• Your Article Here

    In a new ini­tia­tive aimed at improv­ing the quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty of online writ­ing about FreeCAD, the FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion is hap­py to announce that hon­o­raria are now avail­able for arti­cle writ­ers here on FreeCAD News.

    • The FPA will allo­cate $5000/yr to pay for orig­i­nal blog content.
    • Con­tent will be select­ed by the blog editor.
    • Author will work with edi­tor to final­ize the arti­cle for publication.
    • Author of select­ed con­tent will be paid $100 per post.
    • The FPA gets a non-exclu­­sive right to pub­lish the con­tent in perpetuity.
    • Con­tent author retains copy­right and may re-use the arti­cle on a per­son­al blog, mag­a­zine, etc.
    • Sub­mit­ted posts must be at least 2000 words in length.
    • Pub­lished posts will have a byline iden­ti­fy­ing the author (may use forum han­dle or anoth­er alias)

    If you are inter­est­ed in pub­lish­ing an arti­cle here, please con­tact me at chennes@freecad.org to dis­cuss your idea.

  • FPA Website and Handbook

    The FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion (FPA) was found­ed on the ideals of trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty: to that end, we’ve been work­ing hard on mak­ing our web­site a use­ful source of infor­ma­tion about the orga­ni­za­tion, its goals, and its initiatives.

    This past week we launched a revamped ver­sion of our web­site that includes the orga­ni­za­tion’s char­ter, bud­get, and our new Hand­book. The Hand­book is based on the ideas from Git­Lab’s “Hand­book First” scheme, in which any­time some­one has a ques­tion about the orga­ni­za­tion it should be answer­able by a ref­er­ence to a spe­cif­ic part of the hand­book. When we encounter ques­tions that aren’t answered by the hand­book, a new entry is added to it with the answer, so it always pro­vides the most author­i­ta­tive, up-to-date infor­ma­tion about our activities.

    You’ll also find a list of FPA ini­tia­tives (right now, the Devel­op­ment Fund and the FOSDEM Trav­el Grants pro­gram), con­tact infor­ma­tion for the orga­ni­za­tion, infor­ma­tion on how to donate, and more. In fact, if you have a ques­tion about the Asso­ci­a­tion that is not answered by the hand­book, please con­tact us so we can add it.

  • FreeCAD Project Association Development Fund

    The FPA devel­op­ment fund won’t pay in a pile of coins. But you could always buy them your­self! (Image cour­tesy of Via­jeroEx­travi­a­do).

    The FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion is pleased to announce the cre­ation of the FPA Devel­op­ment Fund (FPADF). The FPADF offers grants to indi­vid­u­als for con­tri­bu­tions to FreeCAD. Grants are cur­rent­ly capped at US$1000 and will be award­ed only for work on the FreeCAD code base.

    Any con­trib­u­tor who wish­es to be con­sid­ered for a grant should sub­mit a pro­pos­al in writ­ing to the FPA. The pro­pos­al should state clear­ly how much mon­ey is request­ed and what the con­trib­u­tor intends to create/improve/fix. An esti­mat­ed time­line with major mile­stones should be includ­ed along with clear com­ple­tion criteria.

    Pro­pos­als will be con­sid­ered by the FPA gen­er­al body and approved by vote.

    The FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion would like to expand the num­ber and type of grants giv­en. Dona­tions made to the FPA and des­ig­nat­ed DEVELOPMENT FUND will be used for this purpose.

    If you would like to see more spon­sored devel­op­ment, please con­sid­er donat­ing to the FPA.

  • FOSDEM and FreeCAD meeting travel grants

    The FreeCAD project asso­ci­a­tion (FPA) is offer­ing trav­el grants to help FreeCAD devel­op­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers attend FOSDEM 2023 in Brus­sels, Bel­gium. In addi­tion to the offi­cial FOSDEM events on Feb­ru­ary 4th and 5th, we will be orga­niz­ing a ded­i­cat­ed FreeCAD meet­ing day on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 3rd. Grants are intend­ed to help cov­er trav­el expens­es and will be award­ed based on the fol­low­ing cri­te­ria:

    The Pro­gram

    • The FPA seeks to pro­vide finan­cial assis­tance to FreeCAD com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers trav­el­ing to FOSDEM.
    • The FPA will issue grants up to a max­i­mum of USD 500 per per­son and will spend a max­i­mum of USD 5000 in total.
    • The grant amount is USD 500 or the price of your trav­el, whichev­er is lower.

