Release notes 0.19: Difference between revisions

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{{VeryImportantMessage|This page tracks new features as they are added to the development version of FreeCAD, which is currently 0.19. When the 0.19 feature freeze happens, delete these messages, and don't add more features to this page. FreeCAD 0.19 is expected to be released in 2021.}}

<div style="text-align:center; background:#e0e0ee; margin:1em 7em; padding:0.5em 2em; border:2px solid #bb7736;">
Are features missing? Mention them in the [ Release notes for v0.19] forum thread.

See [[Help FreeCAD]] for ways to contribute to FreeCAD.</div>
'''FreeCAD 0.19''' was released on '''DD Month 2021''', get it from the [[Download|Download]] page. This is a summary of the most interesting changes. The complete list of changes can be found in the [ MantisBT bugtracker FC 0.19 changelog].
'''FreeCAD 0.19''' was released on '''March 20th, 2021''', get it from the [[Download|Download]] page. This is a summary of the most interesting changes. The complete list of changes can be found in the [ MantisBT bugtracker FC 0.19 changelog].


Revision as of 16:05, 20 March 2021

FreeCAD 0.19 was released on March 20th, 2021, get it from the Download page. This is a summary of the most interesting changes. The complete list of changes can be found in the MantisBT bugtracker FC 0.19 changelog.

Older FreeCAD release notes can be found in Feature list.

Simpson and Shipton short stroke steam engine circa 1845, using horizontal rotating piston, by "un1corn", Users Showcase.


Horizontal 4 cylinder rotary valve steam engine, by "un1corn", Users Showcase.

Preliminary design of MAORY, an adaptive optics (AO) module for the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT); here it is mounted on the E-ELT Nasmyth platform.

This assembly was made by "Zolko", author of the new Assembly4 Workbench, which uses the new powerful App Link object to import thousands of different parts and subassemblies, arranging them in specified positions by means of mathematical expressions. See Users Showcase.

For this model, the parts were not designed in FreeCAD, they were just imported in STEP format, and subsequently arranged with Assembly4.

Constant velocity joint M. GECIK, by user "ppemawm", see Users Showcase. The model is reversed engineered from the individual STL files from Thingiverse by the original author, NOP21. Please notice the license of the original files.

The STL files were downloaded, saved, and imported into FreeCAD, and they were manually assembled using the Std Transform tool; this mesh assembly was used as reference to create solid bodies with PartDesign and subsequently assemble them using the new Assembly4 Workbench.

The model was started with Assembly4, and each part was created in-context referencing the STL model for sketch dimensions; sketches were created 1:1 scale with the STL model in the background.

The TechDraw Workbench, which replaced the Drawing Workbench in v0.17, has been upgraded in an important way. It has many new features with respect to v0.18, which make it much more useful to produce technical illustrations of 3D solids.

Among many small improvments, new features include: dimensions are now compliant with one of ISO 129-1 or ASME Y14.5M standards; new balloon annotations to include text inside a circle or polygon shape; new rich text annotations to include big paragraphs formatted as bold or italic; cosmetic vertices and cosmetic edges that are not part of the original model but which can be used to create custom dimensions; basic support for welding symbols; new active view mode to take a "snapshot" of the 3D view; new basic templates for ISO sizes (A0 to A4), as well as Russian and Chinese language templates; new horizontal and vertical dimensions that measure the full extent of the projections; SVG face hatches are now available when the page is exported to SVG; the new App Link object is now also supported as a source for creating views, which is useful when working with assemblies.


With more than 8128 commits in the master branch since the 0.18 release, this is one of the most extensive releases ever, with several new components like the new "App::Link" object, as well as many new tools in the TechDraw Workbench that make FreeCAD even more powerful for 3D solid modelling and assembly. Beside that, the FreeCAD ecosystem has continued to grow with more specialized external workbenches.

Python 3 and Qt5

The effort to migrate from Python 2 and Qt4 to Python 3 and Qt5 is essentially complete and most developers have moved to the Python3/Qt5 toolchains.

Undoubtedly there are unforeseen bugs; these will be addressed as they are reported. Any existing dependence on Python 2 or Qt4 will not be supported beyond 1st January 2020 when Python 2 officially became unsupported by the Python Foundation. Please note that certain addons have not been ported yet to Python3/Qt5. This may be due to several reasons including lack of time by their developers, or broken dependencies that may not be easily fixed, or simply because the addon is considered obsolete. Individuals interested in the migration of a particular workbench or tool are encouraged to participate in the FreeCAD forum; see also, Python3 and Qt5 Compatible Addon Workbenches (in preparation for 0.18).

Some issues

Fixed issue with Std Part containers visibility when the viewport is displayed in full screen in Qt5:


To compile FreeCAD under Windows, there are different Libpacks (prepackaged libraries) available:

Other development news:

  • There is a new Docker container to build FreeCAD, see Compile on Docker; forum discussion.
  • The infrastructure of the bug tracker as well as wiki was moved to a dedicated server, so that it is easier to manage by the project administrators; forum discussion.


  • The Compile on Linux page was reviewed to better explain the requisites to compile on different Linux distributions. As many developers use Debian based systems, this section received the most attention. Users of other Linux distributions are encouraged to maintain the documentation for their particular distribution.
  • Compile on Windows was also rewritten to explain how to use the "LibPack" for compilation.
  • Compile on Docker was created to describe the compilation in this system.
  • The Source documentation page also received a clean-up to better explain how to produce the programming (API) documentation from C++ and Python sources.
  • The Doxygen page was reviewed and extended to give more details about the syntax that is used in C++ files to produce the programming documentation.
  • The Source code management page was also reworked with better descriptions and examples of using git to manage branches and contribute code.
  • The External workbenches page was re-organized, so that all feature-rich, publicly available workbenches are listed. If you'd like to add a workbench to this page, showcase it in the forum, and provide supporting information like user manual, wiki pages, and a link to its repository. Then push for it to be included in the Addon Manager.
  • There have been improvements to the Tutorials and Video tutorials pages. In particular, it has been stressed to readers that they should consider only video tutorials that are made with versions 0.17 and above.

