After installing FreeCAD for your operating system (Windows, Linux or Mac), you may want to consider installing one or more of the following additional components.
See Installing Helpfile.
Apart from the default workbenches bundled with FreeCAD, there is a large collection of useful external workbenches made by community members.
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.
GitPython is a library to interact with Git repositories. The Addon Manager can use this library. GitPython is included in the FreeCAD installers for Windows and Mac.
GraphViz is an open source graph visualization software. It is used by the Std DependencyGraph tool.
OpenCAMLib is an open source library of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) algorithms. It is used in the Path Workbench. See the OpenCamLib page for installation instructions.
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.
All software in this section will be used by the Std Import or Std Export tools.
CADExchanger is a commercial application for exchanging various CAD file formats. There is an external workbench to use this application in FreeCAD.
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
See Import Export Preferences and FreeCAD and DWG Import for more information.
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.
Gmsh is an automatic finite element mesh generator. it is used by the FEM MeshGmshFromShape and Mesh FromPartShape tools.
Elmer is a multi-physics simulation software, which was open sourced in 2005. In FreeCAD its Grid and Solver modules are used by the FEM SolverElmer tool.
FEniCS is a computing platform to solve partial differential equations (PDEs), which are widely used when solving FEM problems. It is used by the FEM workbench
Z88 is another FEM program, containing a mesher, a solver and converters. It is used by the FEM SolverZ88 tool. FreeCAD requires the open source Z88OS package.
OpenFOAM is a large collection of libraries for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. OpenFOAM is used by the Cfd and CfdOF external workbenches.