Used by designers around the world, CAD or Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) is a design and documentation technology that replaces manual drafting (like blueprints, for example) with an automated process.
From architects and engineers to audiovisual professionals and fashion houses, experts around the world use 2D and 3D CAD programs to develop visual concepts, create construction documents and simulate designs in the real world using realistic renderings of a particular subject.
If you are already a designer or want to start getting started in 2D and 3D design, there is a huge range of software that can be used for this purpose. In this article, we’ll explore eight free Mac apps, so you can dive into them earlier and find the dominant one.
Most of these apps are free, but we’ll start with a paid option, but at a reasonable price.
Promising to create new opportunities in 3D printing through fully customizable digital landscapes and 3D modeling, Leopoly is designed for both beginners and more advanced users.
Its basic ShapeLab tool allows users to become designers in minutes, create bespoke models, and bring your vision to life through digital sculpting, painting, and mesh-based technology. Taking it a step further, LeoTrainer enables a full exploration of complex processes and models – hence the name – where training is geared towards the worlds of business and education to familiarize users with the concepts of reality. Virtual.
Finally, LeoShape is best suited to the health, fashion and heavyweight industries, promising enhanced modeling capabilities for those training or working in design; a great option for professionals.
To download: Leopoly ($ 20)
In terms of a beginner’s 2D program, LibreCAD software can help you create complex drawings, 2D drafts, or projects for laser cutting or engraving purposes. The tool comes with features like a snap-in tool, dimensions, measures, and annotations, much like a graphics editor like Microsoft Paint, but with more complexity.
It’s open source and available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and with no subscription, no license fees, or annual fees, it could be the program for you.
To download: LibreCAD (free)
LeoCAD is probably the best CAD software for educational purposes, as it allows users to create virtual designs, shapes and models using LEGO, which is great for kids who want to take a lengthy step. advance with 3D modeling. With a combination of basic and advanced tools, its open source nature means anyone can contribute, and even add new features.
To download: LeoCAD (free)
Blender has grown into one of the best and most versatile CAD programs in the world in recent years. Although it is very complex in nature, the possibilities are virtually endless with Blender. Open source and completely free, its creation suite “supports the entire 3D pipeline: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, composition and motion tracking, video editing and 2D animation pipeline”. Frankly, he’s a jack of all trades for anything and everything 2D or 3D.
Users have been enthusiastic about the wide array of possibilities with Blender, and if you’re looking for a more advanced program to help you develop your CAD skills, this might be the one!
To download: Blender (Free)
With an interface that clearly borrows from AutoCAD, the “industry standard” for CAD design software, DesignSpark packs the usual features and is a great free alternative to AutoCAD. Users of programs like this would normally attempt large-scale or complex constructions, such as houses.
Although the basic features are free, features like bulk import and export and advanced rendering have to be purchased, which is a limitation. Interestingly, DesignSpark allows you to have designs printed in-house and sent to you wherever you are.
To download: DesignSpark (free, additional purchases available)
A break from the other applications above, Houdini is procedural software designed around a node-based workflow. Similar to parametric modeling, which is used by Blender, this allows you to modify models and objects by modifying individual parameters or nodes. Much like Blender, it includes complex particle effects, which would allow users to create anything from a wintry terrain in Alaska to a mock-up of interstellar space. For this reason, it is also a popular tool for animation and game development.
Although a free version of Houdini (apprentice) is available with all the same features as the freemium product, it has some limitations, such as a render size of only 1280×720 pixels, and each rendered image will have a small Houdini logo on it.
To download: Houdini (Free, premium version available)
Although FreeCAD has an unpretentious name, it is robust software designed to design real objects in 3D. Again, using parametric modeling, you can easily modify 3D designs and adapt them to a variety of settings or environments. It is modular in nature, allowing plugins to be attached to the application, and also offers practical functionality geared towards robotics and mechanical machining such as CNC.
It’s open source and extremely powerful, so pace yourself to familiarize yourself with the program. Digging deeper will unlock the potential of a universe for CAD enthusiasts.
To download: FreeCAD (free)
There are many free and inexpensive CAD apps for Mac
CAD software can help you design, create and produce 2D and 3D objects, worlds, etc.
This article has given you a small selection of free yet powerful CAD applications ranging from beginners to advanced users or professionals. For those looking to get started with design or develop their professional design skills, these apps might be perfect for you.
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