Installing FreeCAD from Ubuntu PPA repository

I wanted to know how new version of FreeCAD handles DXF file. FreeCAD v0.14 can’t load circle entity properly from DXF file. FreeCAD v0.15 still has the incomplete DXF import.

I built a RepRapPro Fisher 3D Printer. The company, RepRapPro honors Open Source business model and has disclosed all design files of Fisher. So it was easy for me to make metal parts which will replace the flimsy acrylic parts.

I chose Steel and aluminium as metal parts. Aluminium is five times expensive than steel. So I decided Steel for frames – two front panels, one side panel, base and top plate, Aluminium for the print bed, 12 diagonal rods, and two effector plates.

I used OpenSCAD to work on the original DXF files but OpenSCAD’s DXF export lost basic geometry information which AutoCAD demands. DXF is standard file format in laser cutt, CNC industry which I learned lately.

CAD program handles shape with basic geometric elements, called entities: line, arc, circle, point, polyline, coordinate, and extra data.

Exporting DXF file in OpenSCAD after working on below design would create incomplete DXF file that mostly contains hundreds to thousands line coordinates. I was relieved knowing QCAD’s DXF file is compatible with AutoCAD.



Debian stable (jessie) and unstable (Sid) do not have the latest stable release of FreeCAD.

I located FreeCAD download site for Ubuntu.

I created /etc/apt/sources.list.d/freecad.list file

# FreeCAD PPA - Normand C

deb utopic main
deb-src utopic main

Then I followed the PPA package installation on Debian Wiki. It explains how to create Debian package from the PPA source package. Few hours of package building only gave me frustration after building failure due to one of library package’s compile error.

Before I gave up, I attempted to do binary package installation. “sudo apt-get install freecad/utopic” indeed worked out smoothly.

$ sudo apt-get install freecad/utopic
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Selected version '0.15.4671-1ppa4~utopic1' (FreeCAD Stable Releases:14.10/utopic [amd64]) for 'freecad'
The following extra packages will be installed:
liboce-foundation10 liboce-modeling10 liboce-ocaf-lite10 liboce-ocaf10 liboce-visualization10 python-pivy
Suggested packages:
freecad-doc ccx
The following NEW packages will be installed:
freecad liboce-foundation10 liboce-modeling10 liboce-ocaf-lite10 liboce-ocaf10 liboce-visualization10 python-pivy
0 upgraded, 8 newly installed, 0 to remove and 617 not upgraded.
Need to get 36.1 MB/38.5 MB of archives.
After this operation, 170 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y

For a while I will use QCAD to modify parts for laser cut until I’ll have found better solution. I have no intent to learn commercial CAD software, the De facto AutoCAD. Many users – individual or small company – who can not afford the outrageous license fee use illegal copy of AutoCAD anyway.

About janpenguin

Email: k2.mountain [at] gmail [dot] com Every content on the blog is made by Free and Open Source Software in GNU/Linux.
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1 Response to Installing FreeCAD from Ubuntu PPA repository

  1. areopagiticainkorea says:

    I also want to try the cad on linux. I use the debian. I think have to change it to Ubuntu.

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