Known Limitations

  • Black screen due to video card drivers, while running FreeCAD inside a virtual machine; issue #3939.
  • Logitech Wingman USB joystick can cause erratic behavior when spinning and zooming in the view; forum discussion.
  • Gesture navigation is fully supported for Windows but yet to be maintained in Linux and MacOS. Problem: the developer, DeepSOIC, doesn't have a MacOS machine with its special trackpad, and hasn't tested it on Linux either; forum discussion.

User interface

The navigation cube got a few retouches; now it uses transparency to be easier on the eyes, and the arrows are bigger to improve clicking on them.

Forum discussion, pull request.

The navigation cube can be augmented by the CubeMenu addon, which allows configuring the menu that pops up, as well as the size of the cube itself. This is helpful particularly for very high resolution screens, in which the default size is too small. This is an external tool that can be installed from the Addon Manager.

Forum discussion; CubeMenu repository (LGPL 2.1).

There is a new preferences option to display selection checkboxes in front of every document tree item. This is for example useful to select several items via a touchscreen.

Forum discussion; pull request.

New COIL icon theme developed by user 1D_Inc. This is a minimalistic icon set inspired on Blender's 2.8 outline-style icons (a coil of threads or strands alludes to the appearance of the icons). The intention is to have professional-looking icons that can be used with different color themes, including light, dark, and monochrome.

Forum discussion 1 (old thread), discussion 2 (main thread), 1D_SVG_Tools repository.

New icon theme management developed by user triplus.

Forum discussion.

New dark stylesheet developed by user userzmp2000.

Forum discussion, BlenderLike-dark.qss.

Dark themes by user pablogil. Blue, green, and orange variations, which are darker than previous templates.

Forum discussion, pull request #2433, #2920, #2933.

The Std ViewScreenShot tool now supports transparency. Options are available by clicking the Extended button and changing the Image Properties section.

Wiki, forum discussion, commit 8e5151002.

App::Link and assembly

The "App::Link" object allows lightweight linking of objects in a document and from external documents.

After 2.5 years in development, the "Link" object, or more formally App Link (App::Link class), was introduced in FreeCAD. This is a special type of App DocumentObject with certain properties that will hopefully allow for doing assemblies easier.

An "App Link" allows objects to use another object's data, such as geometry or even their 3D visual representation, in the same or different files. It can be thought of as a thin, absolute clone, or as the same object living into two different "instances". Some functionality offered by an "App Link" is already present in some workbenches like Arch and BIM (clones, external references), but the "App Link" implementation is at the core level, and thus can be used by all workbenches in different ways.

The "App Link" component was thought and developed almost single-handedly by user realthunder. The motivations and design implementations behind this project are described in his GitHub page, Link. In order to accomplish this feature, several core changes to FreeCAD were made; these are also extensively documented in Core-Changes.

The history of "App Link" can be traced to some essential forum threads:

Finally, the pull request and merge happened:

The "App Link" object prepares FreeCAD for the phase that was scheduled to happen after the redesign of PartDesign in FreeCAD 0.17, which is working with assemblies.

Assembly3 is an assembly workbench written in Python by realthunder, that makes use of the "App Link" functionality. The workbench served as a testbed for this component during its development. While Assembly3 is still not officially part of FreeCAD, with the inclusion of "App Link" in the master branch, it is a matter of time for Assembly3 to be provided as an installable add-on, just like A2plus and Assembly4 are provided currently.

Core system, App, Base, and Gui namespaces

Beside the introduction of App Link, the "LinkMerge" branch also introduced some changes visible to the user with regards to object properties, expressions, visual selection, and the tree view. These are described in the Core-Changes page.

Dynamic properties can be added to any C++ or Python object. This can make macros such as Macro PropertyMemo obsolete.

Forum discussion, animated GIF example.

These dynamic properties were added in the App Link merge; pull request #2350.
Selected elements hidden by other elements are highlighted to indicate their position within the model.

These selection enhancement were also introduced in the App Link merge; pull request #2350.

After two years being stalled, there have been improvements in the way the program handles backup files. Now they can include a timestamp in the format %Y%m%d-%H%M%S, instead of a simple number. This can be set in the preferences editor.

Forum discussion, pull request #1148.

New input field to quickly search for parameters in the parameter editor.

Forum discussion, pull request #3173.

The Macro menu now shows a shortcut to recently used macros, which can be called with a key combination, for example, Ctrl+Shift+1. This can be configured in the Macro preferences.

Forum discussion, pull request #3616.

Addon Manager

The Addon Manager was upgraded; it is now able to display more complete information on all external workbenches and macros, and show an icon for each of them. It also allows checking for updates on start, and using custom repositories.

Forum discussion.

It will also show information on whether the addon is obsolete, already installed, or available for update.

Forum discussion, pull request #2605.

Arch Workbench

Keep with the latest developments to the Arch Workbench, and the BIM Workbench that depends on it, by following the main author of this workbench, at Uncreated. The updates are also posted to the forum, BIM/Arch development news articles from Yorik's blog.

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

The Arch Site tool once more is able to produce sun path diagrams if the given latitude, longitude, and declination are provided. This requires Pysolar 0.7 or above, and only works with Python 3.

Forum discussion, commit 2177f4437, commit c05bc0990.

