From web software to free drafting software, the market is full of free options for hobbyists or just starting up small businesses. Whether you wish to make 3D-printed toys for fun or build complicated manufacturing industrial products, you have free CAD choices.

Don’t know exactly what kind of device you need? Learn the basics of CAD terminology at the bottom of this page before you purchase them.

You certainly know how powerful and useful these devices are across a variety of industries if you’ve dealt with CAD, or even dabbled in CAD drafting. Computer-aided modeling and drafting software is used not only in architecture and engineering but also in video games development and classroom creation.

Because of CAD’s high demand and the increasing need for companies to invest in a CAD designer, computer-aided drafting can cost a lot of money together.

Thankfully we’ve compiled a list of 10 free, open-source CAD software! Today, without the hefty price tag, you can experience all the fun a computer-aided interface has to bring.

Every lifecycle of product development is added to complete the task by a deadline. In this competitively growing market, the demand is immense. New products enter the market every day, leaving the older ones outdated. Long development lifecycle cycles include specific products, for example, aircraft and cars.

Drawing and mixing manually become very dull, which takes time. For different kinds of goods, mechanical obsolescence becomes the main reason. On the other side, the use of computer systems saves time for product development. Hence, the concept and illustration become the artists ‘ primary concern.

During the early 1960s, the word CAD came into existence in terms of automating the drafting process. It was the moment that computer modeling techniques began to overrate traditional methods of drafting, as they are of a time-saving type. The computer-based models are also found to be easy-to-correct or manipulative by modifying parameters.

Simulation projects ‘ research conducted by high-tech industries became another explanation for the advent of CAD. For starters, these companies started building aerospace and semiconductors to check their goods utilizing the computer modeling phenomenon.

Uses of Free Drafting Software

It is understood that CAD software is commonly used in production and industrial design applications focused on engineering. Some high-tech industries produce products with millions of dollars in hefty price tags. The initial design process thus plays an integral role in performing which software is best used for CAD. Every aspect is designed carefully to create the final product using the design software.

Compared with manual drafting options, computer-aided designs are much faster, more comfortable, better, and less expensive, particularly for large or complex projects. There are many more things you can take advantage of using this kind of technique of design. Let’s dig at more of the advantages of using CAD tools.

How Does CAD Software Work?

New technology enthuses immense anticipation but is not always available. Nevertheless, the richness of the conventional CAD-related manual design process rendered it possible for the designers and the introduction of the best free open source CAD software programs provided them with an ever-economical alternative. So, let’s check how they work before you know about those economic solutions.

  • Initially, your machine will have a graphics card, or a CAD software kit installed to allow your standard CAD device to run.
  • The graphics kernel is the cornerstone of the kit for the CAD software.
  • GUI is a vital component of CAD kits. GUI use involves getting user input by showing the structure of the CAD.
  • Mostly the mouse and buttons are used as the instruments for entry. Digitizer, sensor disc, and so on, are sometimes also used.

The control devices pass the data to the GUI, as shown in the example above. Instead, in the proper form, GUI moves it to the graphics core. The graphics kernel then produces to the graphics card the signals and abstract structures to view them using the GUI. This provides the simplest explanation of how the CAD system works.

Free and open-source CAD software also exists as described above. These are simple to use, accessible, and the source code can be easily modified. If you don’t wish to go with the expensive ones, they are the best economic options. We serve the purpose best, after all.

The open-source community has grown significantly over the past few decades, especially following the success of’ Linux’-the very first open-source OS. Today, internet users have become more educated and more comfortable with the benefits of open source software, as they can quickly be modified or incorporated if you like.

The internet makes the coding of such software solutions freely available to users, which can also be changed based on the user’s needs.

These days the free versions of these software solutions are in demand with some simple additions. We require the users to run these variants on their computer without the program installing. They have thus become a popular choice among the developers and designers of the new age.

1 free CAD | Best Free Drafting Software

FreeCAD is a free drafting software and a parametric 3D modeling software that makes it possible for plugins to optimize the user experience. It can import and export files in multiple formats and provides a module with drawing sheets that generate 2D schematics for the 3D models you make. There is even a feature in the design that operates somewhat close to a BIM application.

Pricing: Fully open access, online CAD software. For a free download of the CAD software, just visit the website.

Features: System design, parametric layout, modular architecture, import/export, sketcher, a robot simulation app, surface painting, rendering software.

Industry Features: Anybody, even educators and programmers, can use this free CAD method. FreeCAD provides an entirely free alternative for teachers to educate students without caring about the budget for their education. For programmers, Python, the programming language, allows access to most of the features in FreeCAD. It enables you to automate it with scripts, create custom modules, and incorporate FreeCAD into your application.

Also, Check Best Floor Plan Design Software.

2. Fusion 360:

Fusion 360 is a free drafting software and a CAD tool, available to startups and hobbyists free of charge. It provides a variety of assembly modeling, motion studies, and simulation tools along with 3D modeling tools. It also comes with mobile functionality and robust tools for collaboration.

