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FreeCAD is a 3D modeling software for design engineering products and pieces.

There are a multitude of 3D CAD modeling tools (SolidWorks, Solid Edge, etc.), but almost all of them are paid software. The truth is that these tools are very complete and comply with its functioning perfectly, that are used by thousands of design and engineering companies.

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Thanks to FreeCAD it's possible to get similar functionality to the commercial programs, free of charge, since it is an open-source program that started his development in year 2002. Even so, this program continues in its development phase and does not possess all the features of the business CAD softwares. This doesn't mean that high-quality projects can't be developed with this software. The development of this tool moves faster every day, thanks to the great community which has been formed over the years and have been contributing to the project's code.

The interface used in this software is the usual interface used in this kind of tools: 3D view of the designed object, hierarchy, and history of the objects created, objects properties editor, console which displays error or warning messages, and python console, that shows the python command executed by the software, and where we will be able to introduce our own python commands for manipulating the objects in the document; to do this we must study the python API provided by the software.

Despite the fact that the program is focused on CAD design, we can also make 2D designs or even design 3D shapes of organic objects (animal, human, etc.). All this can be done thanks to the fact that the program has different “Workbenches”. These “Workbenches” are focused to perform a particular job, to do this, the program will load the necessary tools to carry out this work. For example, if we want to create meshes, we will use specific “Workbench” to this task, and the program will load the tools that we need to carry it out. However, if we'll make 2D object design, the program will load another set of tools.

The program has a great documentation that is located in main menu and on the official web. To have a good documentation for this type of programs is important because it speeds up the process of learning. If we know how to use any other CAD software, we will find it very easy to get used to the interface of this program.

Without a doubt, this is a great program to use as an alternative to commercial programs. It will be very useful for students who want to get started in the world of CAD, as this tool provides them with a work environment that is very similar to paid CAD programs.

FreeCAD has the advantage that it can be used on all major operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux, as it's compatible with these systems and includes a single installer for each of them.

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