The Arch Site tool now can display a compass to show the direction of the "true North" (declination) in the model. By the default, North is aligned to the Y axis. This is useful when working in real world coordinates.

Forum discussion, pull request #2111, commit ff1fb11af, pull request #2360.

The Arch SectionPlane tool now has the ability of clipping the view, to act as a camera.

Forum discussion, commit 9a64f3fad9.

The Arch Fence tool was added to produce fence objects starting from a post and a path.

Forum discussion, pull request #2151, pull request #2173, pull request #2263, pull request #2270.

Arch Fence in action.

Improvements in the Reinforcement Addon, which extends the Arch Rebar tool.

Automated reinforcement graphical user interface: the intention is to facilitate the automatic creation of simple and complex rebars. This development was carried out as a Google Summer of Code 2019 project: Suraj_Dadral/gsoc_proposal.

Forum discussion, FreeCAD-Reinforcement (master code), SurajDadral/FreeCAD-Reinforcement (development fork).

New rendering modes for Arch SectionPlane that can be selected when using TechDraw ArchView, DataRender Mode, Coin and Coin mono. The section plane generates an SVG that is simply displayed in a TechDraw page; with these new modes, the SVG generation is performed by Coin, so it is faster than using Wireframe and Solid, which use the internal OCCT kernel to calculate the SVG projection. The tradeoff is between speed and precision; the Coin modes are faster but less precise, while the original modes are more precise but relatively slow.

Forum discussion, commits f93a986b5a, ed0eff0248.

New Arch CutLine tool to cut solid objects, like Arch Walls and Arch Structure, using an edge, like a Draft Line. This works similar to the existing Arch CutPlane.

Forum discussion, pull request #2701, #2870.

Arch now includes a Shapefile importer, which is commonly used in GIS applications. The importer uses the library from the pyshp project; this library should be downloaded on first run.

Forum thread, commit 916a42397c. Image of a site shared by @HnsaCAD for @gemeentearnhem.

New Arch Truss tool to create a variety of trusses. Like Arch Walls they are constructed from a baseline, and different properties define the shape of the truss, its height, and the intermediate elements.

It also supports Arch MultiMaterial to assign different materials to the bottom, top, and intermediate elements.

Commit 0c96f77184.

New Arch CurtainWall tool to create various types of walls. This tool needs a base surface to work on. If none is selected, you can simply draw a line between two points, like the standard Arch Wall. The surface is then subdivided into rows and columns, and four points extracted from the surface subdivisions, forming quadrangular facets.

Commit e42a26fba1, commit 7c12c8688c.

Draft Workbench

The Draft Edit tool was upgraded to allow editing many Draft objects at the same time, and also display better trackers.

Forum discussion, pull request #1968, commit 272a8dfcc9, commit 7de2248bb, pull request #2108, pull request #2430; animated GIF example.

The tool was also moved into its own module: commit a4e2df115d, commit c351b9094.

New Draft SubelementHighlight tool to highlight the nodes and edges of certain objects, like Draft Wires, in order to edit them using modifiers like Draft Move, Draft Rotate, and Draft Scale. It allows you to select multiple objects to edit instead of just one. Once the objects are highlighted, you can select specific sub-elements, vertices and edges, and transform (move, rotate, scale) only these.

This tool was particularly developed to help edit the shape of Arch Walls that are based on Draft Wires. When various walls are selected, and the tool is used, the base wires automatically become visible, and display their nodes prominently.

Forum discussion, pull request #1975; video demonstration 1, 2.

New Draft CubicBezCurve tool, to create 3rd degree Bezier curves in a way similar to Inkscape.

Forum discussion, pull request #2072; animated GIF example.

New Draft Arc 3Points tool, to create circular arcs by specifying three points through which the arc passes. Originally developed in the BIM Workbench and then migrated to Draft.

Forum discussion, commit 4f19a65559, commit 0b905fade0, pull request #2286.

A proper command line interface as well as unit test are also provided.

Pull request #3004, #3005.

New Draft Layer tool that replaces the seldom used Draft VisGroup, providing a true layer system as it exists in other CAD systems. Draft Layer supports adding objects by drag-and-drop, controls object visibility and, optionally, object color.

Forum discussion (development), forum discussion (announcement), commit 5ee99ca4ee, commit 36bc48c9bf.

Improvements in the Draft SVG routines to improve inclusion of 2D projections in TechDraw pages. This benefits tools like Draft Shape2DView and Arch SectionPlane, when used with TechDraw DraftView and TechDraw ArchView.

A new DataOverride Style property is added to TechDraw DraftView, in order to choose whether the appearance of Draft objects is kept (new) or is overridden by the TechDraw page (old behavior).

Forum discussion, commit 3e323fee14.

New Draft Fillet tool that creates a fillet (rounded corner) or a chamfer (straight line) between two simple Draft Lines.

Forum discussion, pull request #2441, #2492.

The introduction of the App Link object made it possible to create arrays which have many exact references to an existing object instead of shape duplicates (simple copies). This results in more memory efficient arrays. This is possible with the new Draft LinkArray and Draft PathLinkArray tools. Draft LinkArray works in three modes, "ortho", "polar", and the new "circular" mode, which was introduced in a separate commit.

Pull request #2350.

After the creation of the Link arrays, a new command called Draft OrthoArray now replaces both Draft Array and Draft LinkArray. This Draft OrthoArray is used to create exclusively orthogonal arrays. It shows a task panel similar to Draft PolarArray and Draft CircularArray. Therefore, from the toolbar it is now possible to create "orthogonal", "polar" and "circular" arrays from separate buttons. Moreover, the array buttons are collected in a group so that they are organized.

Forum discussion, pull request #2988, #2972.