    Who is Eligible

    • Any per­son list­ed under “The team” on the FreeCAD forum is eli­gi­ble automatically.
    • Any per­son with an approved FreeCAD-relat­ed talk at FOSDEM is eli­gi­ble automatically.
    • Any oth­er FreeCAD com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber not fit­ting in the above cat­e­gories may apply for a grant, but only can­di­dates with sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to FreeCAD will be con­sid­ered by the FPA. FPA mem­bers will decide upon each case indi­vid­u­al­ly based on cri­te­ria includ­ing vol­ume of code con­tri­bu­tions as well as dura­tion and extent of com­mu­ni­ty participation.
    • Grants will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Any per­son inter­est­ed must request a grant: no grant will be award­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly. All requests will be con­sid­ered and must be approved by the FPA.
    • Requests must be sub­mit­ted by send­ing an email to the FPA at fpa@freecad.org no lat­er than Decem­ber 31st, 2022.

    How can the mon­ey be used?

    • The grant must be sole­ly used for trav­el to and from Brus­sels for FOSDEM.
    • Can­di­dates must sub­mit proof of trav­el expens­es to the FPA (e.g. a train or plane tick­et) in order to obtain a grant.
    • If trav­el by train is avail­able„ train should be used prefer­ably instead of plane. The FPA will delib­er­ate over cas­es that don’t fol­low this guideline.

    When do I get the mon­ey?
    It might take some time to process pay­ments. We will do our best to process pay­ments as quick­ly as pos­si­ble but grant recip­i­ents will pay for their tick­et upfront and receive reim­burse­ment.

    How to help
    Even if you can’t attend, you can help some­one else go. Any dona­tion to the FPA received up to Feb­ru­ary 3rd, 2023, and labeled or oth­er­wise com­mu­ni­cat­ed to the FPA as “FOSDEM trav­el” will increase the total max­i­mum amount to be spent com­men­su­rate­ly.

    Final­ly, as mon­ey is lim­it­ed and this is the first time such action is orga­nized, we ask poten­tial appli­cants to be con­scious of oth­ers’ finan­cial need, and leave as much as pos­si­ble the mon­ey for those who most need it.

    We look for­ward to meet­ing you in Brussels!

  • Coming Soon: TechDraw ComplexSection

    An aligned sec­tion view cre­at­ed with the Com­plex Sec­tion tool.

    After many per­­son-hours of effort, last week a new type of sec­tion view, Com­plex Sec­tion, was added to the Tech­Draw work­bench. This new type of sec­tion allows essen­tial­ly arbi­trary cross-sec­­tions to be extract­ed from 3D geom­e­try and dis­played in Tech­Draw by spec­i­fy­ing a spe­cif­ic object as the “pro­file object” to use.

    Accord­ing to Tech­Draw’s lead devel­op­er, “wan­der­erfan”:

    The premise is that the user gen­er­ates a “cut­ting pro­file” using Sketch­er or Draft, any­thing that will cre­ate a wire or edge. This pro­file is extrud­ed into a cut­ting tool that is used to remove mate­r­i­al from a source shape. You can make a stand alone Com­plex­Sec­tion fea­ture, or one based on an exist­ing view.

    An off­set sec­tion view cre­at­ed with the Com­plex Sec­tion tool.

    This fea­ture is avail­able for beta test­ing in FreeCAD’s var­i­ous Night­ly and Week­ly builds, and will be includ­ed in the next major release of the soft­ware. Thanks to wan­der­erfan and all of the FreeCAD Forums mem­bers who helped to test and improve the fea­ture in prepa­ra­tion for its release.

