CAD stands for Computer-aided design software and is an important tool for engineers, product designers, and many more. Professionals who are willing to bring designs to life must use this software. Several free CAD software programs provide exceptional features and target specific industries & design processes. We have given here some important free CAD software. Let’s have a look at these top famous free CAD software.
What is CAD Software?
CAD software is basically a computer program that designers & engineers use to make 2D and 3D physical component models. This software enables you to create, modify and analyze 3D objects. Besides, the app offers a simple-to-use user interface, tools, and a large library of 3D models. With the help of this software, you can print 3D objects on several pages.
Why do you need to use 3D CAD software?
As these programs offer new possibilities, they can be a great asset to your company. No matter what your activity sector is- these programs can help to improve your work. Using these programs, you will be able to work on product design, along with doing simulations and getting impressive 3D visualizations.
17 Best Free CAD Software:
The most famous free CAD software are as follows:-
It is a free, open-source software that most beginners and professionals prefer to use. Whether you are well-versed in CAD modeling basics, it can be the software you must choose. If you are an educator or programmer, you will also be benefited from FreeCAD due to its intuitive interface and multi-purpose behavior.
Although it is a free tool, its interface is on par with professional CAD software. Besides, the tool comes with multiple features, and the Parametric Model is one of them. With the help of this model, you will be able to go back & edit the actions to achieve the maximum results. It includes a modular architecture that lets you install plug-ins for extra features that you require.
From an advanced user’s perspective, the implementing ability into an application through Python modules makes it useful. It has several features, like the Robot Simulation module that lets you study robot movement, a rendering module that can be used to export your project into external renderers, and so on. It would be a great choice if you are a beginner and want to use free CAD software.
Suppose, you have come to your friend’s house and get a call to design a 3D model. But there is no CAD software installed on your friend’s PC, but you have a strong internet connection. Hence, you can use this software, an online solution for 3D Digital Designs. What makes Tinkercad special is that the software doesn’t need any previous experience. Like other software, the program doesn’t include multiple features. This free CAD software for 3D printing belongs to the Autodesk family. Therefore, getting any kind of integration and file format support is possible. Using this software, you can learn several things. For instance, users will be able to learn 3D design, electronics design, code blocks, etc. Moreover, here you will find tutorials that can be followed to create Minecraft models.
It comes with a gallery where you will get to see that other users are designing and sharing as well. Its features include integration with 3D Printing services, support for HTML5, and a robust geometry library. If you want to learn CAD, this platform would be a great option.
This one is a 2D modeling software used for macOS, Linux & Windows. You can use this open-source and free CAD software for both personal & commercial use. The software uses a few of the libraries from BRL-CAD, a CAD program. It can also provide interactive geometry design, ray-tracing to render and analyze, benchmark suite, etc. Besides, generating geometric 2D designs, circuit boards, and mathematical figures is possible in a customizable interface. Moreover, the software is compatible with DWG and DWF file formats. Therefore, importing the saved projects is possible from AutoCAD or CAD applications.
Exporting 2D design in DXF, SVG, and PDF formats is possible. This platform supports plugins which means you will be able to include advanced tools by installing a third-party plugin. Are you a beginner and want a software for 2D modeling? Then, you should definitely try LibreCAD.
Are you comfortable with a textual description language to generate 3D CAD Objects? This effective tool could be the best performer in that case. If you work in a professional field, you can encounter many scenarios with the need for such an interface. While modeling things, it is essential to be as specific as possible and it is when you can find how useful this software is.
It has an extensive document informing you about the parameters that you should remember when you need to give descriptions. The software can provide an excellent documentation level which is useful in the long run. As its UI is developer-centric, you should definitely give this software a try. The software supports Windows, Linux, and macOS devices. According to developers, the tool is awesome for designing because they don’t have to deal with menus or shortcuts but pure code. The software isn’t for newbies. People who want to begin with CAD should not use it.
Solid Edge Community Edition:
Mechanical engineers can use this 2D/3D parametric CAD software. Although it has a premium version with a price range of up to $480 monthly for an all-inclusive package, a free version named Solid Edge Community Edition is also available. The free version is for makers and hobbyists. Besides, the tool is equipped with several features, including automated drafting, exploded view creation, animation, advanced rendering, and simulation.
Due to its Command Finder interface, beginners can easily use free cad software for animation. Besides, users can design parts, assemblies, and sheet metal with the help of this software. But it has two limitations if you compare this to its premium counterpart – it is impossible to open files that are created in the community edition of the software’s licensed version and 2D drawings will be watermarked.
