Latest developments of the FreeCAD Arch module

This is a small sneak preview of what is possible with the 0.13 version, to be released very soon (you can already test by installing a development version). This is nothing comparable to commercial solutions yet, but it already allows to do some useful work:

It is now quite easy to import mesh objects from Blender or other mesh-based application. If they are closed, solid, non-manifold and have their normals correctly pointing outwards, they convert to Arch objects without problems. The procedure is simple: Select an object in Blender, export it to .obj, import it in FreeCAD, give its placement a rotation of 90° on the X axis (because obj format inverts Y and Z axes). Select it in FreeCAD, separate it if needed (Arch -> Split Mesh) then press the "Wall" button and that's it, it is now a wall, with all its properties.

There are now several graphical goodies to make your 3D workspace more interesting: axes systems, different linewidths, different linestyles, smart grouping, etc. FreeCAD is now becoming more stable everyday, and you can begin to work comfortably with a reasonable number of objects, and keep things fast.

The Arch section plane object now has more powers, it can not only put 2D views on a drawing sheet, like before, but you can also create a real-scale 2D view of its objects right in the 3D document, with the Draft 2DView tool. The advantage is that you can then export the 2D view to DXF with absolute precision. The Draft 2DView tool also allows to show only cut lines, so you can build nice sections, easy to export to your favorite 2D CAD application.

That's it for now (I have a longer article in preparation), probably there won't be any significant changes until the 0.13 release, but there are many ideas ready to be added just after.