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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)Jürgen Riegel, Werner Mayer, Yorik van Havre[1][a]
Initial release29 October 2002;
21 years ago
Stable release
0.21.2 / November 14, 2023; 7 months ago (2023-11-14)
Preview release
Written inC++, Python
Operating systemLinux
Type3D Modeling, CAD, CAM, BIM, FEM
Interior of 3D house
Arduino board imported from Eagle PCB software

FreeCAD is a general-purpose parametric 3D computer-aided design (CAD) modeler and a building information modeling (BIM) software application with finite element method (FEM) support.[2] It is intended for mechanical engineering product design but also expands to a wider range of uses around engineering, such as architecture or electrical engineering. FreeCAD is free and open-source, under the LGPL-2.0-or-later license, and available for Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems. Users can extend the functionality of the software using the Python programming language.



FreeCAD features tools similar to CATIA, Creo, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, NX, Inventor, Revit, and therefore also falls into the category of building information modeling (BIM), mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD), PLM, CAx and CAE. It is intended to be a feature-based parametric modeler with a modular software architecture, which makes it easy to provide additional functionality without modifying the core system.

As with many modern 3D CAD modelers, FreeCAD has a 2D component to facilitate 3D-to-2D drawing conversion. Under its current state, direct 2D drawing (like AutoCAD LT) is not the focus for this software, and neither are animation or 3D model manipulation (like Blender, Maya, or Cinema 4D). However, the modular nature of FreeCAD allows the user to adapt its workflow for such environments via the use of plugins.

FreeCAD uses open-source libraries from the field of computing science; among them are Open CASCADE Technology[3][4] (a CAD kernel), Coin3D (an incarnation of Open Inventor), the Qt GUI framework, and Python, a popular scripting language. FreeCAD itself can also be used as a library by other programs.[5]

There are moves to expand FreeCAD in the architecture, electrical, and construction (AEC) engineering sectors and to add building information modeling (BIM) functionality with the Arch Module.[6]

As of late 2020, 3D Models searcher of CADENAS called 3DfindIT.com is integrated into FreeCAD.[7]

Supported file formats[edit]

FreeCAD's own main file format is FreeCAD Standard file format (.FCStd).[8] It is a standard zip file that holds files in a certain structure.[8] The Document.xml file has all geometric and parametric objects definitions.[8] GuiDocument.xml then has visual representation details of objects.[8] Other files include brep-files for objects and thumbnail of drawing.[8]

Besides FreeCAD's own file format, files can be exported and imported in DXF, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), STEP, IGES, STL (STereoLithography), OBJ (Wavefront), DAE (Collada), SCAD (OpenSCAD), IV (Inventor) and IFC.[9]

DWG support[edit]

FreeCAD's support for the proprietary DWG file format has been problematic due to software license compatibility problems with the GNU LibreDWG library. The GNU LibreDWG library started as a real free alternative to the source-available OpenDWG library (later Teigha Converter and now ODA File Converter) and is licensed under the GPLv3. As FreeCAD (and also LibreCAD) has dependencies on Open Cascade, which prior to version 6.7.0 was only compatible with GPLv2,[10] it couldn't use the GNU LibreDWG library as GPLv2 and GPLv3 are essentially incompatible.[11][12] Open CASCADE technology was contacted by Debian team in 2009, and 2012 got a reply that Open CASCADE technology was considering dual-licensing OCCT (the library), however they postponed that move. A request also went to the FSF to relicense GNU LibreDWG as GPLv2 or LGPLv3, which was rejected.[13]

As of 2014 the 0.14 release of FreeCAD, including the new LGPL release of Open Cascade, the BSD-licensed version of Coin3D, and the removal of PyQT, FreeCAD is now completely GPL-free.[14] However, LibreDWG has not been adopted. FreeCAD is able to import and export a limited subset[15] of the DWG format via the ODA File Converter (the former OpenDWG library).[citation needed]

Promotions during events[edit]

Yorik van Havre presenting FreeCAD at FISL 16 in 2015

FreeCAD was notably presented at FISL 16 in 2015, in Porto Alegre,[16] as well as at the Libre Graphics Meeting in London in 2016.[17] These two exhibitions can bring together both developers and users. In 2020, it was during FOSDEM in Brussels that two of these developers, Yorik Van Havre and Brad Collette made the presentation.[18]

FreeCAD 1.0[edit]

The FreeCAD 1.0 version will be released in July 2024,[19] and includes several interesting features, such as the new assembly workbench; fixes for many bugs, including the topological naming problem; unification and correction of many workbenches; very diverse changes and improvements in the user interface and user experience (UI/UX);[20] and a new logo, chosen from 5 finalists of the public contest created to renew the brand.[21]

