In this post you will discover best free CAD software to aid in design processes. CAD is mainly used to create two-dimensional 2D drawings or three-dimensional 3D models. Computer-Aided Design (also known as CAD) has become an essential component in moving the globe ahead. CAD lets you design anything from little electrical devices to big structures, dams, and more. Because most professionals use CAD systems to design things, they have naturally gotten expensive. Buying expensive CAD software becomes a faraway dream if you are a student or a freelancer. But don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the best 10 free CAD software that’s just as excellent as the premium ones. So, without further ado, let’s check out the best free CAD software in 2022.
Best CAD Software for Free (2022)
Here is a list of the top ten free CAD software programs you may use in 2022. There are two types of software on the list: free software and commercial software with a student edition. The latter will be handy if your institution uses a certain tool and you need to use it as well.
AutoCAD does not need much introduction when it comes to 3D modelling since it has been an industry standard for many years. It’s a paid program, but you can obtain it for free with a one-year student license. If you didn’t already know, AutoCAD is also part of the Autodesk family, and it’s extremely expensive, so no student can afford it. However, the organization understands that if students are unable to use AutoCAD, they will not learn it. And this will harm sales in the future when those students graduate and become professionals.
All of AutoCAD’s features are available in the student edition. When compared to AutoCAD’s $200-per-month subscription, this student edition is very outstanding. Within the program, you may create sophisticated assemblies as well as a range of metal designs and simulate them. AutoCAD has an incredible selection of complex tools and palettes.
Furthermore, AutoCAD has a large amount of documentation that you may use to learn about the tool’s basic and advanced features. You should use AutoCAD if you’re a student because it’s free and has a lot of tools.
Assume you’re at a friend’s house when you receive a call to design a basic 3D model. Your friend’s PC does not have any CAD software loaded, but you do have a fast internet connection. Tinkercad has a solution for such situations. It is a 3D digital design solution available online. The best thing about Tinkercad is that it requires no prior expertise and is completely free to use.
The program does not have as many features as other CAD software. Tinkercard, on the other hand, is the best solution if you want a basic platform to design models, particularly for 3D printing. Tinkercard is also part of the Autodesk family, so it supports a wide range of integration and file formats.
What I like best about Tinkercad is that it encourages children to learn CAD. The lectures may not seem like an intriguing possibility to young audiences, but they are entertaining. There’s a lot to discover here. You may learn about 3D design, electrical design, code blocks, and other topics. There are also guides on how to create Minecraft models.
There’s a gallery where you can see what other people are creating and sharing. Tinkercad also includes integration with 3D printing providers, HTML5 support, and a strong geometry library. Tinkercad is an excellent online platform for learning CAD, and it is an ideal CAD software for 3D printing. Even more so when the service is free of charge.
If you don’t mind using a textual description language to create 3D CAD objects, you could find OpenSCAD to be a useful free CAD software. There are various instances in which you might want such an interface, particularly if you work in a professional industry. When modelling objects, you must be as detailed as possible, and this is where OpenSCAD comes in handy.
The software comes with a detailed manual that explains the criteria to keep in mind while providing descriptions. It offers an outstanding degree of documentation that will be beneficial in the long term, particularly if you are just starting out.
Because the user interface is developer-centric, you can use OpenSCAD if you are comfortable with it. OpenSCAD is accessible for machines running Windows, Linux, and macOS. Developers claim OpenSCAD is great for designing since there are no menus or shortcuts to deal with, just pure code. This, however, implies that the software is not suitable for beginners. This is not for you if you are just starting out with CAD.
It is a professional-grade 3D modelling software that is used in a variety of sectors such as interior design, architecture, engineering, video game design creation, and so on. SketchUp, as you would expect, is a commercial tool. However, it does provide a free tier for home users and students. The free service, on the other hand, is exclusively accessible via its online platform.
You may design 3D models, render them, and save your project in DWG format. SketchUp’s open-source library of model assemblies and 3D Warehouse, a big enough collection of 3D models shared by other users, are notable features.
There is also support for extensions since it is a Ruby-based tool. SketchUp’s Extension Warehouse is a must-have tool for anybody looking to boost their productivity. Furthermore, if you prefer to use its native program, SketchUp Pro is available for a 30-day trial. So you have plenty of time to check it out before you purchase it.
Overall, the SketchUp free online version is a wonderful tool for both beginners and professionals. If Tinkercard doesn’t meet your needs, Sketchup is a good alternative because it has a lot of powerful tools that you can use on the web.
ZBrushCoreMini is another another free CAD software that concentrates on 3D sculpting and 3D Modeling. Pixologic, one of the industry’s leaders, created it. The tool has a professional user interface and can be learnt quickly by anybody who understands the basics of creative design.
There are a number of features here that are really useful when it comes to designing. There is, for example, support for both ZBrush navigation and standard-level navigation.
ZBrushCoreMini also offers plug-in support, allowing you to expand features and productivity. There are also various sculpting and designing features, which may be seen on the official website. This CAD software is available for both Mac OS and Windows and needs at least 1 GB of RAM to run.
Other notable Sculptris features include the GoZ button, which lets you upload your geometry to ZBrush, Dynamic Tessellation, Immersive Interface, Projection Painting, and more. To summarize, if you’re looking for free CAD software for beginners, ZBrushCoreMini is an excellent choice. It can also perform 3D printing rather effectively.
