FreeCAD 0.17 is released


Oh wow! From looking through the change log it looks like there were some pretty massive improvements, especially in areas that we care about like Gcode generation.

This might make me switch. FreeCAD seems like it will play nice with the community garden because we will actually have access to our files

2 years and 6,800 revisions! I will definitely take another look. Sorry to hear that Roland Frank (Youtube t tutorials) passed away,

Thanks for the update. I might have just gotten lucky. I downloaded it on Saturday for the first time.

So far, as a new user, I am impressed. In my school years, I had used Pro-Engineer, a professional modeling software package, but it has been about 10 years. I worked with FreeCAD a little on Sunday. I had some frustrations related to the number of degrees of freedom, the drawing being over constrained, etc.; but I remember these very same frustrations with Pro-Engineer. There was online documentation, and I was able to work through the problems. So far, I do recommend FreeCAD (after 1 day’s use). It appears to be a very significant and capable modeling package.


I am using Freecad to generate the Gcode for the sled. I want to compare how different is the NC file from the makercam.

I just finished modeling the sled. I’ll work on the CAM today.


How is freecad working out?

Have you been able to set up a MaslowCNC into freecad to generate G-code?

Assuming yes to the above question, can you select the number of tabs per part? Or place tabs where you want them around the part, etc?

Any additional info (pros and cons) would be greatly appreciated.


I was busy this week but I’ll follow up more concretely during the weekend.

But yes, you can create the whole ting and simulate the G-code to see the paths it takes. you can playback the simulation. Tabs you can add manually using any geometry you want.

The pro is that you can create 3D objects and machine them like a CNC mill.
The cons I guess is that is complicated to work with (even for somenone with an engineering degree). I use solidworks for my job and I can CAD/CAM easily with other tools.

The problem is that freecad is an opensource typical finicki program… it can crash if you do not know what you are doing.

Below is an image of the playback I was mentioning. It shows you where the tool is and how it moves. You can playback a t any speed

Here is the pocket of the center hole, it shows the patch where the tool goes. (i did a pocket just to show how to do it)
And below is the simulation from the pocket

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I have been using OnShape. I watched a lot of YouTube videos and now I can make some basic shapes, trace pictures, etc. I can say that I am happy just to be able to make stuff with CAD/CAM. The cam part is kiri:Moto it works. I can get a part cut out. The way it generates G code doesn’t seam logical to me. But it works. I just wish I could place tabs on some parts to reduce its steps.

I looked at adding this app in OnShape called visual CAMc. But it’s gonna take some figuring to use it and the YouTube video wasn’t that great.

I am almost ready to buy a package of cad and cam. Something between 500-800$. But I haven’t found anything that interest me yet.

Do not buy ANYTHING before you use Freecad.

I say this because Freecad is the opensource version of an equivalent of Inventor, Fusion 360, etc.
Even if you end up buying, the expensive proprietary software, the way to use it is VERY similar.
So first learn how to use CAM in freecad and you should be great to buy a CAD/CAM later.

OnShape has not the functionalty of a full blown CAD/CAM. Freecad has good functionality + all the experience you need.

(I learned solidworks and solidcam while I was in school, so I learned in the fancy software, so I can tell you Freecad can do the whole parametric modeling. I mean it does not have all functionality but it is WAY more than enough for plywood CNC)

Somewhere (FreeCAD Forums, perhaps?) I remember seeing a reference to or even actual code for a “shaker” routine that will help you identify degrees of freedom for under-constrained sketches. It will add a little random noise to point positions, which causes the points that aren’t fully constrained to vibrate.


I just finished the CAM for the sled in Freecad… I added the tabs succesfully .
I’ll cut my sled tomorrow first thing after breakfast.

Picture below shows correct cuts in the simulation and Freecad also let’s you review the G-Code after every operation.


I am just trying to learn how to make a circle in freecad.

Sled looks good

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There’s a new FreeCAD manual on their wiki. It’s designed to be a resource to get started.


Here is my sled finished. All went good…

When using Freecad, makes ure your units are right, go to preferences> units
I hadthe CAM global coordinate system in mm, for some reason, and this messed up my feed rates…



Like you, I use Solidworks at my day job. I started using FreeCad a couple days ago and have it mostly figured out. I am curious though, what settings are you using for exporting the code? As far as processor?

Thanks in advance.

So far I had no issues with either grbl or linuxCnc as post processors with FreeCAD.
Not sure when it comes to ‘advanced’ like turning the router on and tool changes, as I’ve not tested that.