  • Coming Soon: Sketcher Elements UI Refinement

    FreeCAD is con­stant­ly under devel­op­ment, with peo­ple across the world con­tribut­ing code, doc­u­men­ta­tion, ideas, and more. Recent­ly devel­op­er “pad­dle” has been work­ing close­ly with Sketch­er lead devel­op­er abdul­lah to refine a new fea­ture in the Sketch­er UI, and it was merged into the main branch of devel­op­ment this past week. In the new inter­face, an addi­tion­al mech­a­nism for select­ing and des­e­lect­ing the points defin­ing geom­e­try ele­ments was cre­at­ed, mak­ing it eas­i­er to select spe­cif­ic points on a busy sketch.

    If you are using one of the Week­ly or Night­ly FreeCAD builds, chances are you have already seen this change: it will be part of the next release of FreeCAD. Thanks and kudos to pad­dle, abdul­lah, and every­one who helped to test and refine the new feature.

  • FreeCAD Meetup at FOSDEM 2023

    The Free and Open Source Devel­op­ers’ Euro­pean Meet­ing (FOSDEM) 2023 is being held on 4 & 5 Feb­ru­ary 2023 in Brus­sels: many FreeCAD devel­op­ers and users are meet­ing at the event, and a ded­i­cat­ed FreeCAD meet­up is planned for the pre­ced­ing Fri­day, 3 Feb­ru­ary 2023. 

    Grand Place, Brus­sels (pho­to by Fran­cis­co Conde Sánchez).

    Top­ics will include the sta­tus of the 0.21 (or is it 1.0?) devel­op­ment branch, the sta­tus of the ongo­ing merge of the Topo­log­i­cal Nam­ing Prob­lem devel­op­ment branch, and much more. We encour­age any­one inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the devel­op­ment of FreeCAD (whether as a devel­op­er, beta tester, bug reporter, or idea gen­er­a­tor) to join us at the meet­up. Fol­low the plan­ning process on GitHub and the FreeCAD Forums.

  • Addon Spotlight: Assembly Workbenches

    The cur­rent 0.20 release of FreeCAD does not include a built-in work­bench for assem­bling indi­vid­ual com­po­nents into a more com­plex sys­tem: instead, sev­er­al 3rd-par­ty addons are avail­able through the Addon Man­ag­er, allow­ing indi­vid­ual users to choose the type of assem­bly pro­ce­dure they pre­fer. Three pop­u­lar options are A2+, Assem­bly 3, and Assem­bly 4. This arti­cle will briefly overview each. Note that although the names make it sound like one might be the suc­ces­sor of the oth­er, in fact all three are “spir­i­tu­al suc­ces­sors” to the no-longer-main­­tained Assem­bly 2 work­bench. The order they are pre­sent­ed here (and in the Addon Man­ag­er) is alpha­bet­i­cal, not an indi­ca­tion of pop­u­lar­i­ty or “offi­cial” endorsement.


    Adding a con­straint in A2+

    A2+ (Assem­bly 2 Plus), an assem­bly work­bench by “kbwbe”, is intend­ed as a direct suc­ces­sor to the orig­i­nal Assem­bly 2 work­bench. It uses the same basic work­flow as Assem­bly 2 so users already famil­iar with that work­bench will be able to get start­ed quick­ly. Begin by cre­at­ing your parts in sep­a­rate FreeCAD files, then cre­ate a new emp­ty file and import the part that forms the basis for your assem­bly. Suc­ces­sive­ly import more FreeCAD files and apply con­straints to posi­tion them rel­a­tive to your oth­er parts. As the README puts it:

    The main goal of A2plus is to cre­ate a very sim­ple, easy to use, and not over-fea­­tured work­bench for FreeCAD assem­blies. Using the KISS prin­ci­ple: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID

    Assembly 3

    An Assem­bly 3 assembly

    Assem­bly 3 (a.k.a. ASM3) is an assem­bly work­bench writ­ten and main­tained by devel­op­er realthun­der. It also uses a con­s­traint-based approach to refer to exist­ing geo­met­ric enti­ties and align them rel­a­tive to one anoth­er. It is often used in con­junc­tion with realthun­der’s fork of FreeCAD, which imple­ments tech­niques to mit­i­gate the so-called “topo­log­i­cal nam­ing prob­lem” (TNP). TNP-relat­ed issues can oth­er­wise cause prob­lems for a con­s­traint-based approach if the under­ly­ing objects change after the assem­bly has begun. Those tech­niques are being merged into the main FreeCAD devel­op­ment project dur­ing the cur­rent devel­op­ment cycle, but as of this writ­ing they are not yet available.

