Free CAD Software

Free/Open Source Computer-aided Design Software


Free and/or Open Source CAD Software

Computer-aided Design computer programs, or CAD software, allow you to create, modify and test your technical and/or engineering designs. For example, you can use it to create 3D or 2D technical drawings such as plans, schematics, diagrams for physical tools, machines/mechanical parts, buildings, interiors, etc. This page lists free and/or open source CAD software.

Note that if you prefer to use commercial software, one well-known CAD application is AutoDesk AutoCAD.

Those looking for software to design circuits should also see the Free Electronic Circuit Simulation Software / Circuit Simulators page.

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Free CAD Software

FreeCAD (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

FreeCAD is a parametric 3D CAD modeller and building information modelling (BIM) software. Its features include primitive objects (eg box, sphere, cylinder, etc), topological components (vertices, edges, wires, planes), graphical modification operations (translation, rotation, scaling, mirroring, offset or shape conversion, etc), constructive solid geometry operations (union, difference, intersect), modelling with straight or revolved extrusions, sections, fillets, testing and repairing, annotations, etc. It exports to STEP, IGES, OBJ, STL, DXF, SVG, STL, DAE, IFC or OFF, NASTRAN, VRML in addition to its own native file format. FreeCAD supports scripting via its built-in Python interpreter and an extensive API that covers large portions of the application, its interface, the geometry and the representation of the geometry in the 3D viewer. The program is open source, and has binary (executables) for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

LibreCAD (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

LibreCAD is an open source 2D CAD application. It can save your designs in the DXF, CXF and LFF formats, although it can also import AutoCAD's DWG format. The program was originally a fork of the QCAD program (see elsewhere on this page). Executables (binaries) are available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The source code is licensed under the GNU General Public Licence.

BRL-CAD (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, IRIX)

BRL-CAD is a solid modelling CAD system that includes interactive geometry editing, ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, distributed framebuffer support, scripting, image processing and signal processing tools, etc. Platforms supported include Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris and IRIX. This is open source software.

OpenSCAD (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

OpenSCAD lets you create solid 3D CAD models (with an emphasis on the CAD rather than the artistic aspects). It is not an interactive modeller; it renders the model based on the description given in a script file. It can use AutoCAD's DXF files as the data exchange format for 2D outlines, as well as read design parameters from such files. It can read and create 3D models in the STL and OFF file formats. The software is licensed under the GNU General Public License. It works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

SolveSpace (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

SolveSpace is a parametric 3D CAD modeller. You can model 2D and 3D parts with it and use the constraint solver to simulate planar or spatial linkages, with pin, ball or slide joints. It supports a variety of export formats, including DXF, PDF, SVG, STEP and STL (see their documentation for more details). The program is open source, and licensed under the GNU General Public License. Binaries (executables) are provided for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

QCad Community Edition (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)

QCad is a CAD application for 2D computer-aided design and drafting. It features layer support; block support; different line widths and linetypes; CAD-optimized line fonts; unlimited undo/redo; clipboard functions; construction and modification of points, lines, arcs, circles, ellipses, splines, polylines, dimensions, hatches, fills, raster images, text; etc. Note that only the Community Edition is free and open source. If you download the precompiled provided executables, you will have to remove the professional add-on running in trial mode, otherwise the program will only run 15 minutes at a time. Instructions for this can be found on their download page. Alternatively, if you are familiar with building software, you can also get the sources and compile yourself. You will need a C++ compiler.

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