Open source FEM for architects

FreeCAD is an open source parametric CAD software with BIM capabilities, which is obviously also free.


At Metamorphosis we always try and  build our own technologies so that we can own it. So with the AEC industry now geared towards BIM  - it is time to grab hold of the bandwagon to come onboard opensource BIM.
Freecad is still in its beta - but as it is ever evolving this is changing, I write this article at 0.18.4. I think it is ready for primetime.

FreeCAD has several so called workbenches which you switch between to do different tasks. Each workbench has its own toolbar. You have one workbench for sketching, one for modelling, one for FEM and so on.

You also have more exotic ones as well such as ship design and robot movement.

Features of FreeCAD

FreeCAD allows the creation of 2D sketches, which can later be converted into 3D models. The software is a parametric software; this means that individual elements and their relationship to other elements can be adjusted. This in my eyes makes it competetive to the autodesks and sketchups that most architects get entrenched in, so for design students I would say this would be a great time to invest in learning this software over the proprietry ones.

Adjusting the ratios of these elements can lead to the creation of highly complex structures. Additionally, one key feature of FreeCAD is that the user has permanent access to the original sketches.

The creation of a 3D model with FreeCAD usually begins with the creation of a 2D sketch, which roughly describes the later shape of the model.

I specifically want to target todays post about the FEM workbench in freecad. It is possible to use it for calculating a building structure's stresses and use that information to make iterative design choices.

this is best explained in the video below.

Tell me what you think about the idea of freecad replacing main stream tech?
Should it be made a part of architectural engineering design curriculum at design schools?


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