New Draft PolarArray tool to create polar arrays directly. Previously, the same could be done by using the old Draft Array command, and then modifying the properties of the created object.

This Draft PolarArray tool can create the new App Link objects or the traditional copies.

Forum discussion, pull request #2824.

The Array object has a new "circular" mode. This is controlled by new properties: DataRadialDistance, DataTangentialDistance, DataNumberCircles, and DataSymmetry.

Forum discussion, pull request #2585.

Moreover, a new Draft CircularArray tool was developed to create these circular arrays directly. This tool can create the new App Link objects or the traditional copies.

Forum discussion, pull request #2824.

The unit tests of the workbench were rewritten and expanded, so that now it is easier to test for errors and regressions when new code is merged.

Forum discussion, pull request #2668, #2727, #2881, #3005.

Also, a script is provided in Mod/Draft/drafttests/, that produces a test file with most objects of the workbench. This file is useful to learn scripting in Draft, and can also be used to test regressions in the underlying code of the objects.

Forum discussion, pull request #3012.

New icons were provided for the Draft objects in the tree view. The objective is to more quickly distinguish the objects at a glance, particularly if the default label is changed. This makes it easier to recognize objects which are lines, curves, geometrical elements, linear, radial, or angular dimensions, or other objects.

In addition, all icons were converted to the new standard pixel resolution of 96 dpi, and were saved as Plain SVG, so that we don't introduce non-standard SVG tags.

Forum discussion, pull request #3051, #3058, #3060, #3070, #3170, #3402.

Undergoing efforts to split tools into their own module files to ease maintenance of the codebase for the future, and facilitate the addition of new tools.

Forum discussion, overall structure.

Some of the functions and classes that have already been moved: commit 5ee99ca4ee (Draft Layer), commit 16c26cb3b1 (Draft Edit), commit 9fb6aec313 (Draft SelectPlane), pull requests #2823 (GuiCommandBase), #2829 (utilities), #2830 (GUI utilities), #2831 (ToDo class), #2832 (translate function), #3091 (Draft Snap), #3092 (Draft Trackers), #3094 (Draft SelectPlane), #3095 (Draft ShapeString task panel), #3096 (Draft Scale task panel), #3097 (Draft Edit), #3157 (Draft WorkingPlaneProxy), #3182 (various Gui Commands), #3291 (base classes DraftTool, Creator, Modifier), #3299, (Creator tools), #3308 (Modifier tools).

For an overall view of the pull requests, see #2429.

This is a work in progress that requires advancing carefully as we aim to maintain compatibility with previous versions of Draft. Most refactoring is complete, but there is still room for improving many aspects of the workbench. We invite enthusiastic developers to join the effort.

File:Draft AnnotationStyleEditor example.png New Annotation style editor tool to create styles for annotations. These styles can define things like text font, size, color, and arrows, which can be applied to any of your texts, dimensions or labels. We started by implementing an editor and a system to store the styles in the document. Next steps will be adapting the different annotation objects to support the styles.

Forum discussion, commit 1b887fa0f5, commit 4555a77663, commit 5b3fea59e0.

Further Draft Improvements

  • The Draft Wire tool now is called "Polyline" in the menu, instead of "DWire"; all options and functionality remain the same, so this doesn't break compatibility; commit 39e748229e.
  • A "DraftEditPickRadius" preference was added to control the area of influence of the pointer when picking vertices in edit mode Draft Edit; forum discussion, pull request #2642, issue #4162.
  • Undergoing efforts to document the Python source code (adding complete docstrings), in order to produce better programming documentation that can be used by both users and developers. See Source documentation for instructions on generating the documentation with Doxygen.
  • The "Toolbar mode" when launching the Draft tools has been removed. This was an interface that was used in the past but became obsolete as the task panel became the predominant interface; forum discussion, pull request #2973.
  • Draft.copy now works with any document object, thanks to the new Document.copyObject() method introduced with the LinkMerge; pull request #3658.

FEM Workbench

After half a year in development and testing the "femconcrete" branch was added to the FEM Workbench. This provides tools to estimate the level of reinforcement required in a concrete structure to prevent brittle failure under tension or shear. In essence, it is a post processing routine for the CalculiX solver, which calculates the principal tensile stresses in the concrete from an elastic analysis and uses those to determine the minimum reinforcement in the three coordinate directions required to prevent failure.

Forum discussion, pull request #2267; Analysis of reinforced concrete with FEM (tutorial).

After a few months in development the "fcFEM" macro was published. It implements a finite element solver entirely in Python. Its author designed it to overcome the limitations of other external solvers, like CalculiX and z88. Some of the intended improvements include creating mixed mesh analyses, improved beam and shell elements, arc-length control for overcoming limit points in elastic-plastic analyses, implementation of zero-thickness interface elements for different applications, and others.

In due time this solver could be distributed together with the FEM Workbench, meaning that the FreeCAD project would have its own finite element solver for doing mechanical and structural analyses.

Forum discussion; fcFEM repository (LGPL 2).

Topology optimization has long been a feature desired for those working with FEM. In 2016 the BESO (Bi-directional Evolutionary Structural Optimization) project was started, implementing an iterative method with the CalculiX solver that removes ineffective elements from a mesh in order to optimize the mass of the design. In the 0.19 development cycle, a simple graphical interface has been developed to facilitate generating the beso configuration files.

Forum discussion; beso repository (LGPL 3).

Similar to beso, the ToOptix project also provides a macro to perform topology optimization; it currently only works in structural and heat transfer studies.

Forum discussion (just a mention); ToOptixFreeCADAddon repository (GPL 2).

