Computer-aided design (CAD) is the practice of creating, modifying, optimizing, and analyzing designs using computers. And the computer program that makes it possible to create in this way is known as CAD software. The design process can be made simple and accurate using CAD software, which has a user-friendly interface and an array of tools and features. Physical parts can be modeled in two and three dimensions, and the printed designs can then be used to advance the manufacturing process.
These programs can truly open up new opportunities for your business, so they can be really beneficial. Whatever your industry, it can benefit you and improve your work. You can work on your product design, run simulations, and get remarkably accurate 3D renderings with CAD tools. The applications for CAD are virtually limitless. With the help of these apps, you can create stunning 3D models for the prototype or final production of your project. Below is the list of eight best CAD apps that you can easily download on your Mac and PC.
Here is the list of 8 best CAD software
FreeCAD, as the name suggests, is free and open-source CAD software, and is the best choice for beginners and professionals alike. If you are well versed in the basics of CAD modeling, this software is the best choice for you. Even an educator or programmer can get the most out of FreeCAD due to its versatile behavior and intuitive interface.
Being open-source, FreeCAD has an active community of users who help and support each other. FreeCAD’s only flaw is its inability to work in 2D. The interface can also be a bit intimidating for beginners. FreeCAD is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
FreeCAD is particularly suitable for users familiar with Python, as it has an integrated Python console. With it you can record macros, code your own tools and create real custom workshops. Additionally, knowledge of some common Python functions can further enhance the experience with FreeCAD.
If your design focuses on 2D objects, LibreCAD is one of the best free CAD software available today. Like FreeCAD, LibreCAD is open source and is supported by an active community of independent developers. As a result, it is ideal for users who want to create 2D designs and PCBs. Other useful features include a benchmarking suite, ray tracing, and a customizable interface. The free CAD software also supports DWG and DWF file formats, allowing you to import drawings from other CAD programs.
Additionally, 2D drawings can be exported to DXF, SVG and PDF formats. LibreCAD also supports add-ons, so you can add advanced tools just by installing a third-party add-on. If you are looking for free CAD software for beginners interested in 2D modeling, LibreCAD is the best program.
It offers interactive geometric design, ray tracing for rendering and analysis, reference suites and much more. You can create 2D geometric designs, circuits, mathematical figures, and more in a highly customizable interface. It also supports DWG and DWF file formats, allowing you to easily import designs saved from AutoCAD or other CAD applications.
If you are fine with using a textual description language to create 3D CAD objects, OpenSCAD is an effective free CAD software. There are several scenarios in which you might need such an interface, especially if you work in a professional field. You will need to be as precise as possible when modeling objects, and you may find how useful OpenSCAD is in these cases.
For users who are comfortable using a textual description language to design and create 3D CAD models, OpenSCAD is definitely of interest. If what you are looking for is precision and exact values, OpenSCAD is one of the best free CAD software to meet this need. Additionally, OpenSCAD offers extensive documentation to understand how descriptions work, making beginners feel comfortable. The software comes with detailed documentation outlining the parameters to keep in mind when providing descriptions.
It offers an impressive level of documentation that will serve you well in the long run, especially if you’re just starting out. The user interface is developer-focused, so you can choose OpenSCAD if that suits you. OpenSCAD is available for Windows, Linux and macOS devices. Developers say they find OpenSCAD ideal for design because they don’t have to deal with menus or shortcuts, just clean code.
ZBrushCoreMini, developed by Pixologic, is a good free CAD program if your focus is on 3D sculpting and design. The most popular brushes come from ZBrushCore. These 12 brushes are useful for sculpting and 3D modeling. Moreover, this free CAD software also provides vector displacement brushes (VDM). This makes adding custom shapes much easier.
Other features include real-time context hiding, language detection, and 3Dconnexion support. ZBrushCoreMini also contains 8 different materials to choose from and all materials support RGB colors. This is particularly useful when exporting models, as you can display them in different forms.
Blender is a well-known computer-aided design software, a very powerful mesh-based non-parametric direct modeling software. Blender is also used by professionals to develop video games or animations. It is very similar to software such as Mudbox or ZBrush and is not suitable for beginners.
If you’re looking to do mechanical engineering, architecture, product design, or something else, you’re probably better off choosing another, more specialized program from this list. That said, it’s an incredibly versatile program that can be used for these applications.
The software has one of the highest quality free foundations, and numerous plugins are available for almost every possible CAD application, including parametric modeling. If you want to do mostly artistic 3D modeling, but want the ability to do more engineering CAD work, Blender is a great option.
SketchUp is probably the most widely used free CAD software in the world. The free version is completely web-based and is a great starting point for beginners. Despite this, it does not give up any essential functionality. For example, creating 3D models is a breeze thanks to the program’s intuitive design, and the CAD software also offers 10 GB of cloud storage space for projects. Another highly advanced software widely used by CAD professionals is SketchUp, a program used by architects, landscape architects, urban planners, and commercial interior designers.
Although the company behind this software, Trimble, lives off the full version of the program, SketchUp Studio, it also offers a free and extremely affordable version of the “sketch and extrude” CAD software called SketchUp for Web. However, it is much more restrictive for free users than Fusion 360.
Sketchup is a well-known professional-level software used primarily for architectural, interior design, or engineering projects. It is an open source library with a large collection of 3D models that you can use and reuse for your own projects. This 3D modeling program is free for personal or student use.
Another free CAD software suitable for beginners, Tinkercad doesn’t require you to download anything. The user interface is by far the easiest to use. Creating objects is a breeze, thanks to a block placement approach. Even beginners can create 3D designs with fun tutorials. The app works by placing blocks one by one to create the desired object. The interface is easy to use and allows you to use the various 3D tools and create your own 3D design. TinkerCAD is a great introduction to 3D software, perfect for teaching. Without any experience in 3D modeling, this program will allow you to bring your ideas to life.
Although Tinkercad isn’t as feature-rich as the other programs on this list, it does have some great features. These include support for HTML 5, integration with 3D printing services, and support for Autodesk file formats. Additionally, Tinkercad has plenty of tutorials to help beginners create 3D objects and geometric designs.
A professional 3D CAD program from Autodesk, Fusion 360 is a mainstay of digital design. It is regularly used in mechanical engineering and product design for its functionality in a wide variety of 3D design and modeling methods and for its simple documentation and production preparation functions.
It is available for free to make computer-aided design accessible to students, creatives, and even hobbyists. For this reason, it is also one of the best apps for students. Fusion 360 emphasizes concept building, making it a great learning tool. You can cover all the basics of 3D design and modeling, simulation, generative design, and more. The best part of Fusion 360 is that you can do it all in one place. You can create 3D designs, render complex mechanical structures, design custom toolpaths, run simulations, collaborate via the cloud, and more.
As you can see, there are many different CAD applications available. If you work in an industry like architecture, design, or engineering, you need access to CAD software, which can be expensive. To get the most out of all the features when it comes time to invest in a more sophisticated program, it’s worth using the free CAD packages for a while before purchasing a premium program.