Basic version: $40/month or $25/month for an annual subscription Premium version: $190/month or $125/month for an annual subscription 

Features: 3D / solid modeling software, animation devices, drawing tools.

3. Onshape: Best Free Drafting Software

Onshape is a free drafting software and safe, non-commercial, 3D CAD tool. It has a range of options for import and export, as well as version control and an app store that provides several add-ons and integrations. Like other CAD tools, Onshape does not use files, but rather save all data in a folder for those members of the community to access.

Pricing: accessible for students and hobbyists Professional version: $125 a month per user, software billed annually: 

Features: 3D / solid modeling devices, rendering tools, drawing resources

4. nanoCAD:

NanoCAD is a free drafting software and an industry-standard free CAD application with several APIs and a versatile table editor. It contains many tools both for 2D and 3D modeling, with multiple methods available to create geometric shapes. Many of the features can also be customized.

Pricing: Unlimited (standard version) Plus version: Beginning at $180 Pro version: Starting at $290 Features: industry-standard user interface, dwg support, robust command collection, table editor, scripting, API support, advanced plotting

5. openSCAD:

OpenSCAD is a free drafting software and open-source CAD software for stable 3D structures. It is not an immersive sculptor but a script software parser that then generates 3D objects. OpenSCAD is available for Windows, Ios, and Linux and can be used for either 2D extrusion design or solid geometry building.

Pricing: Unlimited free

features: 2D extrusion model, robust positive design, import/export

6. Tinker CAD: free drafting software

Tinkercad is a free drafting software and downloadable, browser-based CAD software designed for beginners and children. The program is based around a building block structure, but it can also import and transform vector forms to 3D. It also offers 3D printing services, connectivity with all 3D printers, and laser cutter exports.

Pricing: Free 

features: shapes, grouping, 2D/3D import, support for click-to-3D printing, laser cutting, cloud storage

7. 3D slash: free drafting software

3D Slash is a  free drafting software and a browser-based 3D design application that utilizes a “Minecraft”-like create block process. The software is suitable for beginners and children alike. A desktop version is also available and is easy to use on tablets and other mobile devices. You can either post ideas on social media or submit them to a 3D printer.

Premium: $2/month Schools: $8/month Professional: beginning at $20/month 

Features: simple modeling, drawing, import/export, forms, file sync, media sharing, 3D printing assistance.

8. QCAD:

QCAD is a free drafting software and 2D drafting Open-source CAD software. It has a variety of functions, including writing and producing papers. The main characteristic is the development of technical drawings of structures, interiors, mechanical parts, and schematics. There are many choices for scale-to-scale printing and multiple-page printing, as well as over 60 design and alteration methods.

Pricing: Unlimited (standard version) Professional version: $40.21 

Functions: frames, bricks, construction tools, configuration tools, entity pops, calculation software, component collection, ECMAScript scripting framework, import/export

Learning The Basic of CAD Software

2D vs. 3D CAD Software

2D CAD is an older software form, which can depict only two-dimensional objects. Cases with better use include designing orthographic designs (think stuff like elevations or architect and building plans) 3D CAD allows designers the ability to create structures that can be rotated and seen from any perspective. 3D Tools will enable the creation of orthographic projections using high-tech cameras.

Main Differences Between 2d and 3d

        Hardware requirements: Most of the machines will use 2D CAD software, whereas 3D CAD applications need hardware and high-end computing power equipment.

        Functionality: 3D CAD applications have much more advanced features, including fast prototyping, 3D printing, and complicated rendering. 2D CAD systems include simple layering and line typing, which can be appropriate for many designers.

        Cost: The cost correlation with these services is much higher because the 3D devices are much more sophisticated.

Surface vs. Solid modeling

Surface modeling is a wire-framing process that artists use to build sketches and architectural designs in greater depth. Many 3D game designers use this method as well to make their animations. Solid modeling goes even deeper than surface modeling, enabling designers to enable their designs to grow, develop, and evaluate their models both internally and externally. In essence, surface modeling allows designers to design the outside of a product, while solid modeling requires the toolset to create a model inside and outside.

Final Verdict

Free software is risk-free because there is no cost, but it can be a high reward. No matter what you’re hoping to achieve with your CAD software, there’s a choice for you. There are also many free software 3D modeling tools available. You can even delve into the project with the open-source tools, and help improve the software to fit your personal needs best.

 We can’t ignore the value of architecture, from a single product to the large manufacturing sector. Even the manual operations seem to be constrained when you need to show a sophisticated product design, properties, or anything else. Hence it is necessary to take the aid of machinery and equipment.

When you want to win the original design game and earn profits from your company, a sophisticated computer-aided software tool can become your master-stroke.

Although it is not easy to select the most fitting program from an enormous range available on the internet, you can still choose the most appropriate free and open-source CAD software solution according to your requirements, even with some testing.

Free and open-source applications will minimize the extra spending on the type of software you choose, and it protects you, of course, from the exclusive constraints usually laid down by premium solutions.