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This tutorial shows how to place Arch Windows and Doors in a building model, how to display them as open in the 3D view, and how to create a 2D drawing (plan and elevation projection) for the model. It uses the Draft Workbench, the Arch Workbench, and the TechDraw Workbench.
See also the following page for some videos on how to work with windows and doors.
1. Open FreeCAD, create a new empty document, and switch to the Arch Workbench.
2. Make sure your units are set correctly in the menu Edit → Preferences → General → Units. For example,
MKS (m/kg/s/degree) is good for dealing with distances in a typical building; moreover, set the number of decimals to
4, to consider even the smallest fractions of a meter.
3. Use the Draft ToggleGrid button to show a grid with enough resolution. You can change the grid appearance in the menu Edit → Preferences → Draft → Grid and snapping → Grid. Set lines at every
50 mm, with major lines every
20 lines (every meter), and
1000 lines in total (the grid covers an area of 50 m x 50 m).
4. Zoom out of the 3D view if you are too close to the grid.
Now we are ready to create a simple building with closed walls, two doors and two windows.
Placing a wall
5. Use the Draft Wire tool to create a closed wire. Go counterclockwise.
- 5.1. First point in (0, 0, 0); in the dialog enter , , .
- 5.2. Second point in (3, 0, 0). Press to constrain the movement to the X axis; enter the value .
- 5.3. Third point in (3, 4, 0). Press to constrain the movement to the Y axis; enter the value .
- 5.4. Fourth point in (0, 4, 0). Press to constrain the movement to the X axis; enter the value .
- 5.5. Press to close the Wire, and close the tool.
- 5.6. In the number pad press axonometric view of the model. to get an
- Note: the points can also be defined with the mouse pointer by choosing intersections on the grid, with the help of the Draft Snap toolbar and the Draft Grid method.
6. Select the
DWire and change the property DataMake Face to
7. Select the
DWire and click the Arch Wall tool; the Wall is immediately created with a default width (thickness) of 0.2 m, and height of 3 m.
- Note: if the property DataMake Face of
true, this step would create a solid block, instead of using only the contour of
Base wire for the wall; it is a closed wire that doesn't make a face
Wall constructed from the wire
Placing doors and windows
8. Click the Arch Window tool; as preset select
Simple door, and change the height to 2 m.
- 8.1. Change the snapping to Draft Midpoint, and try selecting the bottom edge of the frontal wall; rotate the standard view as necessary to help you pick the edge and not the wall face; when the midpoint is active, click to place the door.
- 8.2. Click the Arch Window tool again, and place another door, but this time in the midpoint of the rear wall; rotate the standard view as necessary.
Snapping to the midpoint of the bottom edge of the wall to place the door
9. Click the Arch Window tool; as preset select
Open 1-pane, and change the
Sill height to 1 m.
- 9.1. Keep the snapping to Draft Midpoint, and try selecting the lower edge of the left side wall; rotate the standard view as necessary to help you pick the edge and not the wall face; when the midpoint is active, click to place the window.
- Note: the
Sill heightis the distance from the floor to the lower edge of the element. For doors the
Sill heightis usually 0 m as doors are normally touching the floor; on the other hand, windows have a usual separation of 0.5 m to 1.5 m from the floor.
- 9.2. Click the Arch Window tool again, and place another window, but this time in the midpoint of the right wall; rotate the standard view as necessary. This time make the window's width (length) 1.5 m, and again make the
Sill height1 m.
Snapping to the midpoint of the bottom edge of the wall to place the window
- Note: the
Sill heightparameter can only be set when initially creating the window with a preset. Once the window is inserted, modify its placement by editing the DataPosition vector
[x, y, z]of the underlying Sketcher Sketch.
- 9.3. Move the
Window001a bit higher. Select the underlying
Sketch003, and change its DataPosition from
[3.1 m, 2.0 m, 1.0 m]to
[3.1 m, 2.0 m, 1.6 m]. The entire
Window001should move up. The wall may still show an opening in the previous position; if this happens, right click the
Mark to recompute, and then press + to recompute the model.
Wall built with doors and windows
Note: when placing a window or a door with a preset, hover the element over the Arch Wall, and wait for the element to rotate so that it is parallel to that wall. Aim for the bottom edge of the wall, and use the
Sill height to adjust the distance from the floor. If this is difficult, use the Draft Near snapping mode of the Draft Snap toolbar to insert the element anywhere on the face of the wall, and then adjust its DataPosition manually as described above. Having many Draft Snap modes active at the same time may cause issues with placing the element, so try with only one option at a time.
Note 2: occasionally the window may be placed outside the Arch Wall; as long as the element is parallel to that wall, you should be able to correct the position manually.
Opening the doors
10. In the tree view select
Door, and press , or change the property ViewVisibility to
11. Double click
Door in the tree view to start editing it.
- 11.1. Inside the
Window elementsframe there are two panes,
- Note: with a simple door preset there are two wires,
Wire1, and two components,
Door. A custom designed Arch Door may have more wires and components.
- 11.2. Click on
Door, and click the button. This shows the properties of the
- 11.3. In the 3D view, select only one vertical edge in the visible sketch of the door, then click the button. The button should change to an edge name, for example, .
- 11.4. Change the
Opening modeto , or any other option.
- 11.5. Click the button, and then to finish editing the door. The sketch may become hidden again.
Dialog to edit a window or a door
Dialog to edit the components that make a window or a door
Vertical edge of sketch selected as hinge for a door
Door, and give the property DataOpening a value of 45. The solid panel of the door should open to the inside of the building.
Door, and change the property DataSymbol Elevation to
true; the tip of the created wire indicates which side of the door opens; this is easier to see if the viewport changes to front view. Change the property DataSymbol Plan to
true; a circular arc should indicate the extent of the door's swing; this is easier to see if the viewport changes to top view.
