Computer-Aided Design (often abbreviated as CAD) has become a vital part of the process through which the world advances. CAD enables you to design everything from small electronic components to enormous buildings, dams, etc. So naturally, as most professionals utilize CAD systems to design things, they have gotten expensive. And, whether you’re a student or a freelancer, the prospect of purchasing expensive CAD software becomes a pipe dream. However, there is no need to be concerned as we have compiled a list of the best 12 Free CAD Software that is just as excellent as the expensive versions. Therefore, without further ado, let’s look at the best free CAD software.
12 Best Free CAD Software
We’ve compiled a list of the best 12 free CAD software.
Onshape is cutting-edge CAD software renowned for its outstanding design repository and assemblies. In addition, it is a cloud-based design platform, in contrast to other software programs that are independent desktop apps. As a result, you may use a browser to create sophisticated solid and surface models without the risk of losing your design work.
Onshape is a web-based platform. All of your activities are automatically saved to the cloud, protecting you from data loss. Loss of design progress is a significant worry in computer-aided design systems as your project grows larger. Apart from that, Onshape has three primary design tools: components, assemblies, and drawings.
From its unique design of building designs, you may create highly organized and intricate assemblies. Additionally, you can quickly import DWG, DW, or DXF files for drawing purposes if you have worked with Autodesk.
You’re probably wondering why, as Onshape is a premium and expensive piece of software, we are promoting it? However, students, educators, and hobbyists can get the software completely free. Therefore, what else do you require? Competent cloud-based design software that includes all of the necessary contemporary tools. Onshape is, in some ways, one of the best free CAD software available right now.
As the name implies, FreeCAD is free and open-source CAD software popular with both beginners and professionals. If you are familiar with the fundamentals of CAD modeling, this is the software for you. Due to FreeCAD’s multipurpose nature and easy interface, an instructor or programmer may easily make the most of it.
Despite being a free tool, FreeCAD’s user interface is nearly identical to professional CAD software. Additionally, it has a slew of features. The Parametric Model is perhaps the most crucial component of FreeCAD. It lets you go back and change previous actions to achieve the best outcomes. In addition, the software features a modular design, enabling you to install plugins to add the features you require.
From the standpoint of an expert user, its ability to be integrated into an app via Python modules makes it highly helpful. Additionally, FreeCAD includes the Robot Simulation module, which enables you to investigate the movement of robots, and a rendering module that allows you to export your project to other renderers. To summarise, FreeCAD is a good choice if you seek free CAD software for beginners. However, I’d argue that professionals can utilize it, considering the tools and features included.
In contrast to the other CAD software on this list, LibreCAD is two-dimensional modeling software for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is free and open-source CAD software that may be used for personal and business purposes. In addition, LibreCAD uses several libraries from BRL-CAD, another CAD program.
It offers an interactive geometry design, ray-tracing rendering and analysis, and a benchmark suite. You may create geometric 2D patterns, circuit boards, and mathematical figures, among other things, using a fully configurable interface. Additionally, it supports both DWG and DWF file formats, allowing you to import projects saved in AutoCAD or other CAD apps.
Additionally, you may export your two-dimensional design in the DXF, SVG, and PDF formats. LibreCAD also supports plugins, which means that advanced tools may be added simply by installing a third-party plugin. If you’re seeking free CAD software suitable for beginners interested in 2D modeling, LibreCAD is the best option.
SketchUp is a professional-grade 3D modeling software used in a design of sectors, including interior design, architecture, engineering, and video game creation. As you might imagine, SketchUp is a commercial app, although it does have a free tier for home users and students. However, the free service is only offered via the company’s web platform. You may design three-dimensional models, render them, and save your DWG format. One notable feature of SketchUp is its open-source model assembly library and 3D Warehouse, a sizable collection of 3D models shared by other users.
