Arch Workbench

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Arch workbench icon

Introduction

[The BIM, Native-IFC and Arch WB were merged int BIM WB in May 2024]

The Arch Workbench provides a modern Building Information Modelling (BIM) workflow to FreeCAD, with support for features like fully parametric architectural entities such as walls, beams, roofs, windows, stairs, pipes, and furniture. It supports Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) files, and production of 2D floor plans in combination with the TechDraw Workbench.

The Arch Workbench imports all tools from the Draft Workbench, as it uses its 2D objects to build 3D parametric architectural objects. Nevertheless, Arch can also use solid shapes created with other workbenches like Part and PartDesign.

The BIM functionality of FreeCAD is now progressively split into this Arch Workbench, which holds basic architectural tools, and the BIM Workbench, which is available from the Addon Manager. This BIM Workbench adds a new interface layer on top of the Arch tools, with the aim of making the BIM workflow more intuitive and user-friendly. See FreeCAD BIM migration guide.

The developers of Draft, Arch, and BIM also collaborate with the greater OSArch community, with the ultimate goal of improving building design by using entirely free software.

Tools

These are tools for creating architectural objects.

  • Wall: Creates a wall from scratch or using a selected object as a base.
  • Structure: Creates a structural element from scratch or using a selected object as a base.
  • Straight Rebar: Creates a straight reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • U-Shape Rebar: Creates a U-shape reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • L-Shape Rebar: Creates an L-shape reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • Stirrup: Creates a stirrup reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • Bent-Shape Rebar: Creates a bent-shape reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • Helical Rebar: Creates a helical reinforcement bar in a selected structural element.
  • Custom Rebar: Creates a custom reinforcement bar in a selected structural element using a sketch.
  • Curtain Wall: Creates a curtain wall from scratch or using a selected object as a base.
  • Building Part: Creates a building part including selected objects.
  • Project: Creates a project including selected objects.
  • Site: Creates a site including selected objects.
  • Building: Creates a building including selected objects.
  • Level: Creates a floor including selected objects.
  • Window: Creates a window from scratch or using a selected object as a base.
  • Roof: Creates a sloped roof from a selected wire.
  • Axis: Adds a 1-direction array of axes.
  • Axis System: Adds an axis system composed of several axes.
  • Grid: Adds a grid-like object.
  • Space: Creates a space object.
  • Stairs: Creates a stairs object.
  • Panel: Creates a panel object from a selected 2D object.
  • Panel Cut: Creates a 2D cut view from a panel.
  • Panel Sheet: Creates a 2D cut sheet including panel cuts or other 2D objects.
  • Nest: Allows to nest several flat objects inside a container shape.
  • Equipment: Creates an equipment or furniture object.
  • Frame: Creates a frame object from a selected layout.
  • Fence: Creates a fence object from a selected post and path.
  • Truss: Creates a truss from a selected line or from scratch.
  • Profile: Creates a parametric 2D profile.
  • Material: Creates a material and attributes it to selected objects, if any.
  • Multi-Material: Creates a multi-material and attributes it to selected objects, if any.
  • Schedule: Creates different types of schedules.
  • Pipe: Creates a pipe.
  • Connector: Creates a corner or T-connection between 2 or 3 selected pipes.

Modification tools

These are tools for modifying architectural objects.

  • Survey: Enters or leaves surveying mode.

Utilities

These are additional tools to help you in specific tasks.

  • Component: Creates a non-parametric Arch component.
  • Split Mesh: Splits a selected mesh into separate components.
  • Mesh to Shape: Converts a mesh into a shape, unifying coplanar faces.
  • Close holes: Closes holes in a selected shape-based object.
  • Check: Check if the selected objects are solids and don't contain defects.

Obsolete tools

  • Cut with line: Cuts an object according to a line. Not available in version 1.0 and above.

Preferences

  • Preferences: preferences for the default appearance of walls, structures, rebars, windows, stairs, panels, pipes, grids and axes.

File formats

  • IFC: industry foundation classes
  • DAE: Collada mesh format
  • OBJ: OBJ mesh format (export only)
  • JSON: JavaScript Object Notation format (export only)
  • 3DS: 3DS format (import only)
  • SHP: GIS Shapefiles (import only)

API

The Arch module can be used in Python scripts and macros using the Arch Python API functions.

Tutorials