The 10 Best Free CAD Software You Should Use

Computer-aided design (CAD) is a combination of computer programs and systems that allow engineers and architects to design detailed 2D or 3D models of physical objects, such as mechanical parts, buildings, and molecules.

It is specially used to design curves and figures in two-dimensional (“2D”) space, or curves, surfaces, and solids in three-dimensional (“3D”) objects.

There is so much free cad software available out there, but only a handful are either free or valuable. Here is 10 Free CAD Software You Should Use.

1 Archimedes – Free CAD Software

Archimedes Computer aided design (CAD) software

Archimedes is an open-source Computer-aided design (CAD) software that mainly focuses on architectural design. It is a robust system built over Eclipse’s Rich Client Platform entirely based on plugins. It is easily extensible and has a pretty thin core that allows you to quickly select the features you need and drop the other ones.

Features :

  1. Essential drawing tools like; Lines, Polylines, Arcs, Circles, Editable Text, Explode and Offset.
  2. Advanced CAD functions like; Trimming, Filleting, and Area measurement.
  3. Hand drawing is easily exported in scalable vector graphics (SVG) format.
  4. Autosave functionality
  5. English, Portuguese, and Italian language support

Website: Archimedes

2 BRL-CAD – Open Source CAD software

BRL-CAD - open source CAD system

BRL-CAD is an open-source, cross-platform free CAD software based on constructive solid geometry (CSG) modeling system.

Features:-

  1. interactive 3D substantial geometry editing
  2. high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis
  3. image and signal-processing tools
  4. network-distributed frame buffer support
  5. a system performance analysis
  6. benchmark suite
  7. libraries for robust geometric representation and analysis library
  8. path-tracing
  9. photon mapping support for realistic image synthesis
  10. embedded scripting interface

Website: BRL-CAD

3 Free CAD for Windows

Freecad - open source 3D CAD modeler

freeCAD is an open-source multi-platform 3D CAD modeler with advanced Motion Simulation capabilities. It’s suitable for anyone thinking about studying 3D CAD and Motion Simulation without spending a dime earlier than utilizing extra subtle packages.

It primarily focuses on mechanical engineering and product design and suits a broader range of engineering uses, comparable to architecture or different engineering specialties. This system runs on Windows, Linux PC, Macintosh PPC, and other Unix’s. Meeting data are unchanged across platforms.

Website: FreeCAD

4 HeeksCAD – Free CAD Software

HeeksCAD -  Free CAD based on Open CASCADE

HeeksCAD is a free, open-source CAD Software written by Dan Heeks. It is primarily designed to provide you with valuable features similar to important solid models from STEP and IGES files. Draw construction geometry and lines and arcs. Create new primitive solids, or make solids by extruding a sketch or making a lofted strong between designs. Modify solids utilizing mixing or boolean operations. Save IGES, STEP, and STL. Printer plots the 2D geometry or to HPGL. Import and export DXF files; lines, arcs, ellipses, splines, and polylines are supported. Use the geometric constraints solver to create correct drawings from rough sketches.

Website: HeeksCAD

5 Monoworks CAD Software

MonoWorks 3D Computer Aided Design

MonoWorks is a full-featured, Open Source 3D CAD Software for Computer-Aided Drafting, Design, and Engineering tools. The software comes with object-oriented math and modeling libraries, in addition to interactive viewing and modeling purposes. The MonoWorks Project aims to offer a versatile and robust set of engineering tools, from simple tasks to advanced automation and visualization.

Website: Monoworks

6 MeshLab CAD software

MeshLab open source CAD software

MeshLab is an open-source, portable, and extensible system for the processing and editing of unstructured 3D triangular meshes. It is aiming to assist the processing of the typical not-so-small unstructured models arising in 3D scanning. It offers a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering, and changing this sort of meshes.

Features :

  1. 3D Acquisition – 3D data alignment phase
  2. Painting interface for selecting, smoothing, and coloring meshes.
  3. Easy to Input/output in many formats:
  4. import: PLY, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS, COLLADA, PTX, V3D, PTS, APTS, XYZ, GTS, TRI, ASC, X3D, X3DV, VRML, ALN file formats
  5. export:PLY, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS, COLLADA, VRML, DXF, GTS, U3D, IDTF, X3D file formats
  6. Mesh Cleaning Filters
  7. Remeshing filters
  8. Various Colorization/Inspection filters
  9. Interactive Mesh Painting
  10. Measuring tool. You can take linear measures between points of the displayed meshes
  11. Slicing tool. A new tool that allows exporting planar sections of a mesh in SVG format
  12. 3D Scanning tools
  13. OpenGL Shader based rendering
  14. Large rendering (up to 16k x 16k) for high-quality printing
  15. The history of all performed cleaning/editing actions can be re-played on different meshes or saved and for archival purposes.
  16. Extendible plugins based architecture

Website: MeshLab

7 Misfit Model 3D

Misfit Model 3D

Misfit Model 3D is an OpenGL-based 3D model editor that works with triangle-based models. It helps multi-level undo, skeletal animations, texturing mapping, scripting, command-line batch processing, and a plugin system for including new features. The software is straightforward to make use of and simple to extend with plugins and scripts.

Website: Misfit Model 3D

8 Open CASCADE for Windows

Open CASCADE

Open CASCADE is a robust CAD/CAM/CAE kernel and development platform for 3D modeling applications. It consists of reusable C++ object libraries and a set of development tools available in Open Source.

Website: Open CASCADE

9 QCAD – 2D CAD system

QCAD - 2D CAD system

QCAD is a Multi-platform CAD Software Suite specially designed for 2D design and drafting. It is highly effective but straightforward to use a 2D CAD program for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. It uses the AutoCAD DXF file format internally as its standard file format. Whereas different CAD packages are sometimes fairly sophisticated to use, QCad tries to stay comfortable, and even an absolute beginner can create professional drawings with a minimum of effort.

Website: QCAD

10 SALOME Open source CAD

Salome cad

Salome is an open-source Integration Platform for Numerical Simulation that gives a generic Pre- and Post-Processing platform for numerical simulation. The software comes with an open and versatile structure made from reusable parts. It is a cross-platform solution and is distributed as an open-source software below the GNU LGPL license. It makes use of a standalone utility for the era of CAD models, their preparation for numerical calculations, and post-processing of the calculation results.

Features:

  1. Easy to Create/modify, import/export (IGES, STEP, BREP), repair/clean CAD models
  2. Provide Coordination between CAD modeling and computation software (CAD-CAM link).
  3. Mesh CAD models, edit mesh, check mesh quality, import/export mesh (MED, UNV, DAT, STL)
  4. Easy to Handle physical properties and quantities attached to geometrical items
  5. Display computation results (scalar, vectorial)
  6. It provides a generic user-friendly, and efficient user interface, which reduces the costs and delays of carrying out the studies.
  7. Reduces training time to the specific time for learning the software solution based on this platform
  8. Manage studies (create, save, reload)
  9. Offer access to all functionalities via the integrated Python console.

Website: SALOME

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