Additionally, because this is a Ruby-based tool, extension support is included. SketchUp’s Extension Warehouse is a critical tool for those seeking increased efficiency. Additionally, if you prefer to utilize the native app, you may check a 30-day sample of SketchUp Pro. Thus, there is plenty of time to check it before purchase. SketchUp’s free web-based edition is a wonderful tool for both beginners and professionals. If Tinkercard proves to be too basic for your requirements, Sketchup is the ideal replacement, as it offers powerful tools without any restrictions on the web.
If you are comfortable with the idea of creating 3D CAD objects using textual description language, you may find OpenSCAD to be an excellent free CAD software. You may want such an interface in several instances, particularly if you work in a professional industry. When modeling objects, you must be as precise as possible, where OpenSCAD shines.
The software includes a comprehensive manual that details the criteria that should be considered while providing descriptions. It offers a remarkable amount of documentation, which can prove beneficial in the long term, especially if you are starting started.
Because the user interface is developer-centric, you can utilize OpenSCAD if you’re comfortable with it. OpenSCAD is compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems. Developers find that OpenSCAD is ideal for designing since it eliminates the need for menus and shortcuts in favor of pure code. However, this does not mean that the software is suitable for beginners. This is not for those who are just starting started with CAD.
6. 3D Slash
3D Slash is ideal if you have no prior expertise with 3D, but it is also ideal for children. Certain features are tailored for school usage, making this software ideal for educational purposes. Indeed, it is an excellent primer for 3D modeling. Because this program functions as a building game, it is enjoyable and a great way to get started with CAD. 3D Slash software offers straightforward access to fundamental features. This software enables you to begin allowing with an STL or OBJ file immediately, sculpt forms, and manipulate your 3D model. This program also includes a virtual reality experience!
ZBrushCoreMini is free CAD software that focuses on 3D Sculpting & 3D Modelling. It is manufactured by Pixologic, a market leader in the sector. The tool has a professional User Interface and can be learned in a short amount of time by anyone who understands the basics of creative designing. Numerous features are included that are beneficial when it comes to designing. For example, both ZBrush and standard-level navigation are supported.
ZBrushCoreMini also offers plugins, which allow you to increase the features and productivity of the support. Additionally, various sculpting and design-related features are available on the official website. This CAD software is compatible with macOS and Windows systems with at least 1 GB of RAM.
Sculptris’s other notable features include the GoZ button, which lets you export your mesh to ZBrush, dynamic tessellation, an immersive interface, and projection painting. If you’re looking for free CAD software for beginners, ZBrushCoreMini is an excellent choice. Additionally, it is capable of 3D printing rather effectively.
8. Fusion 360
Fusion 360 is CAD software made by Autodesk. It is provided for free to make computer-aided designing accessible to students, artists, and even casual hobbyists. As such, it’s one of the best educational apps available. Fusion 360 places a premium on conceptual development, making it an ideal tool for learning. You will need to learn the basics of 3D Design & Modeling, Simulation, and Generative Design.
The best part about Fusion 360 is that you can complete all tasks in one location. You can create three-dimensional designs, generate complex mechanical structures, create custom toolpaths, perform simulations, and communicate over the cloud, among other things.
Additionally, if your project grows in scope in the future, you may move it to CAM or CAE software. That is incredible. You may also use a single platform to combine design aspects from many projects, create a prototype, and even produce. That is the best part of an Autodesk-powered program. Overall, Fusion 360 is one of the best free CAD software available, and if you are new to this subject, this tool will serve as your guide.
Assume you’re visiting a buddy and receive a call to design a basic 3D model. While your friend’s PC does not have any CAD software, you have access to a fast internet connection. In such circumstances, Tinkercad provides a solution. It is a web-based solution for creating 3D digital designs. The best thing about Tinkercad is that it requires no prior expertise and is completely free to use.
The program lacks several of the features seen in other CAD software. However, if you’re looking for a basic platform for designing models, particularly for 3D printing, Tinkercard is the best option available. Additionally, Tinkercard is a member of the Autodesk family, which means it supports a variety of integrations and file formats.
