In this article, we will walk through some of the best free AutoCAD alternative software.
A few decades ago, engineers and architects could illustrate their ideas by drawing them out by hand. Since the emergence of computer and design software like AutoCAD, handwritten drawings have been replaced.
What is CAD Software?
Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computers or workstations to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.
What is AutoCAD Software?
AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) developed by a company called Autodesk. It helps engineers, architects, and construction professionals draw 2D and 3D drawings with ease.
Nowadays, Autodesk only provides subscription-based licenses, which makes it difficult for some companies to continue with AutoCAD. If you are looking for open-source free CAD software or an AutoCAD alternative, then you have reached the right place.
There is many open source CAD software available, open-source is not just related to Linux and other software.
Below is the best free and open-source AutoCAD alternative software.
FreeCAD is a free, open-source parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. It is not only a free open-source product but also very good 3D modeling software. Key features of FreeCAD are Open CASCADE Technology, Parametric Model, Modular Architecture, Sketcher, Rendering, etc.
It supports Windows, Linux, and Mac, making it a very good cross-platform open-source software. FreeCAD is written in Python and C++.
FreeCAD’s file format is the FreeCAD Standard file format (.FCStd). Besides its file format, files can be exported and imported to DXF, SVG, STEP, IGES, etc.
It is one of the best free AutoCAD alternative software.
QCAD is a free and open-source computer-aided design (CAD) software application for 2D design and drafting. It is a free, open-source application for computer-aided drafting (CAD) in two dimensions (2D). With QCAD, you can create technical drawings such as plans for buildings, interiors, mechanical parts, or schematics and diagrams.
It is a cross-platform application that supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. It supported file formats such as DWG and DXF and was written in C++, Qt, and ECMAScript.
nanoCAD is a free and open-source 2D design and drafting CAD-based software. It is an easy-to-use CAD application that delivers a great user experience and is available in both free and paid versions. To use the free version, register with nanoCAD and you will receive a free license via email.
It supports the industry-standard DWG (.dwg) format, used by AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, and hundreds of other CAD applications. It is not a cross-platform application that only works on the Windows operating system.
LibreCAD is a free and open-source 2D CAD application. It is one of the best 2D CAD solutions that helps users design multiple 2D models. It has a multilingual interface and supports cross-platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Key features of LibreCAD are: saving and opening DXF, CXF, and LFF files; importing DWG, JWW, SHP, PIC; exporting SVG, PDF, ICO, JPG, PNG, DDS, TIF, BMP, etc.
LibreCAD was developed as a fork of QCAD Community Edition and is written in the C++ language. Most of the menus and commands in LibreCAD are similar to those in AutoCAD. If you are looking to improve your 2D design capabilities, you must try LibreCAD.
SolveSpace is a free and open-source 2D and 3D CAD application. It is a constraint-based parametric modeler with simple mechanical simulation capabilities.
Key features are modeling 3D parts, modeling 2D parts, 3D printed parts, mechanism design, etc. It is a cross-platform application that supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. It is written in the C++ programming language.
BRL-CAD is a powerful open-source cross-platform solid modeling system that includes interactive geometry editing, high-performance ray-tracing for rendering and geometric analysis, a system performance analysis benchmark suite, and geometry libraries for application developers.
Key features are The BRL-CAD focus is on stable modeling CAD. The BRL-CAD Benchmark provides a practical metric of real-world performance. It supports cross-platforms such as Windows, Linux, and Mac, and it is written in C, C++, and TCL programming languages.
OpenSCAD is a free software application for creating solid 3D CAD (computer-aided design) objects.
Its key features are that it allows a designer to create accurate 3D models and parametric designs that can be easily adjusted by changing the parameters. Its supported file formats are STL, AMF, 3MF, DXF, etc.
It is a cross-platform application that supports Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. It is written in C++, Qt, CGAL, OpenCSG, and OpenGL.
You can also follow our post about best free STEP file Viewer
There are many AutoCAD alternatives available. It depends upon your requirements. Most of the free CAD software mentioned in this post allow you to migrate your work from AutoCAD.