Freecad is...there's gotta be a better way

Freecad is frustrating, im new to the whole thing. Very familiar with vector graphics, but having a very hard time wrapping my head around the line segment system and how they join.

I keep getting basic shapes with 2 constraints, I just can’t seem to resolve them. Getting incredibly frustrated tonight.

What do you guys use to design parts? Did you take a class? If there an easier way?

I cut my teeth as a graphic artist in illustrator and corel draw (the latter one holds a dear place in my silk screen heart)

I use fusion 360. I took a short Udemy course to get myself familiar with it although did have experience with Autodesk products about a decade ago.

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I use thinkercad is very basic but works for me. Is free and is on the web.

I also use tinkerCAD, the learning curve is very small compared to other CAD software. It is basic but when you are starting out (like myself) it’s great, get a grasp of the basics and when you need more you have a good foundation to build on when you move on to other CAD applications

we run kids camps using TinkerCAD at, great foundation tool and easy to learn. then graduate to something like fusion 3d

I was in the same boat as you with FreeCad since i was use to 2D before and now wanted to creat in 3D
After looking in YouTube I did came across a series of video on FreeCad that help me a lot. I’m still learning but since then I’ve managed to creat a lot of items.
So search for Dr Vax in YouTube he explain very nice and slow and easy to follow then do a few experiment, it’s my go to for primary design now.
Hope this help!!


Designed, Sliced, ready to print.


If you don’t care that your designs are public, Onshape is similar to FreeCAD, but with a much better interface. No install, only online. You can also search and use other public models.

I really like the assembly features, where you can fit multiple parts with standard hardware.

Onshape - Free


I use Fusion, Lars Christian on YouTube has been my best friend through the learning curve.

I recommend him for all things Fusion


Thanks for all the insights. I am honestly thinking of shelling out a grand or two for some cad classes to help me get in a more professional mindset. I’m hoping to change careers with a more cnc programming minded goal in the future and this just seems like it could help me down the road.

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@Benchy I am a plastic injection mould designer and at the shop I work at none of the cnc programmers need to have any design experience. If you are interested in design why not push and get into the engineering section where you work. My shop is always looking to bring people in from the shop floor. Some of the best designers are the guys who have computer savvy skills but know how machining works and have experience working with what we design.

I work for Toyota motor manufacturing, and getting into any shop or any position is simply a senority proposition. Which I don’t have that many years. So that sucks.
I want to move to a different company altogether.
I also run a version of injection molding however, we call it a TIMM (Toyota injection mold machine) because of some patents the Toyota holds on it, I guess. Things a pos haha

I use OpenSCAD. It is free. You can download it. It is a parametric CAD system so it appeals to people with a programming mindset rather than a visual approach. It has an active community.
Blender is another free product that I have used but it is more often used as an animation tool. Lots of free training. Its approach is the same as FreeCAD.

Certainly look for training on-line. There are lots of free resources.

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I looked into freecad but how does the subscription stuff work? Is it free for year then you pay? Or does it just renew as a free member membership?

I’m not really liking the way autodesk is handling their products anymore. Seems a little money grabbing compared to the past

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FreeCad is free, its open source, there is a release version and usually a Beta also. After watching some video and using it I’m getting the hang of it. Once you start to see how to then it gets easier.


Great tip @Amiro62. I have not tried that one out! Thank you :slight_smile:

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I watch Dr Vax on YouTube he takes his time to explain and I could follow along trying what he was showing he had some great tips I can now watch other video since I started to understand how it works because there is lots out but some dont explain everything and goes a bit to fast so I had to pause a lot!! LOL

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I always seem to be the perennial outlier, but I’m a big fan of OpenSCAD. If you use the customizer on Thingiverse, it’s driven by OpenSCAD.

It tends to appeal to those with a background in programming, although that’s hardly necessary.
I could bet a bit fancier, but the blue knob/handle pictured above can be done with 7 commands:

Technically, one 2 isn’t necessary. I just added it to make it look more like the blue one. Basically, if you can break the thing you want to make down to basic shapes (cylinders, cubes, circles, etc.) you can do it with OpenSCAD. It definitely does NOT lend itself to organic shapes (figurines, etc.) however.


Sorry I meant I looked into fusion360… itz been a long day haha.

If you have a Windows PC, I can strongly recommend Microsoft 3D Builder.

It has a very low-slope learning curve and lets you make or modify STL files very easily.

  • Supports .3MF, .OBJ, .WRL, .STL, .PLY, .GLB, and .GLTF.
  • Imports image files and converts them into models. (eg. for lithophanes)
  • Allows Joining, Merging, Cutting, Splitting, Scaling, Extruding, Embossing, etc…

3D Builder allowed me to start my printing hobby by downloading and cutting/pasting other people’s models, until I could learn to make my own.

It is also integrated with Netfabb in the background, so it is able to recognize and often can repair non-manifold models.