Best Free CAD Software Tools: Computer Aided Design or CAD makes use of computer systems to create, modify, analyze or optimize a 2D/3D design. It is an essential tool that is used by designers and engineers.
CAD can be used to create 2D/3D designs for anything from small equipment to huge machines.
CAD software is used in a variety of industries such as architecture, animation, engineering and graphic designing.
CAD software is usually expensive and the price factor can be a major deterrent especially for students. Many times students or those who have just started learning CAD may be unsure of their exact requirements. This is where free CAD software can be the perfect solution.
There are plenty of resources that offer free or students’ edition of software and this can be extremely valuable in the learning process.
Best Free CAD Software – Free CAD Programs
Here is a closer look at the 7 best options to help you get started:
This is a 3D sculpting and 3D modeling program that is available as a free download. It has been created by one of the well-known experts in the 3D industry, Pixologic. It is available for both Mac and Windows users.
It has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy even for beginners to learn and grasp its basic techniques in a short period of time. Intermediate users or those with some knowledge of creative designing will be able to make the most of this free CAD software.
Instead of creating a high-resolution mesh in the start, Sculptris encourages users to build up the levels of detailing in a step-by-step manner. First, the silhouette can be designed using broad brushes eventually moving on to smaller brushes and more details.
You can also extend the features and productivity of this free CAD software as it supports the use of several plug-ins.
SketchUp Make is one of the most popular and widely used 3D modeling software. It is used in industries such as engineering, architecture, interior design, designing and development of video games, etc.
It is the free version of SketchUp and is available for both Mac and Windows users as a free download. The simple user interface of this free CAD software makes it possible even for beginners to create simple 3D printable models in a short span of time.
One of its best features is the 3D Warehouse, which is a massive collection of 3D models uploaded by other users. This content can be downloaded and one can explore all the possibilities that this complete 3D modeling software offers you.
DraftSight is a free 2D CAD editor that is equipped with all the required tools for the creation of 2D technical drawings. Whether you are a professional, an educator or a student, this free CAD Programs works well for everyone.
Since it creates, edits and view files in the DWG file format, it makes it easier to open and share the files with other users. This makes it easy to edit existing DWG files.
The availability of a wide number of learning resources is a huge plus and it also offers a great level of support.
Blender is an open source and free CAD software, which is usually used by professionals for designing and 3D modeling purposes. It is mostly used in video games, animated films, visual effects, 3D interactive apps, etc.
It has a steep learning curve and has been designed keeping professionals in mind. It might not be the easiest free CAD software to master but it is powerful and packed with a range of features.
One of its interesting features is the Blender Game Engine, which can be helpful for those into game designing.
This open source software is used predominantly by engineers and architects as it supports parametric 3D modeling. This capability allows modification of the 3D design by going back into the model history and changing the parameters of the design.
Though its target audience is mechanical engineers and product designers, it does offer some powerful features for various other uses. This free CAD software is extremely modular and allows customization. It is even possible to get plugins for any additional features that one might need.
FreeCAD may seem overwhelming in the beginning but the FreeCAD community can be of great help to discover this powerful tool. It has an easy interface and has professional looking layouts and designs in spite of being free CAD software.
LibreCAD is easy to use free CAD software, which is packed with some high-quality features. It is an open source 2D CAD modeling platform.
It comprises of basic tools that you would require to model and modify the designs. It has an uncluttered interface, which makes it simple for beginners to use. It is suitable for intermediate users as well who are interested in technical designing.
Some of its features include usage of layers, snap to grid for drawing, measurements inside the drawing, etc. This free CAD Programs has a large and loyal fan base of designers and customers alike.
Autodesk 123D Design
Autodesk brings you their free CAD software called Autodesk 123D Design. It is powerful and yet simple to use.
3D modeling and 3D printing are getting hugely popular and 123D Design is capable of working well with most of the 3D printer models available. It is perfect for those who not only want to create a design in 3D but get it printed with a supported 3D printer too.
The simple graphical user interface of this free CAD software makes it ideal for beginners. In addition, there are a number of tutorials to help users in the designing process.
This is a browser-based 3D modeling software that offers an easy to use platform that allows one to model, sculpt and print models all under one program hence you don’t need to install any extension or software and this makes SelfCAD the perfect software to be used in classrooms and workshops.
SelfCAD is easier to learn yet powerful. You can master everything in a matter of hours. Has various tools like the ImageGenerator tool which allows inexperienced users to create printable 3D shapes from Images. There are also advanced tools like the Magic Fix tool which makes the model ready for printing by identifying problems and magically fixing them.
Moreover, SelfCAD has a built-in slicer which prepares the models for printing.
SelfCAD has already partnered with MyminiFactory, this allows SelfCADer’s to have access to more than 30,0000 models which are printable and they can also upload their models for the world to see them.
It’s free for students and teachers and for the general users they have a one month trial period and $4.99/m thereafter, and this makes SelfCAD the most affordable professional software.
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Detailed engineering of 3D models is possible with the help of CAD. It has significant benefits such as a reduction in the development costs and a much shorter design cycle.
CAD designers are able to develop their work on the screen, print it and save it for future reference and editing. This helps them save a considerable amount of time.
With several options available today choosing the right free CAD software would depend on your specific requirements. Though they might not have a high degree of technical functionality most of the free CAD software is powerful and efficient. They offer awesome features that can be used by both beginners and intermediate users.
The possibilities are endless all thanks to the wide spectrum of free CAD software.