5 Best Free 3D CAD software For Engineers

best free cad software

Everyone loves kinds of stuff which are free. Right? But do you know that you can even get free CAD software? That sounds surprising but true. There are multiple free CAD software available in the market. So in this article, we are going to talk about 5 Best Free 3D CAD software.

The license cost of CAD software is too high for an individual to effort. Some CAD software has a trial version but most of the feature will be locked. Some CAD software offers student version. But if you are not a student then you can not grab a copy of the software. So ultimately you will be left with only one choice, Using a Free CAD software.

What Is CAD ( Computer-Aided Design)

CAD is a computer program to create 2D ( Two dimensional) and 3D ( Three dimensional ) geometry which is kind of virtual mock-up of the actual part. Without CAD you need to prototype the part to get an overview of the part. But with CAD you can have an idea about the part on the computer screen itself. CAD saves engineers time and money in building a physical part.

Modern CAD also validates the design. What that means is that CAD checks for any interference with counterparts and how it may perform in different loading conditions. Not only the loading condition but CAD can also check how the part may behave in different thermal condition. In a nutshell, you can say that CAD creates a virtual part which is as good as a physical part.

What Is 2D CAD ( Two Dimensional CAD)

Two dimensional CAD represent an object using only two directional vectors, X & Y. This won’t gives you any pictorial overview of the actual object and you need to combine multiple 2D views to get a fair idea about the object.

What is a 3D CAD ( Three Dimensional CAD)

3D CAD represents an object using three directional vectors ( X, Y & Z). You will have a clear view of the object and you will feel like it’s the real physical object in your computer screen. It’s a virtual prototype of your actual product or part

Why Do We Need Free CAD Software?

No one can answer this question better than a fresher. When I was a fresher, I was asked many times if I know CAD. But unless I get a job, it’s impossible to learn CAD. The price of CAD software’s is too high for a student. But companies do not think that way. They need persons with CAD knowledge, no matter how you learn it.

Without any hope usually students lands into CAD centres. But trust me “ CAD centres only teach you 5 % of any CAD software”. There is a huge difference between what they teach in CAD centres and what you supposed to do in your job. So the best bet here is to use free cad software, get a feel about how it works and gain self-confidence. Free CAD software will save your money and will help you to learn quickly.

5 Best Free 3D CAD Software

2D CAD system is losing its charm and 3D CAD is gaining space rapidly in the last 10 years. Companies no longer use 2D CAD software. So the context of this article will be to find 5 best free 3D CAD software as this is something you have to bother about if you want to work in CAD.

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is open-source software and it does not have any paid version. So you can enjoy all the available features for free. This is the most powerful free 3D CAD software developed primarily for mechanical engineers. It has all basic modules like Sketcher, Part modelling, Drafting along with some advanced module like Rendering, FEA (Finite Element Analysis). Although this software is good for just part modelling and drafting it has some more powerful features which are listed below.

free 3d cad software
  • Parametric part modelling
  • Sketcher module
  • Drafting module
  • Assembly module is in development
  • Neutral file format import capability
  • Analysis using the finite element method
  • Advanced 3D model rendering
  • The capability of creating part suited for 3D printing and CNC machines.

Summary

Feature DescriptionValue
Operating SystemWindows, Mac,Linux
File Format.fcstd
Part ModellingYes
SketcherYes
DraftingYes
SurfacingYes
Sheet Matal & SurfacingNo
Computer Aided ManufacturingNo
Web BasedNo
PricingFree
WebsiteFreeCAD

BricsCAD

BricksCAD mechanical is free for students. This software has almost all the features that a professional mechanical engineer would need. This is one of the free software which has direct modelling and sheet metal modelling apart from all basic features. If you are a mechanical engineering fresher then you should enrol to get a free version. The working principle of this software is almost same like other major softwares like Creo, SolidWorks etc. So you will hardly face any issue when you will use commercial CAD software if you learn BricsCAD. Some key features are listed below.

  • Almost the same as any professional CAD software
  • Has all basic modules of 3D CAD software
  • Advanced modules like direct modelling and sheet metal modelling available
  • 3D model comparison ability
  • Automatic drawing view creation
  • Free-form modelling
brickscad

Summary

Feature DescriptionValue
Operating SystemWindows, Mac
File Format
Part ModellingYes
SketcherYes
DraftingYes
SurfacingYes
Sheet Matal & SurfacingYes
Computer Aided ManufacturingYes
Web BasedNo
PricingFree For Student & Educators
WebsiteBricsCAD

Fusion 360

Fusion 360 is from Autodesk, the company which is known for bringing a revolution in the CAD industry. Fusion 360 is free for student and educators. It has all basic module and at a glance, you may not even notice that it’s a free 3D CAD software. Couple of advanced features that Fusion 360 offers is free-form modelling, Surface modelling and mesh modelling. Apart from that it also has the manufacturing extension and advanced simulation capability. This software is ideal for students to get hands-on CAD.

fusion 360
  • Parametric CAD modelling
  • Surface Modelling
  • Manufacturing extension
  • Advanced Simulation
  • Rapid Prototyping extension
  • Product data management
  • Electronic board design capability

Summary

Feature DescriptionValue
Operating SystemCloud Based
File Format.f3d, .dwg
Part ModellingYes
SketcherYes
DraftingYes
SurfacingYes
SimulationYes
Computer Aided ManufacturingYes
Web BasedYes
PricingFree For Student & Educators
WebsiteFusion 360

Sketch UP Free

Sketch Up free is a free 3D CAD software, developed focusing on architectural and civil engineering projects. It’s good for creating 3D buildings for construction projects. The software is cloud-based and in the free version, you can use up to 10 GB space. Though the free version does not offer much of customization and features are also limited but as a beginner, this is a perfect software especially for civil engineers.

sketch up
  • Cloud-Based Platform
  • 3D design capability
  • 10 GB cloud space
  • Tailored for construction projects
  • Forum based support

Summary

Feature DescriptionValue
Operating SystemCloud Based
File Format.skp
Part ModellingYes
SketcherNo
DraftingNo
SurfacingNo
SimulationNo
Computer Aided ManufacturingNo
Web BasedYes
PricingFree
WebsiteSketch UP Free

3D Splash

3D splash is a free 3D modelling software, especially for crafters and hobbyist. Although not useful for engineers but the software will give a quick hand on how a 3D modelling software works. You don’t need much of technical knowledge to use this software. It has a Cloud-based platform and you will have a lot of customization in the free plan itself.

  • Cloud-based platform
  • Freehand 3D modelling
  • .stl file possible for 3D printing
  • Perfectly suitable for a crafter to show creativity

Summary

Feature DescriptionValue
Operating SystemCloud Based
File Format.skp
Part ModellingYes
SketcherNo
DraftingNo
SurfacingNo
SimulationNo
Computer Aided ManufacturingNo
Web BasedYes
PricingFree
Website3D Splash

Conclusion

All those 5 Free 3D CAD software mentioned in this article are good enough to get a broad overview of how CAD software works. None of these software’s is used in professional CAD industry as per my knowledge. But for basic learning, these software’s are good. I would always recommend using free trial version of commercial CAD software’s even though those software’s are feature locked. If you are a mechanical engineer then you should try either FreeCAD or BricsCAD

That’s all I have in this article. Did I miss anything? If you come across any free 3D CAD software that I did not mention here, but you feel that its really good, then you are open to suggest the same in the comment section and I will be happy to include that in the list.

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