Saturday, November 5, 2011


Lately I've gotten interested in FreeCAD .
FreeCAD is "a a general purpose Open Source 3D CAD/MCAD/CAx/CAE/PLM modeler" written in C++, with python scripting built in. It runs on Windows, Linux, and supposedly Mac OS X. FreeCAD is built "with a modular software architecture which makes it easy to provide additional functionality without modifying the core system."
I am interested in adapting some of the HeeksCNC libraries to a plugin for FreeCAD. My motives are practical, I think:

1. FreeCAD's is maintained by a core group of developers already. They are very active.
2. It has python scripting built in by default. HeeksPython is great,but is broken frequently by changes to HeeksCAD itself.
3. The OS related build system is already taken care of for all desktop platforms. I don't want to deal with this at all.
4. There is an active FreeCAD forum.
5. I just want to work on CADCAM and import/export issues.

I have been working on improving the DXF import/export scripts that are already in FreeCAD and have started on a DXF to constraints/Sketcher importer. I have also started work on backplotting CNC g-code into FreeCAD:

The screenshot is from some g-code that I generated in HeeksCNC and backplotted using the HeeksCNC python scripting, adapted to FreeCAD.


  1. Hi Dan,
    I am very interested in a CAM-Module for FreeCad.
    I would like to help (if I can ...)
    I do have programming skills but I am not familiar with python.
    Is there already something that I can download for beta testing? ;)

    Kind regards

  2. Hi Jörg,
    Sorry, I didn't see your comment until tonight. I have been learning a bit about qtDesigner and it's been a good lesson in gui programming. I don't have anything that is user friendly yet, but hopefully soon.
    I have a git repo here
    When I have something simple that is close to use, I will put it up there.

  3. Hi Dan,
    that sounds great!
    Your progress looks good ;)
    Thank you!

  4. It would appear that the team is exploring the probability to succeed towards becoming a PLM/PDM option. The group is in contact with the OpenPLM venture. That foliage us a few more concerns, the 1st of which getting, regardless of whether FreeCAD will almost certainly stabilize any time soon. But, fantastic article!

    3D CAD Program