FreeCAD: definition, functionality and scope

FreeCAD describes itself as an application for parametric 3D modeling. Many 3D fans might already know the program. In German-speaking countries, the freeware is one of the most popular solutions in the field of CAD programs. What it can do exactly and how you can use FreeCAD in 3D printing, we show you here.

The most important facts in brief:

  • FreeCAD is provided as freeware free of charge
  • Objects are described with changeable parameters (Open Cascade Technology)
  • Through additional plug-ins you can use more functions
  • FreeCAD is compatible with Linux, Windows, macOS and Unix

FreeCAD: Definition: Functionality and scope

FreeCAD is a 3D CAD application. So this is used to design three-dimensional objects in a process of contruction. In the case of FreeCAD, Open Cascade Technology is used for this purpose. Objects can be described with customizable parameters. Furthermore, it is possible to automate commands in the tool.

Using FreeCAD in the 3D printing process

With FreeCAD you can design both geometric 3D models and more extensive technical constructions. So, for example, you can use the app to design smaller spare parts for home use and print them out via your 3D printer.

FreeCAD file formats

  • DXF
  • SVG
  • STEP
  • IGES
  • IFC
  • OBJ
  • STL
  • DWG
  • SHP
  • DAE
  • IFC
  • OFF
  • VRML
  • OpenSCAD CSG
  • FCStd

FreeCAD: cost, trial version and operating systems

What are the costs for FreeCAD? Which operating system does the application support? Below we have listed everything about the costs and requirements for you.

Cost & trial version

As the name suggests, you can use FreeCAD as a free application. You don't have to worry about any fees and accordingly you can't use a trial version.

Supported operating systems

FreeCAD is compatible with many operating systems. The application supports Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix.

Advantages and disadvantages of FreeCAD in 3D printing

Below you can take a look at the pros and cons of FreeCAD for 3D printing:


  • Free application
  • Compatible with many file formats and operating systems
  • Extended range of functions through plug-ins
  • German version


  • Many plug-ins necessary depending on the application


FreeCAD is a free application with an amazingly wide range of functions. You can design your objects any way you want and at the same time rely on a huge compatibility with different file formats. If this is not enough for you, you can use plug-ins to extend the program. Even as a beginner, you can easily take your first steps here and you will be surprised how many possibilities are offered to you.

FAQ: Frequently asked questions & answers about FreeCAD

FreeCAD is an application that can be recommended even for beginners. The software is available in German and uses numerous intuitive tools and elements.

FreeCAD was designed for designing objects for the real world, according to the developers. Numerous objects and elements can be created with the software, which can be developed with real measurement units such as kilometers, feet or inches.

FreeCAD can be learned comparatively quickly. However, it is not possible to make a blanket time statement. However, if you work intensively with the application, you should be able to master most of the functions after a short time.