Several years ago Dassault announced it would be changing the way Draftsight worked (and ending Linux support) When my license was up for renewal I decided it was time to move to open source software for my drafting and CAM needs. The problem wasn’t that I was too cheap – it was that I did want to pay – and own the license on an operating system that I had some control over without the need to be tethered to the internet. As a one man band I don’t have the internet where I’m building and have no intention of getting it. Unable to justify a Solidworks seat, I eventually got around to learning FreeCAD and I’m glad I did. It’s quite a versatile program, allowing for drawing, parametric modelling, FEA simulation and modest but evolving CAM capability.

As a low level user I can’t say how well it will work for others but there are a number of very good Youtube channels some of whom are included below. Most of the issues I’ve encountered were solved by mining the FreeCAD forum when internet access was a thing. For the kind of of tool, model and furniture design I do it works quite well. Formal GD&T is lacking but you can monkey around in the Techdraw workbench labelling the 2D drawing with proper tolerances. Until I learn of better my drawings are manually altered this way. I use A2+ assembly workbench since that is what was best documented when I started but there are others. CAM is another area that is under development but a lot of the toolpaths are there to get milling jobs done. For turning and slotting I do my own thing but the dev group is working on streamlining lathe work.

Cross platform downloads are available at