When your model cannot be printed or milled directly by a machine, for example it is too big (a building) or it requires manual assembly after the pieces are ready, you will usually need to explain to another person how to do that. In technical fields (engineering, architecture, etc), this is usually done with drawings, that are handed over to the person responsible for assembling the final product, that will explain how to do it.
Typical examples are Ikea instructions, architectural drawings or blueprints. These drawings usually contain not only the drawing itself, but also many annotations, such as texts, dimensions, numbers, symbols that will help other people to understand what needs to be done and how.
In FreeCAD, the workbench responsible for making such drawings is the Drawing Workbench.
The Drawing Workbench allows you to create sheets, which can be blank or use a pre-made template to already have a series of items on the sheet, such as borders and title. On these sheets, you can then place views of the 3D objects you modeled previously, and configure how these views must appear on the sheet. Finally, thanks to an addon called Drawing Dimensioning Workbench, you can also place all kinds of annotations on the sheet, such as dimensions, texts, and other usual symbols commonly used in technical drawings.
In the following exercise, we will see how to create a simple drawing of a chair model found in the FreeCAD library (Furniture -> Chairs -> IkeaChair). The FreeCAD library can easily be added to your FreeCAD installation (refer to the installing chapter of this manual), or you can simply download the model from the library webpage, or via the direct link provided at the bottom of this chapter.
We will now place dimensions and indications on our drawing. There are two ways to add dimensions to a model, one is placing the dimensions inside the 3D model, using the Dimension tool of the Draft Workbench, and then place a view of these dimensions on our sheet with the Draft View tool (which can be used with a single dimension or a group containing dimensions), or we can do things directly on the Drawing sheet, using the Drawing Dimensioning Workbench, which is installable from the FreeCAD addons. We will use here this latter method.
Our page can now be exported to SVG to be worked further in graphical applications like inkscape, or to DXF by selecting menu File -> Export. The Drawing Dimensioning workbench also features its own DXF export tool, which also supports the annotations added with that workbench. The DXF format is importable in almost all existing 2D CAD applications. Drawing pages can also be directly printed or exported to PDF.