New logo of FreeCAD, designed by Sebastián Tabares (syta.co)


With the release of FreeCAD 1.0 on the horizon, it was decided to make a logo and branding change. At the request of the project managers, the intent here is to follow a similar approach to corporate logos and evolve.[22]

A public call for proposals opened on March 22 until April 14, 2024 and allowed for a single logo proposal to be uploaded.[23] With multiple and varied proposals, the community came together in a surprising and broad way, generating designs and discussions on many social networks including Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Discord and the discussion forums themselves. By the time the submission period ended, there were already 46 valid options to choose from.[24]

A weighted poll was then conducted that allowed any member of the community to vote for 5 logos that, in their opinion, best represented the principles, values and representativeness of FreeCAD, or simply worked graphically in the best way. Likewise, there was a massive participation of the community generating opinions and discussions on the relevance or not of the options.[25]

By the time the survey was completed, which was on May 1, 2024, there was a participation of about 1500 people who chose their 5 favorite logos, allowing to choose the final logos that would be sent to the maintainer team for their final decision:[26]

5 finalists in the poll to choose the new FreeCAD logo

On May 21, 2024, a final decision had already been made and was announced in all the media and social networks available in the following days,[27][28][29] and although there was quite a lot of discussion within the team, it was possible to reach a consensus defined by only 1 vote compared to the second favorite.

In the words of the maintainer team:

FreeCAD has had the same logo for many years, and in recent years the community told the Maintainers team loud and clear that it was time for a change. Thanks to the hard work of Obelisk and a whole cadre of talented designers, a collection of excellent candidates was assembled that kept the spirit of the original logo, but also evolved it, sometimes in unexpectedly delightful ways (the dino-logo holds a special place in my heart). A community vote was conducted to narrow the list to five candidates, and those were presented to the Maintainers team for final decision. That decision was a difficult one: the Maintainers did not achieve a consensus result, and had to simply go with a “majority rules” vote. There were strong opinions about each of the final candidates, and in the end the chosen logo won by a single vote. Thanks to the FreeCAD community for such an outpouring of enthusiasm for the process (over 1500 people voted). There were many great possibilities, and we know that many of your favorites didn’t make the cut. In the end, only one logo could be selected (until next time…). Enjoy![30]

The winning logo was designed and proposed by Sebastián Tabares (syta.co) in the respective forum and Discord thread, accompanied by a showcase showing the different uses and variations that can be given to the logo,[31] immediately, it got support from many members of the community that from that moment began to give their “touch” to the initiative, including designs for CNC machining, 3D printing, stickers, GIFs, animations, FEM models, merchandise, wallpapers, among many other things.

At the time of writing this section, the community is in the process of changing its brand presence in the different resources where the logo is used, such as forums, social networks, wikis, GitHub repositories, etc, in preparation for the release of FreeCAD 1.0; however, there is already an official guideline for the use of the logo in its short, long and mono version; the recommended and prohibited uses, all available in [1].[32]

FreeCAD logo in its long variation, with the wordmark in Evolventa lettering.[33]

Release history[edit]

Version Release date Information
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.0.1 October 29, 2002 Initial release
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.1 January 27, 2003
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.2 August 9, 2005
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.3 October 31, 2005
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4 January 15, 2006
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.5 October 5, 2006
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.6 February 27, 2007
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7 April 24, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.8 July 10, 2009
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.9 January 16, 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.10 July 24, 2010
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.11 May 3, 2011 Sketcher, Part, 2D and Robot modules[34]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.12 November 20, 2011 Architecture Module[35]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.13 January 29, 2013 Ship Design module, Openscad module, 3D mice support[36]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.14 July 1, 2014 License changed to LGPLv2+, spreadsheet module, render to LuxRender[15]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.15 April 8, 2015 Oculus Rift support, updated ifc importer in Architecture module[37]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.16 April 18, 2016 FEM workbench, Path module[38]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.17 April 6, 2018 Addon manager, Surface module, TechDraw module[39]
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.18 March 12, 2019 New Start view, extended Arch module, many improved modules[40] In 0.18.5 Addon-Manager broken, so 0.18.4 is stable release.
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.19 March 20, 2021 Modules to Python 3 and Qt5 mostly ported,[41] actual 0.19.4
Old version, no longer maintained: 0.20 June 14, 2022 Completely rewritten Addon Manager, more than 30 new tools in TechDraw, persistent section cuts, many improvements of existing tools[42]
Current stable version: 0.21 August 2, 2023 Planned as the final release before patches for the topological naming problem introduce performance regressions. Various user interface and workbench improvements.[43][44]
Future release: 1.0 July 2024 development version with weekly builds[45][46]
Old version
Older version, still maintained
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jürgen Riegel no longer participates in the active development of FreeCAD since the end of 2015.


