3D CAD for Schools?

I'm a writer and teacher based in Wales (UK). I use Linux and free software all the time and am trying to get more of it in schools, but in the UK the Design & Technology department has a major influence on IT policy, and they use a lot of CAD and CAM software. Bearing in mind that schools have very little money to spend, is anyone aware of a free, open source 3D CAD built on opencascade that might be suitable for school use?

I use VariCAD myself and find it just about right, it's simple but good enough for school work. It's not free though and a licence for a class to use is expensive. Many schools here use ProDESKTOP which they got free under a deal between PTC and our government, but that's Windows only and discontinued now.

Plan B, is anyone interested in starting such a project? I'm not a developer, but I'm prepared to help with publicity, finding schools to trial it, and pushing the Welsh government towards using it.


P Dolbey's picture


I'm starting to compile a list of known OpenCascade open source C++ projects here.


I'm still adding entries to this list, so keep watching.

Without knowing what your curriculum covers, is difficult to say what your best option is. However the most complete application at the moment is probably FreeCAD which is being actively updated at the moment (I know some sneaky devils have been trying to sell this app on ebay). Geometry in FreeCAD is mostly defined via a Python scripting interface which involve your students having a good grasp of computational geometry. You'd have to determine if thats a good or bad thing.

My own project's efforts on sourceforge are primarily targeted towards the developer, rather than end-user, community. But if you have any thoughts you can post them on forums at http://sourceforge.net/projects/qtocc .


p.s. I'm only just across the border in Shrewsbury!