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Getting Started with FreeCAD

FreeCAD logo

FreeCAD is an open source and free parametric 3D design software aimed at mechanical designers though there are some modules that would extend the capability of the software like the Arch module which allows the user to use FreeCAD as an architecture design software. FreeCAD is available on all platforms Windows, MacOS, and Linux. The latest release of FreeCAD is version 0.15.

FreeCAD is a free alternative for Software like Autodesk Inventor, SolidWorks, Solid Edge and CATIA, though it’s not the only free alternative available, Software like Fusion 360, OnShape, and PTC Creo direct Modelling are also free but they’re not open source. Learning FreeCAD is very helpful for mechanical designers, hobbyists and makers as it gives them a way to bring their designs to life through a model that can then be 3D printed, laser-cut or manufactured by any other mean.

The aim of this post is to present and compare between free online sources that beginners can rely on to learn FreeCAD, the sources stated here are full-structured courses that beginners can follow along.

If you just want the bottom line (the road map to learn FreeCAD) and you don’t wish to read the entire article then go to the “Bottom Line” section at the end of the article.

Getting Started with FreeCAD Online for Free from Scratch

FreeCAD Website

FreeCAD Website is the first free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through a text tutorial, you don’t have to register to have access to the training.

Structure: The training is categorised by alphabetical order, each tutorial varies widely from one to another (considering its structure), the best tutorial for beginners to start from is “Basic Modelling Tutorials”.

Interface: The interface is simple, just click on the tutorial you’re interested in and you’ll be directed to the page where the tutorial resides.

1 - FreeCAD website FreeCAD Training

Now the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The training covers the latest release of the software.
  3. The training covers the basics beginners should be familiarized with in order to start using FreeCAD.

Cons

  1. The training isn’t well-organized for complete beginners.

Verdict: This is the best free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through a text  tutorial.

FreeCAD YouTube Channel

FreeCAD YouTube Channel is the second free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through video tutorials.

Structure: The training is divided into 12 video lessons, each video lesson covers some tools and techniques available in FreeCAD.

Interface: Standard YouTube interface.

2 - FreeCAD YouTube Channel FreeCAD Training

Now the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The training is well-structured and organized for complete beginners.
  3. The training covers the basics beginners should be familiarized with in order to start using FreeCAD.

Cons

  1. The training doesn’t cover every aspect of the software.

Verdict: This is the best free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through video tutorials.

CAD1919 YouTube Channel

CAD1919 YouTube Channel is the third free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through video tutorials.

Structure: The training is divided into 12 video lessons, each video lesson covers some tools and techniques available in FreeCAD.

Interface: Standard YouTube interface.

3 - CAD1919 YouTube Channel FreeCAD Training

Now the pros and cons:

Pros

  1. Free.
  2. The training is well-structured for beginners.

Cons

  1. The training isn’t well-organized for complete beginners.
  2. The video stream doesn’t have any audio which might be a problem for some beginners.

Verdict: This is a good free online outlet where beginners can start learning FreeCAD through video tutorials. It’s worth noting that there are other playlists in this YouTube channel covering FreeCAD but the playlist linked here is the best one for beginners.

Bottom Line

The recipe for learning FreeCAD:

  1. FreeCAD YouTube Channel is the best outlet for beginners to start learning FreeCAD through video tutorials.
  2. FreeCAD Website is the best outlet for beginners to start learning FreeCAD through text based tutorials.
  3. Finally, i-materialise have grouped a good collection of YouTube videos for beginners to have an overview of the software.

Remember that the first step is always the toughest step, and the aim of this post is to provide you with resources that will help you take your first step in learning FreeCAD.

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