  1. ^ "FreeCAD History". wiki.freecad.org.
  2. ^ "Testing FEM Workbench of FreeCAD". jolahde.kapsi.fi. Retrieved 2020-05-31.
  3. ^ "Feature list - FreeCAD Documentation". wiki.freecadweb.org. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  4. ^ "Open Cascade at FOSDEM 2020". opencascade.com. Archived from the original on 2020-06-19. Retrieved 2020-06-01.
  5. ^ Okoi, Martins (December 1, 2017). "FreeCAD – A 3D Modeling and Design Software for Linux". FOSSMint. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  6. ^ "Arch Module". FreeCAD wiki. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  7. ^ "3DfindIT.com Directly Integrated into FreeCAD". Digital Engineering. 2020-12-21. Retrieved 2021-04-08.
  8. ^ a b c d e "File Format FCStd - FreeCAD Documentation". freecadweb.org. Retrieved 2015-09-03.
  9. ^ "Feature list". FreeCAD wiki. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  10. ^ Larabel, Michael (2013-01-24). "FSF Wastes Away Another "High Priority" Project". Phoronix. Archived from the original on 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
  11. ^ Prokoudine, Alexandre (26 January 2012). "What's up with DWG adoption in free software?". libregraphicsworld.org. Archived from the original on 2016-11-09. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses – Is GPLv3 compatible with GPLv2?". The official site. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  13. ^ Prokoudine, Alexandre (2012-12-27). "LibreDWG drama: the end or the new beginning?". libregraphicsworld.org. Archived from the original on 2016-11-09. Retrieved 2013-08-23.
  14. ^ "License". freecadweb.org. 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-12-04. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  15. ^ a b "Release notes 0.14 - FreeCAD Documentation".
  16. ^ van Havre, Yorik (2015). "FreeCAD at FISL16" (PDF). yorik.uncreated.net.
  17. ^ van Havre, Yorik (2016). "Yorik van Havre at LGM 2016" (PDF). yorik.uncreated.net.
  18. ^ "Open-source design ecosystems around FreeCAD". archive.fosdem.org. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  19. ^ "1.0 feature freeze starts June 3rd, 2024 - FreeCAD Forum". forum.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  20. ^ "Release notes 1.0 - FreeCAD Documentation". wiki.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  21. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Poll - FreeCAD Forum". forum.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  22. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Refresh Contest". FreeCAD News. 2024-03-28. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  23. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Refresh - FreeCAD Forum". forum.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  24. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Poll - FreeCAD Forum". forum.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  25. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Poll". r/FreeCAD. 2024-04-22. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  26. ^ "Vote for a new FreeCAD logo". FreeCAD News. 2024-04-29. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  27. ^ "FreeCAD gets a logo upgrade". FreeCAD News. 2024-05-22. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  28. ^ "New FreeCAD Logo Announced!". r/FreeCAD. 2024-05-21. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  29. ^ "x.com". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  30. ^ "New FreeCAD Logo Announced!". r/FreeCAD. 2024-05-21. Retrieved 2024-06-01.
  31. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Logo Refresh - Page 9 - FreeCAD Forum". forum.freecad.org. Retrieved 2024-05-31.
  32. ^ "New logo Guidelines and images update by sytabaresa · Pull Request #192 · FreeCAD/FPA". GitHub. Retrieved 2024-06-01.
  33. ^ "Evolventa font family". evolventa.github.io. Retrieved 2024-06-01.
  34. ^ "Release notes 0.11 - FreeCAD Documentation".
  35. ^ "Release notes 0.12 - FreeCAD Documentation".
  36. ^ "Release notes 0.13 - FreeCAD Documentation".
  37. ^ "Release notes 0.15". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Release notes 0.16". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Release notes 0.17". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  40. ^ "Release notes 0.18". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Release notes 0.19". Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Release notes 0.20". Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  43. ^ "Coming Soon: FreeCAD 0.21". FreeCAD News. 2023-04-28. Retrieved 2023-04-29.
  44. ^ "Release notes 0.21 - FreeCAD Documentation". wiki.freecad.org. Retrieved 2023-04-30.
  45. ^ "Release notes 1.0". Retrieved 2024-05-27.
  46. ^ "FreeCAD 1.0 Development Cycle".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]