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FreeCAD on Raspberry Pi 4

FreeCAD window displaying red and white traffic cone model
FreeCAD 0.18.4 running on a Raspberry Pi 4

FreeCAD and the Raspberry Pi haven’t always got on too well. For complex technical reasons the standard package would load and immediately crash on a Raspbian system. For user reasons, this was just another annoyance.

Recent releases seem to run fairly well on a Raspberry Pi 4, though, but only after building them from source. Here’s a method that got FreeCAD 0.18.4 running for me. It’s lightly modified from FreeCAD forum MartijnD‘s post:

sudo apt install cmake build-essential libtool lsb-release swig libboost-dev libboost-date-time-dev libboost-filesystem-dev libboost-graph-dev libboost-iostreams-dev libboost-program-options-dev libboost-python-dev libboost-regex-dev libboost-serialization-dev libboost-signals-dev libboost-thread-dev libcoin-dev libeigen3-dev libgts-bin libgts-dev libkdtree++-dev libmedc-dev libopencv-dev libproj-dev libvtk6-dev libx11-dev libxerces-c-dev libzipios++-dev qt4-dev-tools libqt4-dev libqt4-opengl-dev libqtwebkit-dev libshiboken-dev libpyside-dev pyside-tools python-dev python-matplotlib python-pivy python-ply python-pyside libocct*-dev occt-draw libsimage-dev doxygen libcoin-doc dh-exec libspnav-dev

wget https://github.com/FreeCAD/FreeCAD/archive/0.18.4.zip

unzip 0.18.4.zip

rm 0.18.4.zip

mkdir freecad-build

cd freecad-build

cmake -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/python2.7 -DPYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/include/python2.7 -DPYTHON_LIBRARY=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/libpython2.7.so  -DPYTHON_PACKAGES_PATH=/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/  ../FreeCAD-0.18.4/

make -j4

Notes:

  • The only modifications I made to Martijn’s method were in the Python paths in the cmake command. Some of the paths given aren’t valid any more on an up-to-date Buster system
  • I built this on a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4 GB of RAM. It takes quite a bit of free storage: I wouldn’t attempt to build this with less than 4 GB free
  • make -j4 took 95 minutes, and even with a fan my Raspberry Pi 4 was at 70°C
  • Yes, it’s using Python 2.7, but it works
  • I’ve got no idea how to make it install properly, but it runs from the freecad-build/bin directory.

If you want to learn how to use it, look at the tutorials: even the Raspberry Pi Foundation have written some. The UK Traffic Cone model you can have: it’s what I made to learn a bit more about FreeCAD. Don’t worry, I’m still on Team OpenSCAD

4 replies on “FreeCAD on Raspberry Pi 4”

Hi,
If you’re playing with compiling things that take a while on the Raspberry Pi, then installing ccache is a good idea.

It’s also possible to setup cross compiling on your own computer, but this is a bit more involved.

S

I cut the compile time in half on my 4GB PI 4 bu\y using
make -j8

I had 8 threads running at around 50% of each CPU \. E\When one waits on a write the other gets 100%. The compile time speeds up a bunch. I assume there is a top end around -j 12 but I haven’t tried it.

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