What are free software for CAD

The 24 Best Free CAD Programs

Posted by Laura Kapitza on Apr 11, 2018 |

Around a 3D print you need a 3D file of your object. You don't have to be an expert or rich to make a 3D file. You can either download or use 3D files from online marketplaces CAD programs create yourself. One of the main advantages of open source programs is that they often have intelligent user interfaces, which makes them easy to use and also suitable for beginners.

We'll provide you 24best and free CAD programs before for private or professional purposes that support you in the creation, analysis, handling or optimization of 3D models.

1. The free CAD programs for beginners

2. The free CAD programs for experienced CAD users

1. The free CAD programs for beginners

Never used CAD programs before? Do you just want to design a simple 3D model? Or you already have 2D CAD programs used, but want to go further? Then these free CAD programs for 3D modeling are just right for you! You will be amazed at the design tools offered by the following CAD programs.

3D slash

The idea for 3D Slash came about when Sylvain Huet was watching his child play Minecraft. He wanted 3D design to be as playful and fun as Minecraft.

3D Slash even allows kids to discover the fun of 3D modeling. Thanks to the logical block layout, the CAD program enables you to create amazing designs without having to have any modeling experience.

File formats: STL, OBJ

Download here!

Leopoly

Leopoly is a 3D design program available online. It is one of the very simple and free CAD programs. You can use objects that have already been designed on the website and edit them individually with the tools available. You can easily change your designs and add colors, shapes and letters. It is also possible to create a completely new design or use a file that you have created with other CAD programs. When you are satisfied with your work, you can then export the 3D file or 3D print it directly on the platform.

File formats: STL, OBJ

CAD program is browser-based.

FreeCAD

Since FreeCAD uses parametric modeling, it can be used by home users to programmers. No previous CAD experience is required, but the FreeCAD community is available if you have some initial difficulties. This CAD program is particularly used by engineers and architects, as its features have been adapted for mechanical engineering. The free version can easily rival paid professional programs! If you want more features, you can buy an upgrade package.

File formats: STEP, IGES, STL, SVG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, DAE, OFF, FCSTD

Download here!

K-3D

K-3D is one of the CAD programs that you can use for 3D modeling and animation. Depending on your needs, you can upgrade the CAD program with various plugins such as the “visualization pipeline architecture” plugin. In addition, various interactive tutorials give you valuable tips for design modeling and the use of the various software tools.

File formats: OBJ, GTS and a raw format are fully supported. Others are optional and depend on the PLIB installation. Experimental plugins include OpenFX, OFF, RIB, and X formats.

Download here!

LeoCAD

LeoCAD is a CAD program to create virtual LEGO models. However, this CAD software is unsuitable if you want to realize complex projects. The user interface is easy to use and currently includes over 6,000 different parts to help you create a 3D model quickly.

File formats: lDR, DAT

Download here!

CAD programs: Meshmixer

MeshMixer

The CAD program MeshMixer, which is part of the Autodesk123D Suite, is software for modeling and shaping 3D files. You can create new models from existing ones. The user-friendly user interface enables you to create complex models quickly and easily. Just like Meshlab, MeshMixer has great tools for 3D printing like examining, cleaning, and repairing 3D files. This means that your 3D models are perfectly prepared for 3D printing.

File formats: OBJ, STL, MIX, DAE

Download here!

If you need help preparing your 3D file for 3D printing using MeshMixer then take a look at our Meshmixer tutorial.

Sketchup

Sketchup is one of the most common CAD programs used to create a 3D design. It has a 3D warehouse where you have access to a huge collection of free 3D models. You can customize the interface by adding design tools or upgrading to the pro version. A special feature of Sketchup is the link to Google Earth, which is why you can use the app directly to create your design.

File formats: OBJ, 3DS, DWG, DXF, DAE, FBX, KMZ, WRL, XSI

Download here!

If you're having trouble with Sketchup preparing your 3D file for 3D printing, then use our Sketchup tutorial.

Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a 3D design and 3D modeling CAD program that you can access through your internet browser. Within this web application, you can create endless design ideas using a wide range of basic shapes. Blocks are placed one by one until the part of the objects is formed. Then the design is freely adjusted and finally the shapes are combined to create a desired object. You can get your model in 10 minutes with the CSG function and you don't need any CAD experience to use it. Plus, it has a really simple and interactive user interface.

File formats: STL

CAD program is browser-based.

Find out how to use Tinkercad iin our tutorial.

CAD programs: TinkerCAD

Antimony

It is an innovative parametric CAD program developed by engineer Matt Keeter. This 3D software has a user interface that is easy to use. Antimony is particularly useful when creating complex 3D models with solid modeling and geometric shapes. Antimony is available for Mac and Linux.

File formats: STL

Download here!

Wings 3D

This CAD program is particularly suitable for beginners and thanks to the polygonal subdivision of the models, complex shapes can also be created. The CAD program has an individually adaptable user interface as well as an integrated auto-UV mapping function with which you can give your 3D model texture. Wings 3D is available free of charge as open source software and can be used for both private and business 3D projects.

File formats: OBJ

Download here!

Strata Design 3D SE

If you want to create a completely new 3D model, Strata Design 3D SE is the right CAD program. This design software provides you with functions that make designing a 3D file easier. It can even be technical sketches and 2D drawings create! Thanks to the drawing functions, you can either export 3D files or draw your own 2D object. In addition, there are features for modeling and rendering, which makes working with this CAD software so entertaining.

File formats: DAE (in / out), EPS (in), PSD (in / out), STL (out), 3DS (in), DXF (in / out), OBJ (in / out), VRML 1 & 2 (in /out)

Download here!