The FEM workbench has now a browsable set of example simulations: They are available via the menu Utilities → Open FEM examples.

commit ff3ce49139

There are two new constraints available:
menu Model → Geometrical Constraints → Constraint Section Print
menu Model → Mechanical Constraints → Constraint Tie,
one new solver:
menu Solve → Electricforce equation
and a possibility to overwrite a constant:
menu Model → Overwrite Constraints → Constant vacuum permittivity.

Further FEM Improvements

  • The Elmer project has developed a library for handling batch type pre-processing for the ElmerSolver, using the FEM Workbench. This includes creating mesh objects for FreeCAD, manipulating the mesh sizes of solids, creating finite element meshes using Gmsh, running ElmerGrid and exporting the mesh for ElmerSolver, and selecting and naming bodies and boundaries for ElmerSolver; forum discussion, elmerfem repository (Elmer main repository), FreeCADBatchFEMTools repository (library to interact with FEM Workbench, LGPL 2.1).
  • The integration of the OOFem solver, which started in 2018, is progressing, so it is now another option that can be used for structural analysis in FreeCAD. This solver is interesting in that it has interface elements, as well as arc-length control, in addition to many non-linear material models. The integration of OOFEM into FEM has been carried in various commits that together serve as documentation on how to integrate similar solvers; forum discussion, femoofem branch, OOFEM main website, oofem repository (LGPL 2.1).
  • Updated coding standards that strive for PEP8 compliance with Python; forum discussion, commit ad03ee9bdf, commit 27cb54009b.


Material handling



Mesh FromPartShape is now able to create meshes using Gmsh. This mesher is an external program that must be installed in the system before it can be used. Gmsh was already one of the options to create finite element meshes with the FEM Workbench.

Moreover, now the Mesh FromPartShape dialog will remember the settings that you used the last time.

Commit 1cb4625bf.

The mesh workbench has now several toolbars to quickly access the different features.

Forum thread, Pull request #4462

Further improvements

Part Workbench

New command Part PointsFromMesh to create an object made of points from an imported mesh. Then the points can be used as reference objects to do further operations, such as define a plane, and draw a sketch. This can be used to reverse engineer or remodel meshes by creating solid objects.

Forum discussion (and video), pull request #2450.

Existing primitives can now be edited in a dialog that also shows the changes as life preview. To do this, click on the primitive in the model tree and the dialog opens.

commit 6d831627, commit f23187cd, commit dabf65cc and commit 7251a90f

When inserting primitives the location can be set using translation and rotation.
The Part CheckGeometry tool has been expanded to include more information about the Part TopoShape that is contained in all solid objects of the program, not including Mesh-type objects.

Forum discusion, 2, announcement; pull request #3747.

A script is provided in Mod/Part/parttests/, that produces a test file with the Part Primitives. This file is useful to learn scripting in Part, and can also be used to test regressions in the underlying code of the objects.

Pull request #3078.

Further improvements

PartDesign Workbench

Features that have an "Attachment" property now show when the attachment mode is "deactivated" by displaying a small overlay to the left of the icon in the tree view. Features that are attached to a plane or other reference don't display this overlay.

Forum discussion, pull request #2272.

The dialog to edit chamfers allows now to define chamfers also either
  • using 2 values
  • a value and an angle

These 2 parameters can also be flipped using the dialog. Forum discussion, pull request #3456

The dialog to edit pads allows now to specify a direction in which the sketch is padded.

Forum discussion, pull request #3794

PartDesign LinearPattern and PolarPattern now can be used with dress-up features (fillets, chamfers, thickness and draft) and with primitives (Additives and Subtractives). A new property DataSupport Transform in these features, controls whether the feature supports the pattern or not.

Forum discussion, pull request #3045, #3155, #3226.

The dialog to edit Prisms (additive and subtractive) allows now to specify an angle in respect to the normal of the chosen attachment plane. This way one can create skew prisms.

Forum discussion, pull request #3793

It is now possible to create additive and subtractive helices.

Forum discussion, pull request #4209

It is now possible to select several features in the document tree before executing a transformation. This way several features can easily be transformed at once. The order of the features in the transformation dialog can be changed by dragging a feature to the desired position.

Forum discussion, pull request #3748, #3760.

The dialogs to edit fillets, chamfers, thickness, and draft features were improved to allow selecting several sub-elements (edges and faces) at once.

Forum discussion, pull request #3050, animated GIF example.

The hole dialog offers now to select a norm to create cuts for counterbores and countersinks

Forum discussion, pull request #3999.

Further improvements

Path Workbench

Added coolant modes for coolant management.

Forum discussion, pull request #2463.