14. Repeat the steps with
Door001 and the underlying
Sketch001 to make the door open 75 degrees to the inside of the building. Also enable the elevation and plan symbols.
Property view of the door to change Opening value, Symbol elevation, Symbol plan, and other options
Door with opening elevation symbol, front view
Door with plan symbol, top view
Opening the windows
15. In the tree view select
Window, and press , or change the property ViewVisibility to
16. Double click
Window in the tree view to start editing it.
- 16.1. Click on the
InnerFramecomponent, and click the button.
- 16.2. In the 3D view, select only one vertical edge of
Sketch002. The wires representing
InnerFrameare very close to each other, so zoom in as close as possible to the sketch to select the appropriate wire. Then click the button. The button should change to an edge name, for example, .
- Note: when there are many solids on the screen that it becomes difficult to select only one edge, switch to wireframe mode to remove the faces of those solid objects, and see only the wires, edges, and contours.
- 16.3. Change the
Arc 90 inv, or any other option.
Window, and give the property DataOpening a value of 45. The inner frame containing the transparent glass should open to the inside of the building.
Window, and change the property DataSymbol Elevation to
true; the tip of the created wire indicates which side of the window opens; this is easier to see if the viewport changes to left side view. Change the property DataSymbol Plan to
true; a circular arc should indicate the extent of the window's swing; this is easier to see if the viewport changes to top view.
19. Repeat the steps with
Window001 and the underlying
Sketch003 to make the window open 75 degrees. Also show the elevation and plan symbols. In this case, don't pick a vertical wire of the
InnerFrame as hinge, but pick the top horizontal wire. This means that this window will open differently from the other window. The elevation symbol will be better seen from a right side view. The plan symbol will be better seen from the front view; however, since the wall is obstructing the view, you can change its ViewTransparency to a value such as 85 to see through it; alternatively you can also change its ViewDisplay Mode to
Wireframe to show only its edges.
Horizontal edge of sketch selected as hinge for a window
Elevation and plan symbols for all elements, axonometric view
Elevation and plan symbols for all elements, top view
Making a floor plan of the building
Note: change the property DataArrow size of the section plane to a larger value, for example,
200 mm, so that the direction of the section is clearly visible in the 3D viewport.
Section plane cutting through solid objects, including walls, doors, and windows
21. Change to the TechDraw Workbench and insert a new page with the TechDraw PageDefault tool; a new
Page object is created, and the view switches to this page. The page inserted is a standard A4 sheet in landscape orientation, with a basic frame around it. Use the TechDraw PageTemplate tool if you need to create a new page using a particular SVG template.
Section, and use the TechDraw ArchView tool to create an
ArchView object in the page. Most probably the new object won't be visible in the page because it has a very large scale of
1, that is, 1:1. This means that every meter in the 3D view is shown as a meter in the page view; since the page is only 0.297 m x 0.210 m in size, most features are too big to fit in this page at their natural scale.
23. Select this
ArchView object, and change the property DataScale to
0.02, which is equivalent to 1:50, a scale suitable for typical buildings. This means every meter in the 3D view will be shown as 20 mm in the page. The object should appear in the center of the page, and can be moved to a better position on the left side. The two doors should look like they are open, but only the left window should look open. The reason the right window doesn't appear in the projection is that the plane defined by
Section does not cut through this right window.
Section plane cutting through solid objects, including walls, doors, and windows
- 24.1. Select
Section001and change the property DataPosition to
[1.5 m, 2.0 m, 1.8 m]. This second plane does cut through all Arch objects.
- 24.2. Switch back to the TechDraw Workbench. Select
Section001, use the TechDraw ArchView tool to create
ArchView001, and set DataScale to
0.02. The new view in the TechDraw page now shows all openings in the Arch Wall produced by doors and windows.
Note: set DataAll On to
true for TechDraw ArchView objects so that all elements cut by the plane are visible in the page, regardless of their visibility state in the 3D viewport. The option DataShow Fill can also be set to
true to draw a shade on the solids that were cut by the section plane.
Section view of the building, with a second plane cut, A4 sheet, scale 1:50
Making an elevation projection of the building
25. Go back to the Arch Workbench. In the tree view, select all components, the Arch Wall, the two Arch Windows, and the two Arch Doors, then use the Arch SectionPlane tool to create a third
- 25.1. Rotate
Section002, so that it cuts vertically through the building. Change the properties DataAxis to
[1, 0, 0], and DataAngle to
- 25.2. Change the DataPosition to
[1.5 m, -1 m, 1.5 m], so that the plane is in front of the building.
Section planes that cut or look at the building and the solid objects
26. Go back to the TechDraw Workbench, and use the TechDraw ArchView tool on
Section002; remember to adjust the scale to
0.02 (1:50). Change DataRotation to
-90 to correct the appearance of the projections. Arrange
ArchView002 next to the other views in the page. This third projection looks at the building from the front.
Section view of the building, two top views, and one elevation view, A4 sheet, scale 1:50
Arch and TechDraw interaction
As of the time of writing of this document (FreeCAD 0.18, November 2018), the TechDraw Workbench can only display in its pages what the Arch Workbench exports as SVG. This means that the appearance of the elements included within the Arch SectionPlane tool, and displayed by the TechDraw ArchView tool, is controlled by the Arch Workbench.
The TechDraw Workbench only has minimal control over how it displays those Arch SectionPlane (
ArchView) objects. Therefore, bug reports and feature requests related to displaying Arch elements should be filed with both workbenches.
A closer interaction between the workbenches is planed for future versions of FreeCAD. In those versions it is expected that long-standing issues be resolved, such as controlling the characteristics of lines and faces (line width, line color, face color, hatch patterns, and others).