Microsoft 3D Builder

This free CAD software is suitable for both beginners and professionals. It is a user friendly and simple Design program. You can learn 3D modeling with ease thanks to all of the simple design tools. This software was developed by Microsoft and is only available for Windows.

File formats: STL, OBJ, 3MF, PLY, VRML

Download here!

CAD programs: 3D Builder

SculptGL

SculptGL is one free, browser-based CAD softwarefor 3D sculpting and 3D modeling. It is very easy to use and for everyone accessible. If you are curious about 3D sculpting, SculptGL is the perfect web application to do that basic functions using a sculpting software.

File formats: STL, SQL, OBJ, PLY

The CAD software is browser-based.

2. The free CAD programs for experienced CAD users

Do you already have experience in 3D modeling, but don't have the money to buy expensive professional CAD software? The following CAD programs are free and particularly suitable for advanced users in 3D design.

CAD programs: Blender

3D crafter

Thanks to the drag-and-drop method, it is a very user-friendly CAD program for creating 3D models. The software is adapted so that complex models can be implemented. You can also create renderings and real-time animations for video games. Tutorials are also included with the software to help you get started.

Export formats: FBX, OBJ, DAE, DXF, 3DS, POV, RIB, X, S, CSV, STK / STC / SIG, IGS / IA and IM. Other formats only possible with 3DCrafter Pro ($ 39.95).

Download here!

Art of Illusion

Art of Illusion is the most widely used CAD software in the RepRap community. The software is easy to use for 3D modeling and rendering. It also has a function to subdivide your 3D models by surface.

File formats: OBJ, VRML and POV

Download here!

Blender

Blender makes the learning curve very steep, but thanks to the design tools it is very strong. The CAD software enables net-based direct modeling, which is very suitable for artistic projects, as it has no parametric modeling. With features like rendering, sculpting and fast modeling, you can create impressive 3D models for 3D printing

File formats: 3DS, DAE, FBX, DXF, OBJ, X, LWO, BVH, SVG, PLY, STL, VRML, VRML97, X3

Download here!

Our Blender tutorial offers useful tips and assistance for using this CAD software.

BRL-CAD

BRL-CAD has an excellent geometric modeling system based on CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) based. According to the publisher, the CAD software is even used by the US Army to design weapon systems. The CAD program is mainly used in industries such as medicine or automotive.

File formats: ACAD, DXF, IGES, EUCLID, JACK, STL, TAWKILL, VRML, OBJ, X3D

Download here!

Meshlab

Meshlab is a complex CAD software that is particularly valued by professional users. With it, the processing of mesh and point clouds as well as the management of very large 3D models is possible, so that it is suitable for the use of high-quality 3D files.

The huge range of filters and processing tools includes meshing analysis, defect repair, remeshing, reverse engineering, automatic smoothing algorithms and visual inspection tools. The triangle reduction filter makes it possible; Define the number of triangles in the 3D model and thus obtain textures and structures.

File formats: PLY, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS, DAE, VRML, DXF, GTS, U3D, IDTF, X3D

Download here!

CAD programs: Sketchup

OpenCasCade

OpenCasCade is another free alternative to the professional CAD programs. Thanks to the standardized data exchange interfaces, you can call up and examine your 3D files, convert them to a CAD model and carry out a functional test in order to obtain an error-free 3D shape.

File formats: STEP, IGES, VRML, STL, ACIS SAT, Parasolid formats and DXF.

Download here!

OpenSCAD

OpenSCAD specializes in creating 3D objects for 3D printing. Therefore, it is geared more towards CAD projects such as mechanical components than for artistic purposes.

Thanks to the use of CSG (Eng. Constructive Solid Geometry) and the extrusion of 2D outlines, this software is very user-friendly. It's perfect for simple 3D shapes that are already parametrically defined. However, the CAD software may be too limited for complex 3D models.

File formats: STL, OFF, SCAD and DXF.

Download here!

Onshape

Onshape is one of Fusion360's main competitors. It has the same functionality as Solidworks, and is browser-based and free. It even has a cloud service, which is why all your 3D files are backed up in a cloud. In addition, you can work with colleagues on a 3D model and cooperate without any problems.

File formats: DXF, STL, DWG, CATIA, CREO, JT, IGES, SAT, STEP, Inventor, SolidWorks, AutoCAD and Parasolid formats.

Sculptris

Sculptris has a user-friendly interface with detailed and complex modeling levels. With the design and sculpting tools, the CAD software is ideal for figure modeling. You can also redefine the internal structure of your 3D model to get lighter structures for 3D printing.

File formats: N / A

Download here!

Do you want to prepare your 3D file for 3D printing using Sculptris? Then take a look at our Sculptris tutorial.

eMachineShop

eMachineShop offers open source software that you can download for free. This easy-to-use CAD program offers custom design parts with real-time pricing. In addition, the eMachineShop experts will give you feedback on your product design.

File formats: IGS, SLDPRT, STP, STEP IGES and 3D DWG for quotation requests. PDF, JPG, TXT, and 2DDXF can also be used for the CAD software.

Download here!

SolveSpace

This free, open source software was developed by Jonathan Westhues. With it you can not only create 3D models and 2D drawings. The CAD program is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Instructional videos are available on the SolveSpace website to help you use the CAD software effectively.

File formats: EPS, PDF, SVG, OBJ, STEP, DXF and STL.

Download here!

We hope that you have found suitable CAD programs to realize your 3D models. Tip: Make sure that the CAD programs are compatible with your operating system!

Even for beginners, there are many simple CAD programs that you can use to learn 3D design. When you are done with your 3D design, you can have it printed right away using our online 3D printing service.