Workbenches

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FreeCAD, like many modern design applications such as Revit or CATIA, is based on the concept of Workbench. A workbench can be considered as a set of tools specially grouped for a certain task. In a traditional furniture workshop, you would have a work table for the person who works with wood, another one for the one who works with metal pieces, and maybe a third one for the guy who mounts all the pieces together.

In FreeCAD, the same concept applies. Tools are grouped into workbenches according to the tasks they are related to.

When you switch from one workbench to another, the tools available on the interface change. Toolbars, command bars and possibly other parts of the interface switch to the new workbench, but the contents of your scene doesn't change. You could, for example, start drawing 2D shapes with the Draft Workbench, then work further on them with the Part Workbench.

Note that sometimes a Workbench is referred to as a Module. However, Workbenches and Modules are different entities. A Module is any extension of FreeCAD, while a Workbench is a special type of Module with a GUI configuration (toolbars and menus).

Built-in workbenches

The following workbenches are bundled with every FreeCAD installation:

  • Freecad.svg Std Base. This is not really a workbench, but rather a category of 'standard' commands and tools that can be used in all workbenches.
  • Workbench FEM.svg The FEM Workbench provides Finite Element Analysis (FEA) workflow.
  • Workbench Inspection.svg The Inspection Workbench is made to give you specific tools for examination of shapes. It is still under development.
  • Workbench Path.svg The Path Workbench is used to produce G-Code instructions. It is still under development.
  • Workbench Reverse Engineering.svg The Reverse Engineering Workbench is intended to provide specific tools to convert shapes/solids/meshes into parametric FreeCAD-compatible features. It is still under development.
  • Workbench Surface.svg The Surface Workbench provides tools to create and modify surfaces. It is similar as the Part Shape builder Face from edges.

Deprecated

The following workbenches are still included in the base installation for compatibility purposes, but they should no longer be used.

External workbenches

FreeCAD workbenches are easy to program in Python, there are therefore many people developing additional workbenches outside of the FreeCAD main development area.

The external workbenches page lists all that are known to this community. Most are easily installable from within FreeCAD, using the Addon Manager, found under menu Tools → Std AddonMgr.svg Addon manager.

New workbenches are always in development, stay tuned!

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