See Installing Helpfile.
Third party software
FreeCAD supports several third party software packages out of the box. In many cases all you need to do is install the software, and when FreeCAD is restarted it will automatically find and be able to use it. This section aims to provide a list of such software packages, together with some information about where they are used in FreeCAD and where they can be downloaded.
OpenSCAD is a solid 3D modeller. The OpenSCAD Workbench depends on this software and the Mesh Workbench uses it for its Boolean tools. It is also required for the import of SCAD files with the Std Import tool.
FreeCAD has a native importer and exporter for DXF files, programmed in C++. Currently they do not implement all features of the DXF format. For those features the legacy Python importer and exporter are still available. These require the Draft-dxf-importer Python library. See the FreeCAD and DXF Import page for more information.
FreeCAD cannot directly read and write DWG files. To convert DXF files to DWG files, and vice-versa, FreeCAD relies on external converters. There is built-in support for the following DWG converters:
- LibreDWG (open-source, lacks support for some DWG entities).
- ODA File Converter (free, but not open-source).
- QCAD pro (commercial). introduced in version 0.20
IfcOpenShell is a library for working with the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) file format used in architectural design. The library is also used by the Arch IfcExplorer (version 0.18 and below) and BIM IfcExplorer tools. IfcOpenShell is included in the FreeCAD installers for Windows and Mac.
IfcJson is a library required for exporting to the IFCJSON file format. IFCJSON is a new IFC format that is not yet supported by many applications.
Pycollada, also known as python-collada, is a Python library to read and write Collada (DAE) files. Pycollada is included in the FreeCAD installers for Windows and Mac.
LuxCoreRender is a render engine, reboot of the LuxRender project. Officially it is not supported by the Raytracing Workbench, but it might be worth to give it a try. It is officially supported by the new Render Workbench, intended as a future replacement of the Raytracing Workbench. See the LuxCoreRender page for more information and installation instructions.
LuxRender is one of the two render engines supported by the Raytracing Workbench. In 2013 the project has been rebooted becoming LuxCoreRender, with a major code rewriting and compatibility breaking changes. Officially the Raytracing Workbench only supports the abandoned LuxRender (latest version is 1.6, 2017-12-28), while the new Render Workbench (intended as a future replacement of the Raytracing Workbench) supports instead LuxCoreRender and has dropped the support for LuxRender. Anyway, even if officially not supported, LuxCoreRender may work with the Raytracing Workbench, it might be worth to give it a try. See the LuxRender page for more information and installation instructions, and the LuxCoreRender if you want to try a more modern software.
POV-Ray is a well-known ray-tracer which can render photo-realistic images. It is one of two render engines currently supported by the Raytracing Workbench. See the POV-Ray page for more information and installation instructions.
CalculiX is a suite of two finite element packages: CalculiX CrunchiX, a FEM solver, and CalculiX GraphiX, a GUI frontend. Only the solver is supported by FreeCAD. It is used by the Solver CalculiX tool.