10 Free CAD Software For Designing 2D, 3D Drawings

By | March 27, 2022

CAD software is a must-have tool in most companies to reduce fatal defects in designs that may arise during production. If you’re in an industry that relies heavily on CAD tools, you probably already know that getting good CAD software can be very expensive. And if you’re a student just starting to dip your toes in CAD software, this is bound to be a problem.

But there is a second option: free alternative CAD software. We’ve done the hard work and looked for 10 CAD software that you can try for free now to design your next 2D drawing or 3D modeling project.

Here are 10 of these software, and links to download them for whichever operating system you’re using. If you know more, do share with us in the comments section.

Sculptris is a professional yet free 3D modeling program created by one 3D industry expert, Pixologic. You can use it to easily design versions of trolls, dragons, or even Godzilla yourself through its rich sculpting toolset.

If you’re bad at playing around geometry and polygons to create your own surfaces, don’t worry, because Sculptris surfaces contain lots of triangles that are automatically inserted into the surface of your 3D model.

This app supports: Windows and macOS.

One of the most popular 3D modeling software, SketchUp Make, is used mostly for architectural purposes and occasionally for other niches in the 3D design market.

If you are looking for a complete 3D modeling software for your professional career with all the tools included, minus the price tag, then SketchUp is for you.

This app supports: Windows and macOS.

DraftSight is a free 2D CAD editor that’s good for professional CAD users, students and educators, especially if you need to create, edit, and view your projects in the native DWG file format.

It comes with a nifty set of features that allow you to generate professional looking plans using lines, polylines, dimensions, text and more. The interface is relatively boring, but it may appeal to those who prefer minimalistic and simple CAD software.

This app supports: Windows, macOS, Ubuntu and Fedora.

This project is 100% open source and aimed directly at mechanical engineering and product design use, but can also be used for architecture or other engineering industries that rely heavily on parametric 3D modelers.

Despite being open source and free, FreeCAD is on par with other popular CAD programs due to its ability to create real 3D solids, support for meshes, 2D drafting, right-hand coordinate system plus many other features.

The program itself is very modular, where you can choose very advanced extensions and customizations.

This app supports: Windows, macOS, Ubuntu and Fedora.

For those who want to work on specifics, especially engineers, OpenSCAD is your ideal 3D modeling platform. It doesn’t have interactive modeling for you to design your model on, but instead relies more on what you specify in the parameters via script files.

If you want to make machine parts instead of designing your next game character, OpenSCAD is the best fit for that purpose.

This app supports: Windows, macOS and Linux.

Want to design your next Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and don’t know where to start? See KiCAD. KiCAD is a free and open source PCB design tool that includes a project manager and 4 main software tools such as a schematic editor, a printed circuit board editor, a GERBER file viewer, and a footprint selector for component associations.

There are also additional software tools, a 3D viewer to 3D your PCB and 2 library component editors to allow you to create or modify component schematics and footprints.

This app supports: Windows, macOS, Linux, and Ubuntu.

QCAD is the application you should use if you want to create technical drawings whether for buildings, mechanical parts or even schematics and diagrams.

Since it is open source, QCAD’s focus is more on modularity, extensibility and portability. Its 2D CAD platform is powerful but easy to use, even for beginners with little or no experience in CAD applications.

This app supports: Windows, macOS and Linux

Here’s another high-quality 2D-CAD modeling platform, LibreCAD, an easy-to-use software with lots of high-quality features built into it. LibreCAD has features like snap to grid for drawing, use of layers, measurements in your drawings and many others to make your life easier when you draw on the 2D-CAD platform.

If you find it difficult to get started in LibreCAD, they’ve included a manual here on their wiki page.

This app supports: Windows, macOS and Linux.

This real-time 3D animation and modeling software lets you do 3D modeling as easily as drag-and-drop. 3DCrafter comes with 3D primitives and Shape Building Tools for you to build your complex models plus several modeling tools to help refine them.

Since it allows you to animate as well, all you need is to place the subject at each point in time and the software will make sure the animation runs smoothly.

This app supports: Windows.

If you’re looking for other CAD tools that come with full .dwg support, nanoCAD is next on the list. Even though you can use it for free, nanoCAD still has many benefits that you usually have to pay a premium price for, such as the famous Command Line tools, SNAP and ONSAP, a large number of precision tools and many more that you may find useful.

Whether you are a newbie or an advanced user, you will find nanoCAD a good alternative.

This app supports: Windows.

And if you still feel lacking with this information, we have an article or design application that we recommend for you below.