ZBrushCoreMini (Earlier Sculptris):
With the help of this free software, you can work on 3D Sculpting & 3D Modeling. Pixologic, a top industry leader, created this tool. It comes with a professional User Interface. If it comes to talking about design, the tool has multiple features. For example, it is compatible with both ZBrush navigation & standard-level navigation.
The tool also supports plug-ins, with the help of which it is possible to extend features & productivity. Additionally, several sculpting and designing-oriented features are available on the official site. It supports macOS & Windows with a system need of 1 GB of RAM or more. The software has several features, like the GoZ button enabling you to transfer your mesh to ZBrush, Dynamic Tessellation, Immersive Interface, Projection Painting, etc. It is a great free CAD software for beginners. Moreover, you can use it for 3D printing as well.
Professionals use this open-source program to create big-budget animated films, visual effects, art, interactive applications, video games, 3D-printed models, etc. 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing, and compositing are some interesting features of the tool.
This tool is not for engineering applications. So, people who want software for mechanical engineering, architecture, or product design should avoid This one. It comes with top-quality free foundations and a wealth of plugins is available. If you are intended to do artistic 3D modeling but need an option for more engineering-focused CAD work, the tool is ideal. It is the best option for 3D designers, Professional 3D modelers, and game developers. Hobbyists who are interested in artistic design should try this free CAD software.
Autodesk develops this software which is free of charge. It allows students, creators, and even hobbyists to access computer-aided design. For students, Fusion 360 is the best app. It is an excellent tool for learning. What you need to do is go through the basics of 3D Design & Modeling, Simulation, Generative Design, etc. The best free CAD software for 3D designs is special because it is possible to do everything in a single place like users are capable of generating 3D designs, rendering complicated mechanical structures, designing custom toolpaths, running simulations, collaborating through the cloud, and so on.
Additionally, whether you are willing to expand the project in the future, move this to CAM or CAE software seamlessly. Besides, it is possible to unify design elements from various projects, generate prototypes, and manufacture on one platform. Above all, it can be said that for the beginners, this best free CAD software can be a trailblazer.
The basic version of the software is quite impressive. It is one of the great examples of how an organization did something correct and inspired others to follow in its tracks. Hence, the U.I. takes its cues from Autodesk’s AutoCAD.
The software is compatible with parametric modeling and useful as you revisit older designs.
This one is capable of automating several routine tasks. Like AutoCAD, it is equipped with a beneficial spreadsheet editor. The program has an uncluttered interface so that hobbyists can access it easily. Several plugins can extend the functionality of this free CAD software. If the projects are more demanding, try the nanoCAD’s paid versions. If you are an advanced user who wants to use a free alternative to AutoCAD, try this one.
With the help of this free 3D CAD solid modeling software app, you can generate files for 3D printing. It follows the direct modeling approach opposing the parametric approach to reshape 3D models with a simple push or pull.
If you need to design mechanical parts, you will know that the software is an effective tool used for creating a bill of materials. While this simple free CAD software has a free base version, it also includes an upgraded Creator or Engineer paid subscription plan with advanced features.
It is a great option for resource-strapped educators who need a tool for teaching students about programming. This software is graphically designed to teach school-age kids coding. Thus, they will be able to learn about codes and how to describe a solid 3D model in a block Mineeraft-like environment using codes. This software depends on the open-source programming language OpenSCAD. Therefore, this one is a modeler based on the script. In this case, you should know that the 3D preview can be manipulated interactively, but it can’t be interactively modified in 3D. Although this one is a free modeler, there is a subscription allowing you to learn lesson plans and support.
This one is an open-source 2D & 3D constraint-based parametric app. While it is compatible with basic 2D & 3D modeling, it also has easy mechanical simulation capabilities. Its 2.1 version and onwards support Windows, Linux, and macOS. On the flip side, version 3.1 got released in June 2022. The latest version has a few important upgrades, like new intersection boolean operations for solid models.
STEP export features object colors and transparency. In addition, it offers a new “exploded view” to sketches displaying sketch elements separated by a configurable distance that is perpendicular to the sketch plane.
This one is CAD software of the modern ages, and it is popular because of its awesome design repository & assemblies.
It isn’t like other software programs that work as standalone desktop applications. Users can generate complex solid & surface models using this cloud-based design platform from a browser. Due to this web-based platform, every action will be saved to the cloud instantly. It protects you against data loss. Loss of design progress is a very big concern in computer-aided design systems because the project expands over time. In addition, this best free CAD software includes three main design tools: parts, assemblies, and drawings.