  • PathPocket: Extensions (For milling open pockets).
  • New unified Profile operation: The pre-existing Contour, Profile Faces, and Profile Edges of version 0.18.x are now combined into a single Profile operation. The new Profile operation maintains features and capabilities of the three individual source operations. forum discussion, pull request #3443.
  • Profile Edges: Open Edges support added. Note: The Profile Edges operation is now merged into the Profile operation. forum discussion, pull request #3068.
  • First attempt of 4th-axis support: Profile (limited to full contour and profiling of faces), PathPocket, and Drilling
  • Fixed issue #3993, Python 3 memory leak; forum discussion, commit 3c205946e.
  • Ability to use an arbitrary number of an object as the base model for a Path.Job, each one being positionable individually; pull request #2056.
  • PathDeburr: Added direction selection. Fixed DressupLeadInOut problem.
  • MillFace
  • Adaptive Clearing improvements.
    • Adaptive can now use feature outline
  • 3D Pocket: Reduction of air-milling above inclined pockets; forum discussion, pull request #2366.
  • 3D Surface
  • New operation: Waterline.
    • The independent operation was split from 3D Surface; forum discussion, pull request #3268.
    • Experimental algorithm added using a combination of Path.Area() offsets of model cross-sections.
  • Post Processing
    • Update of Post Processors (GRBL, LinuxCNC, Centroid).
    • Mach3/Mach4 Post Processor; pull request #3195.
    • Support tool height offset in the LinuxCNC Post Processor; pull request #2479.
    • Task Panel for LeadInOut Dressup
  • New operation: Slot. Allows for creation of a horizontal slotting operation based on two custom points; the selection of one or more faces or edges; or the selection of two vertices. forum discussion, initial pull request #3624.
V-Carve example
New operation: V-Carve Allows for center-line engraving with V-bit. forum discussion, initial pull request #3879.
  • General:
    • Added cycle time calculations to operations and total cycle time to the job; forum discussion, pull request #3378.
    • Added ability to import Base Geometry from existing operations within the same Job; forum discussion, pull request #3537.
    • Added icons to section headings in the Tasks Editor window for Base Geometry, Depths, Heights, and Operation; pull request #3631.
    • Added support for conical entry helix in Adaptive Operation.
    • Prefernces to enable features which depend on openCAMLib
    • Prefernces to suppress common warnings
  • Job:
    • Added new group in Job to collect all ToolControllers
    • Support for gcode WCS (work coordinate system) offsets aka 'fixtures'
      • Gcode can be generated for any or multiple offsets
      • Output can be ordered by tool, operation, or fixture to minimize toolchanges or transit time.
      • Gcode can be split into multiple output files

Render Workbench

Added support for Blender's standalone "Cycles" renderer; commit 759067912f; FreeCAD-render repository. The Cycles standalone renderer usually needs to be compiled from source, as the binary is normally not provided by itself in a complete Blender distribution.

Besides this, the Render Workbench already has support for Pov-Ray, Luxrender and Appleseed.

Sketcher Workbench

In the Sketcher's task panel, in the "Elements" section there is now a "Mode" filter to select "normal", "construction", "external", or "all" geometry. This is useful to perform an action with only one type of geometry. For example, one use case is selecting only the "construction" edges, and deleting them after being used.
New Sketcher ToggleActiveConstraint tool to temporarily deactivate a constraint without removing it entirely. This is helpful to test the movement of the sketch before fully constraining it.

Pull request #2283, commit 159b8e7bdf.

It is now possible to make a dimension constraint a reference constraint directly in the dialog.

Forum discussion, 2; pull request #3201, commit 06f479622c.

It is now possible to display the weight of B-spline control points.

commit 65c96a3b.

Sketches have a new color scheme to indicate parts of the sketch that are already fully constrained. In the image at the left you can see that the triangle and the arc are fully constrained and thus displayed by default in light green. The fully constrained construction circle around the triangle appears by default in light blue.

The colors can be changed in the Sketcher Preferences.

forum thread.

Spreadsheet Workbench

The introduction of App Link also brought some improvements to the expressions capabilities of FreeCAD, which are visible in the property editor, and the Spreadsheet Workbench. These are described in Core-Changes and this forum thread.

  • A new expression syntax is introduced to unambiguously reference a property of the owner object, by omitting the object reference and starting with a leading dot (.), similar to Python relative import syntax. So instead of Cylinder.Height, now you can use .Height.
  • You can refer to an object by its Name or by its Label. In the case of a Label, it must be enclosed in << and >> symbols, such as <<Label>>. For example, <<Metal_cylinder>>.Height.
  • Improved spreadsheet recomputation logic, and cell copy and paste functions. Pull request #2350, #2475.

The previous commits changed the way the autocompletion works with expressions, particularly when used with Sketcher constraints, which was seen as a regression for many use cases. A new set of commits were proposed to restore this functionality; forum discussion, pull request #3062.

Aliases for table cells can now be set easier with a new input field at the upper right of the spreadsheet.

Forum discussion, pull request #3154, #3162, #3233.

The alias stability has also been improved: Pull request #4232, Pull request #4305

Data entered into a cell is not tested anymore as an expression by default. Now an expression needs to start with an equal sign = instead. Forum discussion, pull request #4215.

Start Workbench

Re-added example files to the Start page with saved thumbnails in their icons.

Forum discussion, pull request #2316.

Surface Workbench

The Surface Sections object has been added to create surfaces from edges that represent transversal sections.

Forum discussion, commit 3a8a6aae1b.

The Surface Workbench documentation has been rewritten, and expanded with more images and scripting examples, in order to showcase better the tools of the workbench. All commands are now available from the toolbar: Surface Filling, Surface GeomFillSurface, Surface Sections, Surface ExtendFace, and Surface CurveOnMesh.

Likewise, the icons have been updated to be more visually attractive.

TechDraw Workbench

Improved placing and scaling of a 3D viewport screenshot in a TechDraw page.

Forum discussion.

New Balloon tool to add balloon decorators to create notes with numbers, letters, and text.

Forum discussion, pull request #2013.

New TechDraw LeaderLine and TechDraw RichTextAnnotation tools to create better annotations in the drawing page.

Forum discussion, commit 7f07195f93, commit 6c699887c0; testing and bug fixing commit ab986d9a00, commit 15f440525e, commit 8ef3f13fbb, commit bf38ae958f, commit 74737f71fd, commit be257182ba, commit de3715908e, commit 916fe7ced3.

New TechDraw CosmeticVertex, TechDraw Midpoints, and TechDraw Quadrant tools, which allow the user to place fake or "cosmetic" vertices that can be used to create dimensions. The midpoint and quadrant vertices can be used to add more points to straight and curved edges (circular arcs), respectively; the "CosmeticVertex" tool can add a point anywhere on the drawing view without requiring being based on existing geometry.

