10 Great Free Alternatives to AutoCAD

AutoCAD is the most used computer program for people who need to create 2D and 3D drawings and diagrams, especially in industries such as architecture, interior design and engineering. Being that it is the industry standard, it is also quite an expensive program to buy.

If you are looking to get into AutoCAD and this type of design work, but you are not yet certain if it is for you, there are some free alternatives out there that you can try which work similarly.

archer05prototype 10 Great Free Alternatives to AutoCAD

Also, if you need some 2D and 3D design work done and don’t have the money to spring for AutoCAD, here are some great, completely free alternatives to check out.

1. QCAD

This is an application that will allow you to draft two dimensions objects. It’s a great tool for all types of technical drawings, works for Windows, Mac OS X and many Linux and Unix Systems, and of course, it is completely free.

2. Creo Elements

One of the more popular choices for 3D work. It is a very fast and flexible alternative to AutoCAD with many options included that AutoCAD is known for having.

3. Google SketchUp

Just as Google seems to have an alternative for just about any paid program you can think of, it has an AutoCAD alternative as well. SketchUp has been lauded as a very versatile and easy-to-use alternative for design students and professionals.

4. FreeCAD

This is an Open Source 3D modeler that works great for mechanical engineering and product design. The program can help in various types of design and modeling programs and runs exactly the same way on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux platforms.

5. DraftSight

Great software for students, professionals and teachers which can be used to create, edit and view all types of DWG files, which is the most common format for most CAD-related applications.

6. BRL-CAD

A cross-platform and open source solid modeling system that has a bunch of different features to offer, including interactive geometry editing, image and signal-processing tools and large libraries for making tons of different types of geometric representations.

7. gCAD3D

This free software offers many features, including an integrated 3D-OpenGL viewer, a program interpreter for geometry and NC commands in 3D, an integrated NC processor and can be used with Windows and Linux. The website is a little sparse and confusing, but the freeware is not.

8. Archimedes

A 3D modeling application that allows you to create complex compound 3D shapes. It is touted for being one of the most functional free AutoCAD alternatives out there.

9. PythonCAD

One for the Linux users, this is a CAD package that was written in the Python programming language, hence the name. One of the best open-source CAD packages for Linux, and it’s also quite simple to use if you have any kind of prior experience with two and three dimensional modeling.

10. progeCAD

This one is free for private use but cannot be used commercially. It reads and writes pretty much all AutoCAD files and has an interface that is very similar to AutoCAD’s, which makes it highly recommended among people who have experience with AutoCAD beforehand.

 11. Cometdocs

For users who don’t have AutoCAD software nearby, Cometdocs is a free way to convert PDFs to the DFX and DWG formats completely free.