What I enjoy most about Tinkercad is how it entices children to learn CAD. While this may not sound like an enticing proposition for young listeners, the lectures are a lot of fun. There is a great lot to learn here. You may learn about 3D design, electrical design, and programming blocks, among other things. Additionally, tutorials demonstrate how to create Minecraft models.
There is a gallery where you may view and share the work of other users. Additionally, Tinkercad integrates with 3D printing providers, supports HTML5, and has a robust geometry library. Tinkercad is an excellent online platform for learning about computer-aided design (CAD), and it is the ideal CAD software for 3D printing, even more so when the service is free.
AutoCAD needs a little introduction to 3D modeling, as it has been an industry standard for many years. Although it is a paid program, you may obtain a one-year student license CAD software for free. If you were unaware, AutoCAD is also part of the Autodesk family, prohibitively expensive for students. However, the corporation recognizes that if students cannot utilize AutoCAD, they will be unable to master it. And this will harm future sales when those students graduate and become professionals.
AutoCAD’s student edition includes all of the software’s features. Compared to AutoCAD’s $200-per-month subscription plan, this student edition is exceptional. For example, you may create sophisticated assemblies and a range of metal designs with the program and simulate them. In addition, AutoCAD has an incredible array of specialized tools and palettes.
Additionally, AutoCAD includes a sizable amount of documentation that may be used to familiarise yourself with the tool’s basic and advanced features. Therefore, if you are a student, I strongly advise you to download AutoCAD, which is completely free and has many features.
While nanoCAD is not completely free, it is far less expensive than its competitors. And it is for this reason I have placed it on my list. It is low-cost CAD software that offers advanced tools for sketching and constructing 2D and 3D designs.
Whichever industry you work in – architecture, manufacturing, or mechanical engineering – this tool offers all the necessary drafting and drawing extensions. The best part about nanoCAD is that it fully supports the DWG file format. Therefore, if you decide to relocate your project in the future, this functionality will protect you.
NanoCAD has various end-user APIs for automating complicated CAD designs. As a result, it can benefit businesses that create identical items regularly without going through the arduous writing step.
Additionally, nanoCAD is a standalone app. As a result, individuals who prefer to work with desktop programs will love the program’s look and conventional toolbar design. Finally, if you’re ready to pay a one-time charge of $180 rather than a monthly or annual membership, nanoCAD is a good choice.
This Leopoly CAD software is intriguing, but it comes in a program of variants, and commercial options are not free. However, if you want to get started with this software using a free and browser-based version, that is available. You’ll be able to start from scratch, import a 3D model, or see if what you’re looking for is already in their collection and edit it. Leopoly is a simple 3D creative software that offers some excellent VR features that may be expanded in the future.
Is There An AutoCAD Program That I Can Download For Free?
There is a lot of free CAD software available, as seen by this list. Additionally, if you’re looking specifically at AutoCAD, that software is also available for free to students. Therefore, if you have a valid student email address, you may immediately begin using AutoCAD for free.
Is FreeCAD Free?
Yes, FreeCAD is fully free CAD software that is extremely strong and feature-rich, so it is also our top choice for this list. In addition, the software has support for plugins and more, all of which are completely free.
Is There An Alternative To AutoCAD That Is Less Expensive?
AutoCAD is the industry standard for CAD software, but it is too expensive at $200 a month. However, we have covered a lot of economic and even free AutoCAD alternatives on this list, including FreeCAD. Additionally, students may use AutoCAD for free.
Wrapping Up: Free CAD Software
These are the free CAD software for creating 2D or 3D parametric models. I’ve attempted to include both simple-to-use and friendly CAD software and some pro tools that may require some learning. In addition, numerous major software packages provide affordable student editions, which should boost students. If you believe we overlooked any excellent CAD software, please let us know in the comments section below.