Forum discussion, commit 59e47de506, commit 94b167f3a2.

New TechDraw FaceCenterLine, TechDraw 2LineCenterLine, and TechDraw 2PointCenterLine tools, to add a line in the center of a face, or between two existing edges, or between two existing points, respectively.

Also, TechDraw DecorateLine to change the appearance of single edges, and TechDraw CosmeticEraser to remove any of the cosmetic features from the view.

Forum discussion (v1, alpha), forum discussion (v2), commit 656e1654ff, commit 93431edfba, commit f25826bba3, commit 11d8aaed61, commit 941968b37c.

New TechDraw WeldSymbol tool to provide welding symbols. One of the most requested features from the older Drawing Workbench is finally in TechDraw. Russian standard (GOST) symbols are also added.

Forum discussion (testing), forum discussion (main thread); pull request #2446, #3110.

Old welding symbols from Drawing Workbench.

New TechDraw ActiveView tool. It produces a static image from the active 3D view, and puts it in a new TechDraw view. The result is a snapshot that doesn't update with changes to the model, and which is very fast to produce because it doesn't perform hidden line removal calculations. It is intended for rapid visualization of models, or to display flat projections of models without needing to add dimensions, a workflow that may be interesting for architectural visualization. Together with Arch SectionPlane and TechDraw ArchView, TechDraw ActiveView hopes to improve the interaction between Arch and TechDraw to document building models.

Forum discussion, commit 13676bfe57.

New page templates for the architectural paper sizes Arch B, C, D, E. Also, the possibility to use arbitrary "Custom" paper sizes for TechDraw PDF export and printing is now available. The user still needs to create or download an SVG template matching the desired output paper size.

Forum discussion, pull request #4292.

New page templates, Russian State Standard of Technical Documentation (Unified system for design documentation), GOST 2.104-2006, GOST Р 21.1101-2013.

Forum discussion, pull request #2249.

New page templates, the People's Republic of China Templates A series; please use with font family "HYSWLongFangSong".

Forum discussion, 2, pull request #2322.

New page templates, A-size, Slovenian (GPL 2).

Forum discussion, FreeCADTemplates repository.

Only LGPL2 compatible code can be provided directly with TechDraw; code contributed under GPL2 or GPL3 needs to be stored in a separate repository.

The drawing of dimensions was completely rewritten. Now any drawn dimension is fully compliant with one of ISO 129-1 or ASME Y14.5M standards. There are four styles to choose from: ISO oriented (rotated value), ISO Referencing (horizontal value), ASME Inlined (horizontal value), ASME Referencing (value connected by a reference line).

Forum discussion, pull request #2552.

New TechDraw Dimension Horizontal Extent and TechDraw Dimension Vertical Extent, to obtain the maximum dimensions in a view.

Forum discussion, pull request 2680, commit a7d9661b1d.

Improved handling and display of tolerances in combination of a new task dialog to set up Dimensions.
With this and the new Balloon tool it is possible to use create 2D-Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing tags for drawings.
New task dialog to set up Detail Views.

Forum discussion.

New pyramid arrow style for dimensions and balloon annotations.

Forum discussion, pull request #2853.

SVG face hatches are now available when the page is exported to SVG. The SVG hatches are converted to bitmaps and clipped to fit the face before export. The example image shows the exported SVG page when it is opened in Inkscape.

Forum discussion, commit a9b718d1e0.

Further TechDraw Improvements


  • QtWebEngine support for Qt 5.7 and above, and fallback to QWebkit for Qt 5.6 and below; pull request #1937.


See Macros recipes for many more macros.

Automatic light-gauge steel frame creator and panelizer.

Forum discussion; FreeCAD-Steel_Frame repository (GPL 3), video example.

Additional modules

Note: these are the new workbenches created in this development cycle, or older workbenches that received updates. See external workbenches for more workbenches that can be installed, and which cover a wide variety of topics. If you want to see your workbench added, join the forum and present your code.

3D Printing Tools

Previously it was called "MeshTools". It has utilities for working with imported STL meshes which could be used for 3D printing, like scaling the mesh up and down, scale it to fit a 3D printer, make objects transparent, hide and show objects, change colors and line widths of groups of objects, and others.

Forum discussion; 3D Printing Tools repository (LGPL 2.1).


The successor to the Assembly2 workbench, A2plus is the most mature assembly workbench, and has received important updates in this development cycle, like an improved point on plane constraint, and point on line constraint, using the center of a sphere as the point; this improves the constraining of spheres.

Forum discussion; A2plus repository (LGPL 2.1).

Please note: A2plus is not compatible with Assembly2 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in A2plus.


Assembly3 is an assembly workbench created by developer realthunder, that is inspired by Assembly2, but is not compatible with it. Assembly3 makes use of realthunder's App Link object and various significant changes to the internal code of FreeCAD. Because of this reason, Assembly3 cannot be installed simply from the Addon Manager. Instead, realthunder provides a pre-compiled version of FreeCAD that includes Assembly3. This workbench serves as a testing environment for the App Link object, and other changes that realthunder plans to submit to the main FreeCAD source code.

The Assembly3 workbench can also be tested in the development AppImage.

Forum discussion (massive thread); FreeCAD_assembly3 repository (GPL 3).

Please note: Assembly3 is not compatible with Assembly2 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in Assembly3.


Assembly4 is an assembly workbench created by developer Zolko, that uses realthunder's App Link object and many other changes to the base FreeCAD system, particularly the new expression engine. Because of this, Assembly4 doesn't work with versions below 0.19. Assembly4 can be installed from the Addon Manager.

