Top 4 Best Free CAD Software for 2019

Everyone likes to get something for free, but if it doesn’t do what it should… it’s still overrated. On the other hand, if it’s free and that’s exactly what you’re looking for, it’s like finding money on the street. If you’re looking for basic CAD packs and don’t need high-tech features, you’ll probably find everything you need and maybe more in one of these four quality packs that you can download for free.

  1. AutoCAD Student Edition
  2. What do we like?
  3. What we don’t like
  4. Trimble Sketch Up
  5. What do we like?
  6. What we don’t like
  7. FreeCAD
  8. What do we like?
  9. What we don’t like
  10. LibreCAD
  11. What do we like?
  12. What we don’t like

AutoCAD Student Edition

What do we like?

  • Part of the Autodesk family of modeling applications.

  • AutoCAD is the industry standard.

What we don’t like

  • Watermarks on free versions of software.

  • Fully featured and more complex than other programs, not for beginners.

A tough competitor in the CAD industry, AutoCAD offers a free full download for students and educators. The only limitation of the software is a watermark on all charts you generate, which means that the file was created with a non-professional version.

Autodesk offers not only the free basic AutoCAD package, but also free licenses for almost all vertical AEC packages, such as Civil 3D AutoCAD Architecture and AutoCAD Electrical.

If you want to learn CAD or just do some personal design, this is definitely the way to go.

Visit Autodesk

Trimble Sketch Up

What do we like?

  • Clear the feature grid by comparing paid and free features.

  • Home hobbyist options for industry professionals.

What we don’t like

  • The pricing model isn’t great.

  • The free feature is only available online with many key features.

SketchUp was originally developed by Google and was one of the best free CAD packs ever released on the market. In 2012, Google sold the product to Trimble. Trimble has improved and further developed it and now offers many related products. The free version of SketchUp Make is powerful enough, but if you want extra features, you can buy SketchUp Pro – and pay a hefty price.

The interface makes it easy to master the basics. Even if you’ve never done CAD or 3D modeling before, you can put together some really good presentations in minutes.

Of course, if you want to create a detailed design with precise dimensions and tolerances, you should spend some time learning all the details of the program. The SketchUp website has a really impressive array of videos and self-paced options to get you started.

Visit SketchUp


What do we like?

  • Well maintained open source platform.

  • Ideal for technology.

  • Well optimized for 3D work.

What we don’t like

  • Awkward for work.

  • 2D features are not very good.

FreeCAD is a serious open source offering that supports parametric 3D modeling, meaning you can change your design by going back into your model’s history and changing its parameters. The target market is mainly mechanical engineers and designers, but it has a lot of functionality and power that everyone will find appealing.

Like many open source products, it has a loyal developer base and can compete with some commercial constructs for its ability to create true 3D solids, support for meshes, 2D drawing, and a host of other features. In addition, it is configurable and available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, and Fedora.

Visit FreeCAD


What do we like?

  • Free and open source.

  • Works fine in 2D.

What we don’t like

  • Not so strong for 3D work.

  • The site focuses on what matters to application developers, not CAD users.

LibreCAD is another open source offering, a high quality 2D CAD modeling platform. LibreCAD grew out of QCAD and, like FreeCAD, has a large number of designers and customers.

It includes many powerful features, including snap-to-grid for drawing, layers, and measurements. The user interface and concepts are similar to AutoCAD, so if you have experience with this tool, it will be easy to master.

Visit LibreCAD

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