Release notes 0.19
FreeCAD 0.19 was released on DD Month 2020, 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.
- 1 Highlights
- 2 General
- 3 User interface
- 4 App::Link and assembly
- 5 Addon Manager
- 6 Arch Workbench
- 7 Draft Workbench
- 8 FEM Workbench
- 9 Part Workbench
- 10 PartDesign Workbench
- 11 Path Workbench
- 12 Render Workbench
- 13 Sketcher Workbench
- 14 Spreadsheet Workbench
- 15 Start Workbench
- 16 Surface Workbench
- 17 TechDraw Workbench
- 18 Material Handling
- 19 Macros
- 20 Additional modules
- 20.1 3D Printing Tools
- 20.2 A2plus
- 20.3 Assembly3
- 20.4 Assembly4
- 20.5 ArchTextures
- 20.6 BOLTSFC
- 20.7 CurvedShapes Workbench
- 20.8 Dodo (formerly Flamingo)
- 20.9 Fasteners
- 20.10 Geomatics Workbench
- 20.11 MeshRemodel Workbench
- 20.12 MOOC Workbench
- 20.13 NodeEditor (PyFlow)
- 20.14 Trails (and PyTrails and Turns)
- 20.15 Other Modules
Horizontal 4 cylinder rotary valve steam engine, by "un1corn", Users Showcase.
Add a high quality image here that highlights a development in FreeCAD 0.19, with its author, and link to the image's origin.
Add a high quality image here that highlights a development in FreeCAD 0.19, with its author, and link to the image's origin.
Add a high quality image here that highlights a development in FreeCAD 0.19, with its author, and link to the image's origin.
With more than 3000 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.
- Merged QtWebEngine support; pull request #1937.
- New Libpack for Windows with Qt 5.12, OCC 7.3 and Python 3.6; forum discussion.
- Added support for existing Python virtual environments; pull request #2021.
- Fixed broken support for "INCH" units when exporting to STEP/IGES formats; forum discussion, commit 1b26173580.
- Improved import/export compatibility with proprietary CAD systems, when using compressed STEP, or STPZ; forum discussion, pull request #2323, commit 7de89cf62e.
- 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.
- The Compile on Linux/Unix 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.
- 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 or 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.
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, was introduced in FreeCAD. This is a special type of
App::DocumentObject with certain properties that will hopefully allow for doing assemblies easier.
A "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 a "Link" is already present in some workbenches like Arch and BIM (clones, external references), but the "Link" implementation is at the core level, and thus can be used by all workbenches in different ways.
The "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 "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 "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 "Link" functionality. The workbench served as a testbed for the "Link" component during its development. While Assembly3 is still not officially part of FreeCAD, with the inclusion of "Link", it is a matter of time for Assembly3 to be provided as an installable add-on, just like A2plus Workbench is provided currently.
Other additions in the App::Link merge
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.|
|Selected elements hidden by other elements are highlighted to indicate their position within the model.|
|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.|
|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.
|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.|
|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.|
|Substantial reworking of 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 NewDraft and TechDraw NewArch.|
|New Draft Fillet tool that creates a fillet (rounded corner) or a chamfer (straight line) between two simple Draft Lines.|
|The Draft Array tool has a new "Circular Array" mode. This is controlled by new parameters: RadialDistance, TangentialDistance, NumberCircles, and Symmetry.|
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.
- Undergoing efforts to split tools into their own module files to ease maintenance of the codebase for the future; forum discussion, commit 16c26cb3b1.
- 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.
- 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.
Further FEM Improvements
- Updated coding standards that strive for PEP8 compliance with Python; forum discussion, commit ad03ee9bdf, commit 27cb54009b.
- 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).
|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.|
- 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.
|Added coolant modes for coolant management.|
- Added Path DressupBoundary for excluding parts of a path
Further Path Improvements
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
|Re-added example files to the Start page with saved thumbnails in their icons.|
|Improved placing and scaling of a 3D viewport screenshot in a TechDraw page.|
|New TechDraw Balloon tool to add balloon decorators to create notes with numbers, letters, and text.|
|New TechDraw LeaderLine and TechDraw RichTextBlock 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 WeldingSymbol tool to provide welding symbols. One of the most requested features from the older Drawing Workbench is finally in TechDraw.
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 NewArch, TechDraw ActiveView hopes to improve the interaction between Arch and TechDraw to document building models.|
|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.|
|Improvements on the handling of sectional views with TechDraw NewSection.|
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).
- 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.
See Macros recipes for many more macros.
|Automatic light-gauge steel frame creator and panelizer.|
See external workbenches for the full list of additional workbenches that can be installed in FreeCAD. 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.
|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 applications in architecture and mechanical design.
Trails (and PyTrails and Turns)
|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. Read more in the wiki page Civil Engineering/Transportation Workbench.
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.
|Scripting based on the CadQuery CAD scripting API. A new code editor is available and script variables can be edited dynamically through a parameter dialog. The workbench also supports normal file operations for CadQuery scripts (open, new, close, etc), and example scripts to help users learn new concepts.|
|A collection of tools to create and edit NURBS curves and surfaces.|
|Defeaturing Workbench |
|Edit imported STEP models and remove selected features from the model.|
|Electromagnetic (EM) |
|Import Autodesk Inventor files (in progress).|
|KicadStepUp Workbench |
|Provide support for KiCad and FreeCAD users in ECAD and MCAD collaboration.|
|Lithophane Workbench |
|Create Lithophanes by projecting images onto solid surfaces|
|Manipulator Workbench |
|Tools to aid in part manipulation|
discussion github Microelly's "FreeCAD Buch"
|A collection of scripts for managing freeform surfaces and curves.|
|SheetMetal Workbench |
Discussion (thread 1 | thread 2 | thread 3) github
|Tools for designing and bending objects made from sheet metal|
|A collection of NURBS surface modeling tools focused on low degree and seam continuity.|
|SQL Workbench |
|Perform Structured Query Language (SQL) queries on FreeCAD document files to retrieve and report model data.|