Computer-Aided Design, fondly called CAD, plays a critical role in the world of designing today. And mind you, it’s here to stay. The global CAD software market is expected to grow at an impressive pace and is predicted to reach a value of nearly $20 Billion by 2030.
If you are planning to learn CAD then now is a great time to invest in the skill as it will be a very valuable resource in the future. Anything that you build today– be it a tiny toy or even massive constructions– all owe its foundations to CAD.
Often CAD software is too expensive to afford, even for professional companies and if you are already investing in hardware like Laptops for CAD then you might not have the budget left for software right away.
Worry not, because we have created a list of the best free cad softwares that can be easily availed even by a beginner and are used by CAD experts as well. They are easy to use and come with many features so that technology supports your imagination. Keep reading to find out more.
Top 5 Free CAD Softwares You Can Download in 2021
Blender is a free, open-source computer graphics suite with several innovative features. People mainly use it for 3D animation purposes, especially in the video game industry.
You can use it to create games, edit videos, and for simulation, compositing, camera and object motion tracking, GPU rendering, and much more. It allows you to create and edit models very quickly and also works as an excellent rigging tool.
Blender is a desirable tool mainly for its smooth rendering process, path-tracer engine, and efficient scripting. The rendering process speeds up because this tool uses your system’s graphics card to crunch the 3D numbers, so most of the onus doesn’t lie on the CPU.
Its viewport allows you to combine 2D and 3D. You can use the Python API to customize the size, layouts, colors, and fonts of the 3D interface according to your requirements. You can also use the Python scripts to include functions like object creation, animation, import-export, and rendering.
Blender is one of the best free CAD software available out there and is a must-try for beginners and experts.
Sketchup features in the list of best free 3D CAD software, and it does not disappoint at all. Recommended by many for its ease of use, this is an excellent addition to your toolkit if you are looking to create and edit 2D and 3D models.
Ideal for amateurs and professionals, Sketchup is a popular tool in many fields, including architecture, engineering, construction, woodworking, interior design, film, and much more. As we mentioned, it is very convenient to use, and the palettes are easily customizable. Sketchup makes developing models as simple a task as drawing on paper.
Sketchup is supported on Windows and is also a CAD program for Macintosh, so it’s easily accessible to all. Although if you are using a MacBook for CAD design then we highly recommend picking a mouse for CAD as the trackpads on laptop do not provide the precision necessary for professional work. Its direct editing push-and-pull technology helps you generate faster results compared to other tools.
It is available in three different modules– Sketchup Free, Sketchup School, and Sketchup Pro, a paid version. You can choose the version you want according to your requirement.
FreeCAD is extensively used for mechanical engineering and product designing. It’s an open-source parametric 3D modeling software. It’s easily customizable and scriptable, which makes it easier to use according to your needs.
You can add extensions into it using codes as simple as Python or complex C++ programs. The advantage of a parametric model is that you could make changes to your current model by referring to your model history and adjusting the parameters accordingly.
You can quickly render the 3D models as FreeCAD comes with a GUI based on the Qt network. The geometry kernel is one of the most exciting features of this tool and is quite efficient.
Its pricing could be free or quote-based. Windows, Linux, and Macintosh support FreeCAD. This makes it the best CAD software free on all OS.
You can access Tinkercad online as it is a browser-based software. It is a product for the masses and is one of the best free cad software for 3D printing.
It is mostly targeted at educational uses and helps teachers and students create electronic 3D simulations using code and design tools. You can use it for animation, 3D printing, and simple product designing purposes. Students can design vehicles, landscapes, houses, and much more.
Tinkercad is free and is apt for beginners as well as amateurs. It is easy to use and can be used online, which means you get to work from anywhere, even if you forget to carry your computer along.
Tinkercad does have the drawback of not being 2D-friendly. However, considering the features it offers for 3D, it is a valuable tool to keep with you.
LibreCAD is yet another open-source 2D CAD software that professionals and amateurs alike can use. It is effortless to use and convenient to figure out.
It is free, making LibreCAD an attractive choice for a graphics solution as most software with similar features come at high costs. It is available under a General Public License, which means you can copy, customize and use this software without being sued for a copyright breach.
It is popular among graphic designers and industrial users for providing complex customizations and features despite being free of cost. LibreCAD produces high-quality CAD outputs at fast speeds.
It is a community-driven program that is available in multiple languages. In case you find any difficulty navigating through the program, you have an active global community to back you up as it is open-sourced.
LibreCAD may not support 3D modeling, but it generates an impressive, high-quality output for the features that it carries at zero cost. This is why it is easily the best free 2D CAD software.
Picking the right tools for CAD
Summing it up
In this article, we have covered open-source software for CAD projects specifically suited for different fields. They are available for use according to your expertise, ranging from the best free CAD software for beginners to complex 3D ones. You may use these to learn, create, develop and innovate because CAD is already a part of the future of designing.
Trey is our resident CAD Expert. AutoCAD being one of his favorite tools, he also loves drawing and writing when he is not working on CAD projects. Trey loves to write about hardware that’s best for the job with his decade long experience.