model tree visible, because otherwise the other phases of the model overlay each other, and holes are filled in by the earlier model features that didn't yet have those holes.
To toggle visibility of an object on or off, select it in the hierarchy tree and press the Spacebar. Usually everything but the last item in the hierarchy tree should be greyed out and therefore not visible in the 3D view.
The Part Design tools are all located in the Part Design menu that appears when you load the Part Design module.
They include the Sketcher Workbench tools, since the Part Design module is so dependent on them.
The Sketcher Tools
The Part Design Tools
Only for a development version of FreeCAD that is not currently available as a binary or installer: