Free CAD Software is a life-saving tool for every small company or individuals to manufacture or test their products and AutoCAD is one of them. Here, in this article, I am listing the best AutoCAD Alternative Softwares that are functional and useful.
What is the Use of AutoCAD Software?
Most of the professional categories relating to design and construction (mechanics, architecture, household appliance product) today use digital tools that make it possible to virtually design and manufacture an object before embarking on its physical realization and AutoCad is used to perform these tasks.
This allows, among other things, to make considerable savings, for example by avoiding the production of very expensive and unsatisfactory prototypes. The AutoCAD software makes it possible to manufacture, adjust, test until the desired result is obtained before the final realization. Auto CAD also makes it possible to develop virtual environments, for example in the context of video games or computer animations.
Free AutoCAD Alternative Softwares
The best AutoCAD alternative softwares are:
Created by the Zspace platform, this hybrid, a cross between 3D structure software and CAD software that is a suitable AutoCAD alternative.
It is intended for students specializing in modeling. Users have at their disposal virtual tools allowing them to “sculpt” their product before printing it in three dimensions.
NanoCAD is a free alternative but also available in a paid version, NanoCAD Plus, which costs $ 180, which is quite affordable compared to Autocad’s $ 1,470.
By comparing nanoCAD to AutoCAD, we can note some notable differences.
NanoCAD does not offer dynamic input, library objects with behavioral properties, or operations with solid 3D objects.
However, it offers a lot of features that AutoCAD does not have. These include raster manipulations, an Excel-style table editor, and a line type editor.
Archimedes is open-source 2D software (released under EPL), developed in collaboration with professional architects, with the aim of creating a better program than Autocad for free.
Among its features are basic drawing tools, SVG export (export to other CAD formats is still unavailable, although this is in development), XML import (and Arc ), etc.
Archimedes is available free for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
This computer-aided design tool was developed by the American Army in collaboration with NASA, so we are sure that it will answer the vast majority of your design and modeling needs in both 2D and 3D.
BRL-CAD offers multiplatform support, more than 400 utilities, applications, and predesigned libraries that will serve you for the most diverse purposes. From creating 3D models, rendering scenes, data processing, and geometric analysis, etc.
The negative part of BRL-CAD is that it offers a somewhat different working system than what you find in AutoCAD, so the process of adapting to its tools can be somewhat more complex than in other free CAD software.
And continuing with the alternative CAD software to AutoCAD, but free, we can talk about TinkerCAD owned by the same firm.
In this case, we are talking about a web application that we use from the browser with a multitude of functions and tools focused on modeling at a more domestic level than AutoCAD.
In fact, the program is based on offering us the possibility of uniting some basic objects to create more complex elements.
Now we are going to refer to one of the best-known alternatives to AutoCAD. This is Blender, a free and advanced design solution valid for all types of users. Of course, those who are starting in this area may prefer to opt for other alternatives before this one, aimed at a more professional market.
In fact, this is software that over time has already been used by many specialists on the subject, including animation films, video games, etc.
As it could not be otherwise, it has a large number of functions and features for modeling, mapping, editing, simulation, rendering, texturing, etc. It is also worth knowing that this free CAD software even puts in our hands its own engine for creating video games.
This is another freecad Software we can use from the browser. Actually it is a powerful 3D CAD application that allows us to work and design objects, from the simplest to more complex ones.
It has an intuitive user interface that will be very useful for users less experienced in these issues. It allows the loading of personal projects to start working on it and has several pre-defined elements that we can use in our new CAD creations.
One of the most used 3D modeling programs in the world is SketchUp, and it is due to its versatility, extensive functions, and features. It has a paid version that simply adds another layer of depth to the app.
Furthermore, the free version is fully functional and complete. The interface of the program is quite simple to use, perhaps for the beginners, it is a bit overwhelming due to the hundreds of tools and functions, but as the hours go by you can get used to it.
With SketchUp, you will be able to carry out any type of design, a hotel building, houses of different dimensions, small gears, or mechanical parts.
Without a doubt, it is the ideal option for architectural and mechanical engineers looking for an alternative to AutoCAD, no matter what operating system you use, SketchUp is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
A legitimate barrier for many users who use AutoCAD is its price. Therefore, SolveSpace is another quite useful alternative for professionals in the fields of design. It is a totally free 3D parametric CAD program, capable of handling the most complex CAD drawings.
With SolveSpace you can model in 2D and 3D space, without worrying that your computer will eat-up resources since thanks to its interface, it is quite minimalist and its consumption is very balanced. It has basic and complete tools and is a fantastic software for those who are entering the world of building layouts, parts, and more.
One of the most attractive features of SolveSpace is the ability to print projects on a 3D printer or to make a part that you need in your home and implement it.
This program is designed for all electrical engineers and for computer science and computer engineering specializations, so as to have valid support in the creation of new electrical circuits and printed circuits.
Solid Edge 2D
Solid Edge 2D is a very valid free 2D CAD from Siemens, available in the latest 64-bit versions for Windows 7 and Windows 8 (if you have an earlier version of Windows, you need to look for a more dated version of Solid Edge, that is the ST6 or earlier).
It is possible to import existing 2D files such as AutoCAD through guided procedures, as well as easily create 2D diagrams by dragging standard symbols (useful, for example, for electrical diagrams); 2D layouts are designed in 1: 1 scale (multiple views are created on separate sheets and the scale of each can be resized according to our needs).
Solid Edge 2D is appreciated in various fields, but it is particularly appreciated for mechanics.
Sculptris is actually not a technical drawing tool but it is still one of the best free software for making 3d models. It is perfect for 3D modeling of sculpture, objects, faces, or animals. It is available on both Windows and MAC. You can never go wrong with this free CAD software.
OpenSCAD is a different kind of CAD software. Unlike others on this list, it allows engineers to use script programming to create exact designs of their machine parts. If you are good with scripting programming languages then this is the CAD software for you. It is available on Windows, Linux, and Mac.
This is arguably one of the best free CAD software available.
DraftSight is an awesome but free 2D CAD software that lets you create, edit, and view DWG and DXF files.
It is perfect if you are looking for a substitute for the popular AutoCAD LT because it has a very similar interface.
This software is totally free but you will be required to activate with your valid email address within 30 days of registration. You will be required to reactivate after 6 months then annually.
DoubleCAD XT is perhaps the best free alternative to AutoCAD LT because, due to its similarity to the latter (both in appearance and in menus, commands, and icons). AutoCAD LT users will have no difficulty in making this software their own.
There is also a paid version (called TurboCAD LTE Pro) which offers other features, but the free version does the job because it has no limitations (ability to open and save DWG, DXF, and DWF files and even use Google SketchUp and SketchUp Pro models).
Like DraftSight, to download and use DoubleCAD XT, you must also register by email. Note that your email can be used for private and commercial purposes.
Summary – Similar CAD Software to AutoCAD
Of course, in addition to the software listed here, there are other programs that are free, but I think those listed are the best AutoCAD alternative software (of course, each with its own advantages and disadvantages). Read through and pick your software that is similar to AutoCAD.