    Assembly 4

    Plac­ing a new body in Assem­bly 4

    Assem­bly 4, by Zolko-123, uses user-assigned “LCS” (Local Coor­di­nate Sys­tem) objects to assem­ble objects rel­a­tive to one anoth­er. This avoids any poten­tial TNP issues by ignor­ing the under­ly­ing geom­e­try itself and using FreeCAD’s built-in Part::Attacher and ExpressionEngine. It com­plete­ly avoids the idea of “con­straints”, opt­ing for a sim­pler (and arguably more reli­able) direct-posi­­tion­ing approach.

    How do you choose?

    All three of these work­bench­es are eas­i­ly installed using the Addon Man­ag­er, and all three can be installed at the same time. The best way to deter­mine which one is best for you is to give each of them a test-dri­ve. The user expe­ri­ence for each is very dif­fer­ent, and many peo­ple devel­op strong pref­er­ences about which one is the best for their use-cases.

  • The FreeCAD Project Association now owns a trademark

    The FreeCAD Project Asso­ci­a­tion (FPA) has reg­is­tered a trade­mark on the FreeCAD logo! The trade­mark is pub­lic and can be seen here.

    The trade­mark is reg­is­tered in Benelux only, but it still pre­vents any­one else in the Euro­pean Union from reg­is­ter­ing the same trade­mark.

    What does it mean? Basi­cal­ly the FPA (and only the FPA) now owns the rights over the com­mer­cial use of the FreeCAD name and logo. Noth­ing will change with­in FreeCAD or for its users, but it gives the FPA legal pow­er to take action against oth­ers mak­ing mon­ey with FreeCAD (and often not com­ply­ing with the license terms).

    The first things we have in mind obvi­ous­ly are the fake ver­sions of FreeCAD sold on the Win­dows and Apple app stores. We have tried fil­ing com­plaints in the past, but noth­ing ever came of them. Now we have an argu­ment that these com­pa­nies under­stand better.

    The logo itself is still cov­ered by the LGPL license, so every­one still has the legal rights to use the logo as far as the LGPL per­mits. The trade­mark pre­dom­i­nant­ly acts as an addi­tion­al tool to enforce the under­ly­ing copy­right when the LGPL is vio­lat­ed. actu­al­ly acts more like a super-copy­­right, which does not con­tra­dict the open-source license.

    A trade­mark itself does not bind any­body to any legal oblig­a­tion, it is not writ­ten in any law. It is just some­thing that has more weight when you claim your copy­rights have been vio­lat­ed. Think of it more like an “offi­cial­ly reg­is­tered” copy­right. It is not just us pre­tend­ing we “are” FreeCAD any­more. We now have a respectable insti­tu­tion vouch­ing for us and guar­an­tee­ing we are “the real FreeCAD”.

    So that’s basi­cal­ly it, keep using the FreeCAD logo every­where, since it’s still open-source!

  • New Book: FreeCAD for Makers

    In Sep­tem­ber 2022 the mak­ers of Hack­space Mag­a­zine pub­lished a new book by Jo Hinch­liffe (with a fore­word by FreeCAD core devel­op­er Yorik van Havre), FreeCAD for Mak­ers, pre­sent­ing an intro­duc­tion and ped­a­gog­i­cal approach to learn­ing FreeCAD. It’s avail­able as a free PDF down­load at on their web­site.

    The book fea­tures chap­ters not only on using the core of FreeCAD, but also fea­tur­ing many of the incred­i­ble Addons that 3rd-par­ty devel­op­ers have cre­at­ed, rang­ing from the Sheet Met­al work­bench for work­ing with designs bent from sheet met­al, to using Dodo for frames and pipes, and many more.