Unlike A2plus and Assembly3, Assembly4 tries to perform assembly without using a constraint solver, but rather with the concept of arranging local coordinate systems (LCS) and setting relationships through mathematical expressions.

Forum discussion (original idea), forum discussion (main thread); FreeCAD_Assembly4 repository (LGPL 2.1).

Please note: Assembly4 is not compatible with Assembly3 or other assembly workbenches. If you have previous assemblies, they will need to be re-created entirely in Assembly4.


The ArchTextures Workbench was developed to provide basic texture support to Arch Workbench elements like walls and roofs, in order to quickly visualize a building. It is not intended to produce photo-realistic renderings, just simple texturing of materials like wood, brick, and concrete. It also provides lights (directional, point, and spot), which makes it more feature complete to set up a scene.

Forum discussion (help requests), forum discussion (development), forum discussion (only announcements), forum discussion (announcement of lights); FreeCAD-ArchTextures repository (MIT).


BOLTS is an "open library of technical specifications"; it is meant to provide free, standardized parts defined parametrically that can be used in different CAD systems like OpenSCAD and FreeCAD. The BOLTS library was launched in 2013 but received little maintenance since 2016. Now, with a new maintainer and repository, the project has revived with the BOLTSFC workbench that provides an interface to insert the different parametric objects.

Forum discussion; Homepage, BOLTSFC repository, BOLTS main repository (GPL 3).

CurvedShapes Workbench

The CurvedShapes workbench has tools for designing 3D surfaces starting from a skeleton of multiple curves in the XY, XZ, or YZ planes. It was created particularly to simplify the modelling of the wings of aircrafts.

Forum discussion; CurvedShapesWorkbench repository (LGPL 3).

Dodo (formerly Flamingo)

Dodo is the successor to the Flamingo Workbench, a workbench specialized in creating piping and frames. While Flamingo was developed for Python 2 and Qt4, Dodo is meant to work with Python 3 and Qt5. It provides the same features as Flamingo, but has improved tools and interfaces.

Forum discussion (main thread), forum discussion (Dodo announcement), tutorial; dodo repository (LGPL 3), flamingo repository (LGPL 3).


The Fasteners Workbench to generate standard ISO screws, bolts, washers, and other fasteners, was updated to work with Python 3 and Qt5.

Forum discussion; FreeCAD_FasternersWB repository (GPL 2), additional details.

MeshRemodel Workbench

This workbench helps convert a mesh, for example, an imported STL file, into a native FreeCAD object. It will not do the conversion automatically, but it will help re-build, or re-model, the imported mesh. The general workflow is to select the mesh object, then create a "points" object from it; then these points can be used as references for creating FreeCAD objects such as lines, polygons, circles, arcs, and BSplines. These wires can then be turned into a Sketch object, which can be padded to create a 3D solid with the PartDesign Workbench.

Forum discussion (only announcement); MeshRemodel repository (LGPL 2.1).

MOOC Workbench

The MOOC workbench is an educational tool that offers interactive tutorials and exercise evaluations to learn to use FreeCAD. It was developed as part of a series of courses on Digital Manufacturing.

At this moment, the workbench is only offered in the French language.

Forum discussion; mooc-workbench repository (GPL 2).

NodeEditor (PyFlow)

The NodeEditor workbench implements a system of nodes that can be used to dynamically control the properties of objects, similar to Blender's node system to edit materials. The NodeEditor is based on a slightly modified version of the PyFlow framework, which is under active development.

A node editor has been a requested feature for a very long time, at least since 2014 (see this thread). A fully working node editor has the potential of simplifying the drawing of complex shapes using generative algorithms that produce a shape based on the values of its inputs. This could be used to create various types of meshes and surfaces with many applications in architecture and mechanical design.

Forum discussion; NodeEditor repository (MIT License), PyFlow customized fork (Apache 2.0 license), PyFlow original project (Apache 2.0 license).

Trails, PyTrails, Turns, pivy_trackers, and Geomatics

The Trails workbench was formerly known as the "Transportation Engineering" workbench. It consists of a toolset for developing highway and railway designs, including horizontal alignments, vertical profiles, and 3D models.

Forum discussion (original thread that started the project), forum discussion (main thread, very long); freecad.trails repository (LGPL 2.1), video example.

Most of the functions used in the Trails workbench have been placed in a new Python library called PyTrails. The expectation is that Trails serves as a FreeCAD based graphical interface for PyTrails, while PyTrails remains a general purpose library that can be used outside FreeCAD in other projects.

Forum discussion (PyTrails announcement); PyTrails repository (LGPL 2.1).

The Turns workbench is a small component that was created during development of the Trails workbench. It performs vehicle swept-path analysis (turning analysis) for highway intersections and other entrances.

Forum discussion (main thread); freecad.turns repository (LGPL 2.1), animated GIF example.

After working with Trails and Turns, the author decided to split the tracker code into a separate library called pivy_trackers. This is a general library that could be included in other workbenches to generate tracker objects and perform actions in the scene, like dragging lines, dragging points, and changing certain geometrical elements on the fly.

Forum discussion, (2, 3); pivy_trackers repository (LGPL 2.1), examples, animated GIF example.

The Geomatics workbench provides functionality specific to survey engineering, such as importing geodata information, and creating surfaces from clouds of points. There are some issues with rendering objects that use large coordinates (kilometers) and importing large DXF files. If you want to help solving these issues, please contact the developers.

This workbench started as a fork of the older Geodata workbench by microelly2. Eventually it became a separate project by HakanSeven12. Now its code has been merged into the Trails workbench as it provides complementary functions to it. Therefore, in the future, please use Trails instead of the older Geomatics repository.

Forum discussion; FreeCAD-Geomatics-Workbench repository (LGPL 2.1).