As the name implies, FreeCAD is a free and open-source CAD software that is popular among both beginners and professionals. If you are familiar with the basics of CAD modelling, this software is the best option for you. Because FreeCAD is so versatile and easy to use, an instructor or programmer could also benefit from it.
Despite being a free tool, FreeCAD’s user interface is on pace with professional CAD software. It also has a plethora of features. The Parametric Model is perhaps FreeCAD’s most important feature. It lets you go back and change your activities to achieve the best outcomes. The software is also modular, which means you can add plug-ins for new features.
Furthermore, from the standpoint of an expert user, its ability to be incorporated into an app through Python modules makes it highly handy. FreeCAD also includes a Robot Simulation module for studying robot movement, a Rendering Module for exporting your project to other renderers, and other features. To summarize, if you’re seeking free CAD software for beginners, FreeCAD is a great option. Given the tools and features it has, I believe even professionals can use it.
While nanoCAD is not fully free, it is far less expensive than its rivals. That is why I placed it on this list. It is a cheap CAD software that has a lot of advanced features for sketching and making 2D and 3D designs.
Regardless of whether you work in architecture, manufacturing, or mechanical engineering, this tool offers all drafting and drawing extensions. The best part about nanoCAD is that it is fully compatible with the DWG file format. So, if you decide to relocate your project in the future, this functionality will be there to help.
Furthermore, nanoCAD has a number of end-user APIs that may be used to automate complicated CAD designs. It could help businesses that make the same thing over and over again without having to write a lot.
Furthermore, nanoCAD is a stand-alone program. Those who like working on desktop programs will love its aesthetics and traditional toolbar design. Finally, nanoCAD is a great choice if you can afford to pay a one-time fee of $180 and not pay for it every month or year, like with other programs.
8. Fusion 360
Fusion 360, for those who are unfamiliar, is a CAD software created by Autodesk. It is provided free of charge in order to make computer-aided design available to students, artists, and even hobbyists. As a result, it’s one of the best applications for students. Fusion 360 emphasizes the importance of developing ideas first. You will need to learn the basics of 3D Design & Modeling, simulation, generative design, and more.
The best part of Fusion 360 is that it allows you to do everything in one spot. You can make 3D designs, make complex mechanical structures, make custom toolpaths, run simulations, communicate over the web, and more.
Furthermore, if your project grows in the future, you may simply move it to CAM or CAE software. Isn’t it fantastic? Aside from that, you may combine design components from many projects, create a prototype, and even produce on a single platform.
That is the best part of an Autodesk-powered program. Overall, Fusion 360 is one of the best free CAD software, and if you are new to this subject, this tool will be your guide.
LibreCAD, unlike the other CAD software on this list, is a 2D modelling software for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is a free and open-source CAD software that may be used for both personal and business purposes. Some libraries from another CAD program named BRL-CAD are used by LibreCAD.
It offers interactive geometry design, ray-tracing for rendering and analysis, a benchmark suite, and other features. It’s fantastic to be able to create geometric 2D designs, circuit boards, mathematical figures, and so on with a fully configurable interface. Furthermore, it can read both DWG and DWF files, so you can easily import projects made with AutoCAD or other CAD software.
You may also export your 2D design in DXF, SVG, and PDF formats. Plugins are also supported by LibreCAD, so you may add sophisticated tools simply by installing a third-party plugin. If you’re seeking for free CAD software for beginners interested in 2D modelling, LibreCAD is the best program.
Onshape is a cutting-edge CAD software that is well-known for its design repository and assemblies. It is a cloud-based design platform, as opposed to other software packages that are separate desktop apps. You may use a browser to create sophisticated solid and surface models without the risk of losing your design work.
Because Onshape is a web-based platform, all of your activities are instantly saved to the cloud, protecting you from data loss. The loss of design progress is a major worry in computer-aided design systems as your project grows over time. Aside from that, Onshape has three basic design tools: components, assemblies, and drawings.
Its unique architectural design database allows you to create highly organized and comprehensive assemblies. If you have worked with Autodesk, you may quickly import DWG, DW, or DXF files for your drawing needs.
You may be wondering why we suggest Onshape, given that it is a premium and expensive software. The software is completely free for students, instructors, and hobbyists to use. So, what more do you require? A powerful cloud-based software with all of the latest design tools you want. In some ways, Onshape is one of the best free CAD software options available right now.
Questions and Answers
Is there a free AutoCAD program available?
As you can see from this list, there is a lot of free CAD software available. Furthermore, if you’re looking directly at AutoCAD, even that is free for students. So, if you have a student email address, you may begin using AutoCAD for free right away.
Is FreeCAD really free?
Yes, FreeCAD is a totally free CAD software package with a lot of features, which is why it’s also our top option for this list. The software has plugin support and other plugins that are completely free.
Is there a less expensive alternative to AutoCAD?
AutoCAD is the industry standard for CAD software, but it is quite expensive, costing $200 per month. However, we have covered a lot of reasonable and even free AutoCAD alternatives in this list, including FreeCAD, among others. Furthermore, students may use AutoCAD for free.
Create 3D masterpieces with these free CAD apps
These are the free CAD programs you can use to create 2D and 3D parametric models. I attempted to include both accessible and easy-to-use CAD software, as well as some pro tools that may need some learning. A few of these programs include low-software student versions, which should be beneficial to students. However, if you believe we overlooked any decent CAD software, please let us know in the comments section below.