It is possible to generate highly structured and detailed assemblies from the exceptional database of architecture design. Users could import DWG, DW, or DXF files for drawing purposes if they had previously worked on Autodesk. You might think the tool is premium software, but why is it recommended? In this case, you should know that students and hobbyists can access the software for free. It is a perfect cloud-based software that comes with a package of different modern tools which can be used for your design needs.
This software appeals directly to gamers, like the block-building game Minecraft. This one is browser-based. Due to the availability of a light interface, the software is perfect for beginners who want to learn 3D modeling. It is optimized for use on phones or PCs. The interesting feature is that the software allows creators to display their designs on social media. If it’s not an option, they can choose the 3D printer.
Slicing or slashing a cube is simple, like you play a game. The best free CAD software for beginners can engrave pictures or text using a new feature on a model. A wide color palette exists that can be used to color your cube in your preferred dye. There are two version choices— for use in classrooms or the workplace. Every format is synchronized for support.
You can get online storage for the web version in the free application. The app is compatible with only eight colors. You can get the premium version for only at 2 dollars which offers users a good subscription option. While the premium version is available at $2 per month, for school, it is $8 per month, and for Professionals, it is $20 per month.
This one is a strong 3D modeling software that lets you create designs easily. Morphy is designed mainly for tablets. However, it is accessible now via cell phones, computers, & laptops. It can provide a few exceptional features, like touch functionality. What makes it special is that it allows the users to access specific features & updates at free of cost. Along with 3D printing, it also comes with many designing models like – animation, architecture, decoration projects for AR/VR, games, and STEAM subjects (Science, Arts, Technology, Engineering, Math, etc.).
The best free cad software for 3d printing has brought several changes to the world of 3D designing. Leopoly is highly customizable.Besides, it is user-friendly. The software is ideal for 3D printing & 3D designing. Additionally, it can provide several functionalities, such as:
- a product configurator
- editing tools
- user-friendly interface
- sculpting, and so on.
It also uses voxel & vertex modeling to offer precise & sophisticated meshes.
This one refers to a suite of CAD products providing seamless collaboration between 3D designing & 2D drafting. It helps your team to optimize their design processes. In addition, it can simplify 3D & 2D CAD data management. With the help of this software, you can make bidding proposals for clients, generate design changes, etc. You can also automate repetitive steps to ship the products.
The software gives you a catalogue of pre-designed shapes which let you design & modify elements according to your requirements. It allows you to turn off history dependency, save the final model version, etc. Besides, you can edit your model in real time without going back to the original design.
How to choose the best free CAD software?
As there is a lot of CAD software available in the market, it will be quiet bit difficult for you to choose the right one. To find the best one as per your requirements, you need to ask yourself a few questions –
- What is your expertise level?
There is a lot of free CAD software available for every level of experience. Are you a newbie, an intermediate, or a pro user? Ask yourself these questions first. There are a few software available that are difficult to use and come with a lot of features and complex interfaces. So, the level of your expertise is the first thing that you need to consider while choosing the best free CAD software.
- Check all the specific features that you need:
We have already mentioned that there is software for all experience levels, and you should know that there is also software for different industries. Whether it comes to the medical sector or architecture or fashion- you will find dedicated software for all kinds of sectors and each of these sectors need specific programs.
Moreover, you need to determine whether you need parametric or direct modeling software. Using parametric software, you will be able to modify a design easily along with navigating through the model history. Do you want to use cloud-based software? If you want to improve data management, then cloud storage can be an excellent choice.
In this article, we have covered the top free CAD software. Go through the entire article properly and choose the right one as per your requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a free AutoCAD program?
There are a lot of free CAD software available like NanoCAD, Fusion 360, OpenSCAD, LibreCAD, Tinkercad, FreeCAD and so on. If you want mainly AutoCAD as a student, you should know it is free to students. Therefore, having a student email ID allows you to start using AutoCAD.
- Is FreeCAD really free?
It is free and very powerful software. Besides, it has many features, this is why it is our top pick.
- Is there a cheaper alternative to AutoCAD?
Although AutoCAD is the industry standard for CAD software, it is very costly ($200 per month). There are a lot of affordable and free AutoCAD alternatives available which we have covered in this article like NanoCAD,Fusion 360, OpenSCAD, LibreCAD, Tinkercad. However, you should know that students can use AutoCAD at free of cost.